The Denver Post
Trump suggests FBI “paid for” critical dossier
President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that the FBI may have had a hand in creating an intelligence dossier that alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.
“Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The compendium of information about Trump, much of it unproven, was produced by a former British intelligence agent last year, mostly before Trump won the 2016 election. Officials have said the FBI has confirmed some of the information and rejected other parts, and caution that it may be impossible to verify or disprove the rest.
Trump has vigorously denied allegations in the document that the Russian government collected compromising information about him and was engaged in an effort to assist his campaign.
The Washington Post has previously reported that the FBI agreed in October 2016 to pay the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, for further work that might help its own investigation into Russian election activities.
The FBI, as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee, is investigating Russian interference in the election and alleged contacts between Trump’s associates and the Kremlin.
As the allegations contained in the dossier began appearing in news stories and the dossier itself became the subject of intense public debate, Steele became a publicly known figure and the FBI did not pursue further work from him, The Post reported in February.
Trump’s Twitter question about whether the FBI may have “paid for” the document suggests that he is asking whether the bureau had been involved earlier in the process, although his precise meaning is unclear.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
Republicans, particularly Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa, have sought further answers from the FBI about its relationship with Steele, and its plan to pay him for information that could incriminate Trump or his associates.
It is not uncommon for the FBI to pay sources for information, and Steele was well known to the FBI. Previously, Steele had helped the FBI put together a sprawling global bribery case involving FIFA, the governing body of world soccer.
The dossier alleged, among other things, that Trump’s associates colluded with the Kremlin on cyberattacks on Democrats.
Trump said Monday that there was “no collusion” with Russia and that special counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into Russian election activities should conclude quickly.
Mueller’s probe, however, is broader than just the collusion inquest.