Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who wrote the dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, broke his silence in an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos released Monday on Hulu.
Steele broadly stood by the dossier he compiled for Fusion GPS, a client of Hillary Clinton's campaign, despite the fact that many claims — including the most salacious one — have not been corroborated. "Everyone with whom the dossier was shared sent reporters out, tried to confirm the basic allegations within it," Steele critic Barry Meier told ABC News, but "no one could nail anything in it down."
Steele conceded "there are one or two things in it which have been proven wrong," but not many, and while compiling the dossier, he said, "we knew some of it was right, and we suspected some of it may never be provable."
Steele said his report stands on "four pillars," three of them focusing on the "large-scale Russian interference campaign in the American election" to harm Clinton and boost Trump, "and the fourth was, there was evidence of collusion between Trump and people around Trump and the Russians." He argued Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report backed those up.
"Frankly, George, when we went into it, we weren't expecting to find a great deal," Steele said, but when he started digging, he was "surprised and shocked" to learn "there was a potentially serious situation of 'kompromat' against a presidential candidate," raising the stakes considerably.
The most infamous piece of alleged "kompromat" — or blackmail material — Steele included in his dossier was a video said to have been taken of Trump and urinating prostitutes. The "pee tape" has never surfaced, and Trump continues to deny it exists. Steele said "I think it probably does, but I wouldn't put 100 percent certainty on it." He speculated that it was never leaked because Russian President Vladimir Putin would "make sure it never got out, unless he chose for it to get out," and "it hasn't needed to be released," largely "because I think the Russians felt they'd got pretty good value out of Donald Trump when he was president of the U.S."
Chris Burrows, Steele's partner at Orbis Business Intelligence, said he urged Steele to "please take out the pee-pee tape. The golden rule for golden showers is that you just don't talk about sex in reports." Read more at ABC News.