The former MI6 spy thought the FBI wasn't doing enough to investigate Trump's ties to Russia
The FBI didn't hire Steele as an informant, an official tells CNN
The FBI reimbursed some expenses of the former British intelligence operative who produced a dossier containing allegations of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, people familiar with the matter said.
The short-lived arrangement before the US election ended abruptly in part because of the frustration of Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy, that the FBI wasn’t doing enough to investigate the Trump-Russia ties.
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that the FBI and Steele had sought to reach a payment arrangement.
An official familiar with the discussions said the FBI didn’t hire Steele as an informant, but that the arrangement instead allowed for expenses to be paid. It couldn’t be learned how much he was paid and for how long.
The FBI obtained a version of Steele’s dossier last summer and investigators there used it to compare to some of their own work related to Russia’s attempts to influence the US election. The FBI used its own sources and worked with US intelligence agencies to try to check aspects of Steele’s work. The FBI was able to match some communications that the dossier described as happening between people described and on the dates the dossier described.
Steele had previous paid deals with the FBI and with other US government agencies dating back years, according to people familiar with the matter. He had helped uncover information that aided the FBI’s corruption investigation of FIFA, the world soccer governing body.
In the case of the Trump-Russia dossier, Steele initially had been hired by a Washington research firm working on behalf of Trump’s political opponents – initially in the Republican primary and then later Democrats.