Christopher Steele, a former spy from Britain and the author of the Trump-Russia dossier, admitted in court that Democratic law firm Perkins Coie hired him in preparation for Donald Trump winning the presidency in 2016. His goal was to help Hillary Clinton challenge the results of the presidential election.
According to The Washington Times, three Russian bankers – Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan – in London filed a defamation lawsuit against Fusion GPS which handled Steele.
"Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election," Steele said in a sealed Aug. 2 declaration.“Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”
The three men filed the lawsuit because Steele claimed their bank, Alfa Bank in Moscow, paid cash bribes to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those claims were made in his 17-page dossier.
A D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit but lawyers filed an appeal with the U.S. District Court. This time, they cited Steele's latest comments in London.
“Internet traffic data suggested that a computer server of an entity in which the Claimants have an interest, Alfa Bank, had been communicating with a computer server linked to the Trump Organization,” Steele said.
Steele previously said that his job was to find links between Trump associates and Moscow.
From The Times:
When it began appearing on social media in 2016, some online sleuths looked at the server’s IP address and other data. They traced the server to a location outside Philadelphia that spewed marketing spam.
A Trump Organization official told The Washington Times last year that some of the spam went to Alfa Bank employees who perhaps stayed in Trump hotels. That’s how Alfa turned up in some emails.
The New York Times investigated and said the FBI basically came to the same conclusion.
Mr. Steele didn’t mention the server theory in the dossier itself.
Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn R. Simpson did try to sell the idea to the Justice Department, despite The New York Times’ finding. He met with then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.
Trying to prompt an investigation, Mr. Simpson told him the Times story was wrong and the server was used for direct communication, according to Mr. Ohr’s notes turned over to Congress.
In his court filing, Mr. Steele sought to show cronyism between Trump and the bank by noting that Alfa hired then-private attorney Brian Benczkowski to investigate the server allegation.
Mr. Benczkowski is now assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, having won Senate confirmation in a near-party line vote.
The three Russian bankers also filed a libel lawsuit against Fusion GPS, who says the men are "Putin cronies."
Steele faces another libel lawsuit in London, filed by Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, owner of XBT Holdings. He provides computer services to thousands of clients. In the dossier, Steele claimed Gubarev hacked the Democrats' computers under orders from the Russian intelligence community. Gubarev said the claims are false. He's also suing BuzzFeed, who posted the dossier in its entirety last year.
The U.S. intelligence community determined that Russians meddled in the elections by hacking Democrats' computers. No Trump associates have been charged with collusion.