Christopher Steele is not convinced that the most salacious claim in his infamous dossier is accurate.
Steele’s business partner at their private intelligence firm is even less certain, and the founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, also has his doubts.
That’s according to a deeply reported section of “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” a new book by veteran investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn.
“Steele’s claim in the sensational sex claim would fade over time,” reads the book, which hit shelves on Tuesday.
“As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s fifty-fifty,’” it continues.
In his first memo for the dossier, dated June 20, 2016, Steele, a former MI6 officer, reported that a source inside Russia had received information that Trump took part in the tryst in 2013 while visiting Russia for the Miss Universe pageant. Steele’s source told him that the Russian government has used the video to blackmail Trump.
The allegation is the most prominent allegation made in the so-called “dirty dossier,” which was financed by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
According to the book, Steele’s business partner, Christopher Burrows, immediately questioned Steele’s report.
“What the f—!” Burrows said to Steele during what the authors describe as a heated exchange.
“Burrows feared Steele was sensationalizing his material,” the book reads, which reports that Burrows “later privately described the report as akin to preliminary intelligence reporting — information not analyzed, vetted, or ready for distribution.”
“This was not gospel. It was raw product,” Burrows would say.
Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele, also questioned Steele’s shocking report. The book reveals that Steele told Simpson the identity of the primary source for the “golden showers” allegation: a Belarus-American businessman named Sergei Millian who has claimed to have partnered with Trump’s real estate firm in the past.
According to Isikoff and Corn:
“The memo had described Millian as a Trump intimate, but there was no public evidence he was close to the mogul at that time or was in Moscow during the Miss Universe event. Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker.”
Isikoff and Corn’s book details aspects of the dossier as well as the investigation into Russian meddling in the election. The veteran journalists are two of a small handful of reporters who met with Steele prior to the 2016 election. They are the only two who met with Steele to have written articles based on information they were provided during their briefings.
Isikoff’s article, which was published in Sept. 2016, was used in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants granted against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Steele’s dossier alleges that Page took part in the campaign’s collusion effort with the Russian government. Page denies the allegations and is suing Isikoff’s news outlet, Yahoo! News.
Corn published an article revealing that a former Western spy was investigating Trump’s activities in Russia. The article quoted Steele but did not identify him. The piece, which was published on Oct. 31, 2016, led to Steele’s ouster as an FBI informant. The former MI6 officer began giving information from his Trump investigation to the FBI in July 2016.
Trump has denied Steele’s vignette about the Moscow hotel room, calling the allegation “disgusting.”
A Trump associate who was with Trump on the night of the alleged incident has also denied that it occurred.
Keith Schiller, who was Trump’s bodyguard at the White House and during the Russia trip, has told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that a Russian associate of Trump’s offered to send five prostitutes to Trump’s hotel room during his Moscow visit.
But Schiller said that he rejected the offer. He said he stood outside of Trump’s room for a while after the real estate mogul turned in for bed but that nobody went into the room.
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
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