by WorldTribune Staff, December 18, 2018
In response to a defamation lawsuit brought against him, anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele said the Perkins Coie law firm hired him to help Hillary Clinton challenge the results of the 2016 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the Yahoo News reporter who was among the first to break the news of the dossier’s existence said the claims made by Steele in the dossier are “likely false.” The reporter, Michael Isikoff formerly of Newsweek, wrote an article based on Steele’s report that was used by the FBI to buttress its request for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court warrant targeting former Trump campaign official Carter Page.
Steele, an ex-British spy who was hired earlier by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to write the unverified dossier, said the law firm wanted to be in a position to contest the results based on evidence he allegedly had gathered on the Trump campaign “colluding” with Moscow in 2016.
Steele made the claim in a sealed Aug. 2 declaration in a defamation lawsuit brought in London by three Russian bankers, according to a report by security correspondent Rowan Scarborough for The Washington Times.
The bankers’ American attorneys filed his answers in a libel lawsuit in Washington against Fusion GPS.
In an answer to interrogatories, Steele wrote: “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.
“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 bankers – Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan – control Moscow’s Alfa Bank, also sued Fusion GPS.
Steele, under the dossier heading of election interference, accused them of paying cash bribes to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The case was dismissed by a D.C. Superior Court judge. Lawyers filed an appeal in U.S. District Court and attached Steele’s August declarations given in the London court.
“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 stated.
Steele’s goal “was to show that his unverified dossier was correct when he wrote of an ‘extensive conspiracy,’ ” Scarborough noted. “But the server story has fallen into the ‘fake news’ category by most accounts.”
When the story began appearing on social media in 2016, some looked at the server’s IP address and other data and 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.
The Yahoo reporter, Michael Isikoff, said in an interview on John Ziegler’s Free Speech Broadcasting podcast: “When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there’s good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false.”
Fox News noted that the FBI had, on four occasions, told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court that it “did not believe” Steele was the direct source for Isikoff’s Sept. 23, 2016 Yahoo News article implicating former Trump aide Carter Page in Russian collusion.
The FBI told the FISA court that the article by Isikoff was independent corroboration of the dossier. Federal authorities used both the Steele dossier and Yahoo News article to convince the FISA court to authorize a surveillance warrant for Page.
But London court records show that Steele briefed Yahoo News and other reporters in the fall of 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. The revelations were contained in heavily-redacted documents released earlier this year after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch.
In October, Page announced he is filing a defamation lawsuit against the DNC over the dossier’s claims. He is also suing Perkins Coie and its partners.
Page told Fox News’ “Hannity” at the time that his lawsuit goes “beyond any damages or any financial aspects. There have been so many lies as you’re alluding to and you look at the damage it did to our Democratic systems and our institutions of government back in 2016. And I’m just trying to get some justice.”