The “dossier” or report was compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. He identified Russian businessmen and others whom U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of the Russian government.
The implications of a dossier on Russian contacts are huge! The mere fact that there was enough information to collect and put in a file is a dramatic revelation. More importantly, Robert Mueller thinks it is significant too.
Three sources with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said his investigators have assumed control of multiple inquiries into allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, a Republican.
The issue of whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia is a question that hasn’t been answered publicly. Richard Burr, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the Senate panel had made several attempts to contact Steele, but Steel refused the contacts. Burr was unwilling to rely on the dossier without knowing who paid for it, and who were the sources of the information contained in it.
Although several news organizations, including Reuters, were briefed on Steele’s dossier before the election in November, most decided not to report on the material because its inflammatory and sometimes salacious content could not be verified.
In a report published in January four U.S. intelligence agencies said they took the dossier’s allegations seriously.
Separately, three Russian businessmen, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan have sued Washington investigations firm Fusion GPS and its founder, Glenn Simpson, with allegations that they were libeled in Steele’s dossier. The lawsuit said that Steele’s reports were “gravely damaging” to the businessmen because they accused them “of criminal conduct and alleged cooperation with the ‘Kremlin’ to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
The chairman and the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, told reporters on Wednesday that the committee had concluded, for now, that it trusts the intelligence community’s assessment, published in January, outlining why and how Russia interfered in the 2016 US election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators met this past summer with the former British spy who created the dossier. It is not clear what Mueller learned from the spy, but it seems likely Mueller found some credible evidence or he probably would have concluded his investigation by now. Remember Mueller was appointed as special counsel May 17th. That means for almost 5 months Mueller has spent every day investigating Trump’s Russian ties. That period of time alone would indicate that there are significant contacts, or what would be the subject of the investigation?