‘I may be called on to rule whether he should be compelled to answer a question…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Three Russian oligarchs who were falsely implicated in the Steele Dossier are suing ex-British spy Christopher Steele and demanding he publicly renounce the debunked claims.
With an impeachment trial and a global pandemic in the intervening months, the Russia collusion scandal that consumed the public’s attention for much of President Donald Trump’s early presidency now seems miles away.
But the Democratic-funded “opposition research” that triggered the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane operation and the resulting Mueller investigation continues to work its way through the legal system in the United Kingdom, said the Daily Mail.
Peter Aven, Mikhail Fridman and German Khan—all wealthy leaders in Europe’s finance and energy sectors—are seeking damages in a London court, as well as an official disavowal from Steele, who accused them of doing the bidding of Russian leader Vladmir Putin while trying to extort the Trump campaign.
After being leaked to left-wing news outlets like BuzzFeed, Steele’s salacious accusations went public shortly before Trump took office, threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the election.
Subsequent investigations revealed, however, that he had been flagged as a partisan extremist who was desperate to smear Trump by any means necessary—which had led the British MI6 and the FBI to distance themselves from him—and that his sources within Russia were unreliable.
Congressional inquiries also revealed that the company funding his so-called research, Fusion GPS, had been commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. They used an indirect pipeline through Bruce Ohr, an associate deputy attorney general high up in the Justice Department, to convey the material directly to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe via thumb drive.
Corrupt FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, then used the dossier’s claims in a series of critically flawed warrant applications with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get permission to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page and other campaign officials.
Although a Justice Department criminal investigation into the matter is ongoing, with the possibility of implicating several high-up members of the Obama intelligence community, Steele has been largely unavailable and held unaccountable throughout the saga.
During a March hearing for the London trial, he relinquished his own responsibility by saying he had simply reported on what he was told; however, he refused at the same time to reveal the sources of the information, claiming it could endanger them, reported WND.
Unlike American defamation law, in which the burden falls largely on the victims to prove the information is false, the judge presiding over the London trial, Justice Warby, said that Steele would likely have to prove that the claims made against the Russians were truthful under the circumstances.
Given Steele’s refusals thus far, “I may be called on to rule whether he should be compelled to answer a question,” Warby said.