Christopher Steele, the former British spy responsible for a controversial unverified dossier about President Trump, also wrote a memo for the FBI alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin's former media czar was beaten to death in a Washington, D.C., hotel room on the eve of scheduled meeting with the Department of Justice, BuzzFeed News reports. The memo contradicts the U.S. government's official finding that said the man, RT founder Mikhail Lesin, died in an "accident."
"DOJ was investigating RT," said one FBI agent. "These are the types of meetings we have with people when we want to recruit them as informants.”
The news about Steele's report comes as governments around the globe are taking a second look at the suspicious deaths of Russian figures on their soil. In Britain, that number is as high as 14. The U.S. and U.K. have both blamed Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter with a nerve agent earlier this month.
Steele's report claims that "the thugs had been instructed to beat Lesin, not kill him, but they went too far," BuzzFeed News writes. The attackers were apparently working on behalf of a shady oligarch with ties to Putin. At least three other intelligence sources independent of Steele also told the FBI that Lesin had been beaten to death, further complicating the American government's claim his death was accidental.
"It is not inconceivable that the Kremlin could use its security services in the United States as it has elsewhere," mused Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January. "The trail of mysterious deaths, all of which happened to people who possessed information that the Kremlin did not want made public, should not be ignored by Western countries on the assumption that they are safe from these extreme measures." Read more details of the Steele report at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange