Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy and author of the anti-Trump dossier, was reportedly told that the Justice Department will release information about him that was previously blacked out in the department’s internal watchdog report on the investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign due on Monday.
The New York Times, citing two individuals with knowledge of the situation, reported that Attorney General William Barr approved the release of the previously redacted information in Michael Horowitz’s 400-page report. The report called Steele’s heads-up unusual and said he was not given any indication of whether the information would benefit or hurt him. An after-hours email from Fox News to the Justice Department was not immediately returned.
Steele is poised to be a notable figure in the Horowitz report because he provided opposition research into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia which was funded by Democrats and the Clinton campaign.
Much of the Steele dossier has been proven discredited or unsubstantiated, including the dossier’s claims that the Trump campaign was paying hackers in the United States out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami, and that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russians.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller also was unable to substantiate the dossier’s claims that Carter Page, who worked on the Trump campaign, had received a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant, or that a lurid blackmail tape involving the president existed.
Horowitz’s report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt. It began in secret during Trump’s 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by Mueller .
The report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden — a probe the president also claims is politically biased.
Still, the release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation for years. It’s also not the last word: A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Trump’s attorney general, William Barr and led by a U.S. attorney, John Durham. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn’t examining.
Trump tweeted Sunday: “I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!”
Fox News’ Gregg Re and the Associated Press contributed to this report