Christopher Steele admitted in a court hearing last month that his claims of secret communication between the 2016 Trump campaign and a Russian bank were based on a tip from a lawyer representing the DNC and Clinton campaign.
Steele claimed in his infamous dossier that the founders of Alfa Bank had “illicit” ties to Vladimir Putin and acted as an undercover messaging channel between the Kremlin and the Trump Organization. He did not say where he had received the information. But under questioning from the lawyer of the bank owners, who sued him for defamation, Steele revealed that on July 29, 2016, he was told of the story by Perkins Coie lawyer and former DOJ official Michael Sussmann.
“I’m very clear is that the first person that ever mentioned the Trump server issue, Alfa server issue, was Mr. Sussmann,” Steele told Hugh Tomlinson, a lawyer for the Alfa Bank owners, on March 17, according to a transcript of the deposition obtained by the Daily Caller.
Steele then admitted that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson asked him after the meeting to write up a memo that “was absolutely, definitely linked to the server issue.” He then tasked his dossier source to do further investigating, and reported in the memo that the source met with a “top level Russian government official” who confirmed the allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia through Alfa Bank.
It was revealed last week that Steele said in the same deposition that he had no records of any conversations with his primary sub-source, because they were “wiped in early January 2017.” Steele was deposed as part of a defamation lawsuit brought by two Russian bankers who he accused in the dossier of making illegal payments to Vladimir Putin.
Fusion GPS was hired by a Perkins Coie colleague of Sussmann, Marc Elias — general counsel for the Clinton campaign — in April 2016 to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign. In June 2016, Fusion GPS then turned to Steele, a former British intelligence officer, to investigate Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
Steele also testified that he met with Elias in Washington D.C., on September 22, 2016, three days after providing the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation with six memos — but not the one on Alfa Bank — from his dossier.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report detailed how the FBI, which received the Alfa Bank memo in November 2016, “concluded by early February 2017 that there were no such links” between the bank and the Trump apparatus.