- FBI documents that President Trump declassified last week show that Christopher Steele called Ivanka Trump a ‘good friend.’
- Steele defended Ivanka in an interview with the FBI in September 2017 against allegations found in a dossier compiled by longtime Clinton associate Cody Shearer.
- Steele cast doubt on Shearer’s source, who claimed to be affiliated with Russian intelligence.
Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored a salacious dossier about Donald Trump, told the FBI in a 2017 interview that he considered Ivanka Trump a “good friend,” according to newly declassified FBI documents.
In the interview, Steele defended Ivanka against allegations that she had received secret cash payments from Russian intelligence operatives.
The allegation was found in a dossier compiled by Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton associate who conducted a private investigation into Donald Trump’s dealings in Russia.
Shearer wrote in his dossier that a source inside Russia’s intelligence service said that Ivanka received cash payments “loaded on to pallets” in Moscow, London and Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
Steele told his FBI interviewers that he doubted the allegation about Ivanka, in part because he had known her for years.
“STEELE advised he believed it was doubtful that IVANKA TRUMP was collecting large amounts of money,” read the FBI notes of Steele’s interview, which was conducted on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, 2017.
President Trump declassified the notes as one of his last acts before leaving office last week.
“STEELE was complementary of IVANKA TRUMP and considered her a good friend,” the FBI notes say.
“STEELE further advised that his colleagues believed he was being naive about this, but he was surprised by the reporting on IVANKA. STEELE said he was skeptical about the IVANKA part of the reporting, but he could believe the rest of the report.”
It is unclear how extensively the FBI or special counsel’s team investigated Shearer’s allegations about the Trumps. Ivanka Trump has not been accused of wrongdoing, and reports from the special counsel’s office and Congress make no mention of alleged cash payments from Russia.
Steele’s contact with Ivanka Trump was first revealed after the release of a Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report on Dec. 9, 2019.
Steele told investigators with the IG’s office that he had “been friendly” with a member of the Trump family for years before he began working on the dossier.
Steele mentioned the relationship, which he described as “personal,” to show that he was “favorably disposed” toward the Trump family prior to his work on the dossier.
News outlets reported at the time that Steele was referring to Ivanka Trump.
ABC News reported that Trump and Steele met in 2007, when he would have still worked for MI6. According to ABC, the pair discussed potentially working together and met several times in New York.
Some of Shearer’s allegations closely matched those from Steele’s own dossier, which he compiled on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Both documents alleged that Russian intelligence had video of Trump in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes in 2013. Steele and Shearer also alleged that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.
Steele provided Shearer’s dossier to his FBI contacts on Oct. 19, 2016. He obtained Shearer’s report from Jonathan Winer, a State Department official who served as Steele’s conduit to the agency.
The special counsel’s team undercut the central claim in Steele’s dossier, saying that investigators found no evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump team and Russian government to influence the election.
Steele identified Shearer’s source during his FBI interviews as Ruslan Mansimov, a businessman based in Turkey who claimed to be an FSB agent.
Steele said he did not know what to make of Shearer’s dossier due in part to Mansimov’s poor reputation. He said that Mansimov was “neither the most sophisticated nor impressive person,” the FBI notes say.
Shearer did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment. A lawyer for Ivanka Trump also did not respond to a comment request.