The former British intelligence officer who compiled a dossier that includes explosive allegations about President Donald Trump and his campaign says he believes 70 to 90 percent of it is accurate, according to a new report.
The confidence in his work is documented in a new book Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win by Luke Harding, a journalist for the Guardian, which first reported Steele’s comments.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Three decades of work: The book quotes Steele telling his friends that he is confident in the dossier’s reports and feels like he will be vindicated as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign continues. “I’ve been dealing with this country for thirty years. Why would I invent this stuff?” Steele is quoted as saying. The U.S. intelligence community has reportedly confirmed at least parts of the dossier’s findings.
- Dossier drama: Steele’s work has been at the center of controversy since it was published earlier this year by BuzzFeed News. Trump has cast doubt on the report’s validity. The dossier, intended to be opposition research, was produced by Fusion GPS and originally funded by a conservative website before Democrats began footing the bill.
- Allegations galore: The dossier included numerous allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia, including that the country contained blackmail-worthy information about then-candidate Trump; how surrogates on the Trump campaign shared information with the Russian government; and, of course, the so-called “pee tape,” which purportedly shows a sexual act involving urine and prostitutes taking place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow.
- Why it’s important: Investigators working for Mueller reportedly met with Steele. While many of the salacious allegations have been unverified, it is the general understanding of the intelligence community that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. At least one member of Trump’s campaign, former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, admitted to that he lied to the FBI regarding his contact with people who had ties to the Russian government. Members of Trump’s campaign had contact with Russians at least 31 times ahead of the presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.
You can read the Guardian’s full report here.