(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump has sued ex-British MI6 spy and ex-FBI informant Christopher Steele in London, seeking damages for leaking the phony Steele dossier that underpinned the Russiagate hoax.
In the lawsuit, Trump’s lawyers reportedly said he was “compelled to explain to his family, friends, and colleagues that the embarrassing allegations about his private life were untrue”—referring to baseless allegations in the Steele dossier, such as the false “pee tape” claim.
“This was extremely distressing” for him, the filing said, asserting that Steele had presented the claims in a “sensationalist manner” that was “calculated to cause tremendous embarrassment,” according to the New York Times.
Trump’s lawsuit in the United Kingdom comes after having a similar complaint against Steele tossed out by a federal judge in Florida. But pundits say his case has a much better chance in the UK, which has stricter defamation and privacy laws.
According to the New York Times, two Russians, Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, won damages of 18,000 pounds ($22,900) each from Steele’s firm in 2020, after they argued that allegations about them in the dossier violated data-protection laws.
Steele, for his part, has claimed that Trump is engaging in “frivolous and abusive legal proceedings” against him—a rich claim, considering that his dossier essentially derailed Trump’s presidency before it began.
Funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign to smear Trump, the often salacious allegations in the now-debunked dossier were deliviered via secret back-channels to the FBI, which then leaked them to the media after opening its “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.
The media, in turn, used the FBI investigation as justification to disseminate the reports publicly, presenting them as factual documents, in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration.
In May, Special Counsel John Durham released a report on the scandal, finding that the FBI lacked a legitimate basis for launching its Russiagate investigation into Trump.
However, Durham’s work fell far short of what Trump and his allies had hoped for. The special prosecutor ended his work without any more criminal charges against those involved in Russiagate.
“If this report and the outcome of the Special Counsel’s investigation leave some with the impression that injustices or misconduct have gone unaddressed, it is not because the Office concluded that no such injustices or misconduct occurred,” Durham said in the report, explaining his decision not to prosecute.
“It is, rather, because not every injustice or transgression amounts to a criminal offense, and criminal prosecutors are tasked exclusively with investigating and prosecuting violations of U.S. criminal laws.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.