Conservatives argued Christopher Steele's work was motivated by anti-Trump bias

By Adam Carlson
December 10, 2019 04:21 PM
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The former British spy who authored a notorious dossier on President Donald Trump and Russia — which included some sensational allegations, including that he may have been recorded watching prostitutes pee on a bed once slept in by the Obamas — was “friendly” with “a Trump family member” for a number of years, according to a new government report.

That family member?

Sources told ABC News and The Washington Post it was Ivanka Trump.

Steele, who reportedly retired from his government work in 2009, has long been targeted by conservatives who argued his work was motivated by anti-Trump bias.

Not so, Steele said to government officials, according to a Monday report from the Department of Justice’s inspector general.

The inspector general had been probing the decision-making behind the FBI’s investigation of Trump and Russia. Trump allies, including Attorney General Bill Barr, have blasted the FBI for its work in the matter and continued to do so this week. Barr called the FBI’s case a “travesty,” according to CBS News.

While the inspector general’s report found that the bureau was not motivated by bias, the report did document other major problems with the investigation, specifically with surveillance it carried out of a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

In one section of the report, Steele himself addressed claims of Trump animus, telling DOJ investigators it was “ridiculous.”

Still, the report notes that, according to another person, Steel had been “desperate” to prevent Trump’s election — which Steele denied, saying he was worried only about Trump as a national security risk.

Indeed, regarding how he approached his Trump investigation, Steele “stated that if anything he was ‘favorably disposed’ toward the Trump family before he began his research because he had visited a Trump family member at Trump Tower and ‘been friendly’ with [them] for some years,” the inspector general’s report stated.

“He described their relationship as ‘personal’ and said that he once gifted a family tartan from Scotland to the family member,” the report continued.

President Donald Trump
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Both ABC and the Post reported that the Trump family member was Ivanka, who is now a senior aide in the White House after years of working at her dad’s real estate company.

According to ABC, citing a source, Ivanka and Steele met in 2007 “and began corresponding about the possibility of future work together. … The following year, the two exchanged emails about meeting up near Trump Tower,” and they did eventually meet. Steele was then working at a business intelligence firm.

The Post similarly reported, citing its own source, “that the former British intelligence officer [Steele] told his American clients about his friendship with Ivanka Trump, and they agreed not to discuss it outside their small circle as his work proceeded.”

Steele’s representatives declined to comment to ABC and could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE.

A White House spokeswoman for Ivanka did not respond to a request for comment.

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Steele was hired in 2016 by an outside firm working with then-candidate Hillary Clinton to look into links between Trump and Russia.

His dossier of reports, which he told DOJ officials was never meant to be taken as a final assessment, was published by BuzzFeed in 2017. By that point he had already been working with the FBI on its own investigation into Trump, Russia and the 2016 presidential election.

The president has repeatedly attacked Steele’s work as “phony” and “corrupt” and denied the pee-tape allegation. Son Donald Trump Jr. has also tweeted posts calling Steele and his work into question.

A two-year investigation by a special counsel into Trump and Russia documented multiple links between them but found no illegal conspiracy around the 2016 election, even as Russia worked to ensure Trump would be elected.