CNN scoop: why Trump is now in Mueller’s crosshairs
6:18pmEDT: NBC News reporter Ken Dilanean has just confirmed CNN’s 6 PM revelation that staffers for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have travelled to London and spoken with the author of the “Steele memo” himself, former (?) British secret agent Christopher Steele.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators met this past summer with the former British spy whose dossier on alleged Russian efforts to aid the Trump campaign spawned months of investigations that have hobbled the Trump administration, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Information from Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 officer, could help investigators determine whether contacts between people associated with the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives broke any laws.
CNN has learned that the FBI and the US intelligence community last year took the Steele dossier more seriously than the agencies have publicly acknowledged. James Clapper, then the director of national intelligence, said in a January 2017 statement that the intelligence community had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”
This follows Reuters’ big get from late yesterday:
The special counsel investigating whether Russia tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy’s dossier of allegations of Russian financial and personal links to President Donald Trump’s campaign and associates, sources familiar with the inquiry told Reuters.
A report compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele identified Russian businessmen and others whom U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of the Russian government.
A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment. The FBI also declined comment.
Three sources with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said his investigators have assumed control of multiple inquiries into allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, a Republican.
Russia has repeatedly denied any meddling in the election.
The most salacious details in the Steele dossier – most notably the allegations that Russia has a kinky Trump “pee tape” – have garnered disproportionate attention compared to the other deatils, many confirmed, that focus on Trump and his advisors being compromised by Russia and evidence of conspiracy between Trump’s team and Russian officials to rig the 2016 presidential election.
The latest breaking news means that Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn are not the sole targets of Mueller’s probe – they are putting serious effort into investigating Trump, Russian election hijinks, and the relation between the two.
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