The co-founders of the largest private bank in Russia are suing Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the notorious Steele dossier, for defamation. This isn’t the first time his creation has come back to bite him – or his patrons in the FBI and Clinton campaign – in the rear, but something is different this time: He officially revealed that the purpose was always to give Hillary Clinton a way to challenge the 2016 election results should Donald Trump win.
The Alfa Bank case isn’t the first time Christopher Steele has been sued for defamation. He and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence, faced a similar suit in the U.K. in the spring of 2017. Aleksej Gubarev claimed that his companies were defamed by the once-spy and Buzzfeed, the outlet that first published the dossier. The court filings for this case showed the connection to late Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Gubarev also sued Steele in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.
…late-stage Trump Derangement Syndrome…
Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan of Alfa Bank filed suit against Steele and Orbis in the D.C. Superior Court for defamation, but it was dismissed on Anti-SLAPP grounds, as the judge ruled that the plaintiffs didn’t adequately show the defendants “knew any of this information was false or acted with reckless disregard of its falsity.”
Lawyers for the Russian trio have filed an appeal in the U.S. District Court, where D.C.’s Anti-SLAPP statute doesn’t necessarily apply. It is in Steele’s statements attached to this case that the purpose of the dossier is confirmed.
The Big Reveal
Anyone not already blind due to late-stage Trump Derangement Syndrome likely had a notion that this opposition research was commissioned either to derail Donald’s chances of getting elected or to give Hillary a way to challenge it if he did – but a confession never hurts.
A “part 18 request” is an order made by a U.K. court demanding that some party “clarify any matter which is in dispute in the proceedings” or “give additional information in relation to any such matter, whether or not the matter is contained or referred to in a statement of case.” In their U.K. suit, Steele complied with such a request, and it is in his answer to the fourth question that he explains the purpose of his work:
“Is it Orbis’ case that Fusion’s client needed the information contained in Memorandum 112:
- For the purpose of prospective legal proceedings?
- For the purpose of obtaining legal advice?
- For the purpose of establishing, exercising, or defending legal rights.
Response: (b) and (c). Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie LLP. 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. 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 legally take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election. In turn, that may have resulted in legal proceedings within the meaning of limb (a) above, but the immediate needs of Fusion’s clients fell within limbs (b) and (c).”
The Tangled Web
In the man’s own words, the purpose of Orbis’ research into Trump and Russia was to give Hillary a way to challenge the election, should she lose. Steele claimed both that he consulted the media because he felt it was of public interest to the American people and that he never intended for the full dossier to be made public. He later admitted that at least some of his information was unverified, and now the very reporter to break the story says that the ex-spy’s claims are “likely false.”
We know from court filings that the Brit sent copies of the dossier to McCain, and public testimony combined with memos turned over to Congress show that at least three different versions were sent to the FBI. When questioned about what he meant by his claim that “we’ll stop it,” former FBI agent Peter Strzok tried to play it off as meaning that the American people would stop Trump from being elected by not voting or him. But as Liberty Nation’s Jeff Charles reported in September, we now know that he was involved in a media leak strategy, quite likely for some version of the dossier itself.
So we had a former British spy compiling – some might say concocting – “evidence” of Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia to steal the election. He was paid by a Republican senator who hated Trump, an FBI full of agents who felt the same, and even Hillary’s own campaign. The information he “dug up” seems to be false, yet was enough – despite not being verified by the bureau – to justify a FISA warrant to spy on presidential campaign staff. Oh, and let us not forget that it sparked investigations by Congress, the FBI, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which have so far turned up bupkis despite a seemingly unlimited scope and budget.
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