In a surprising turn of events, former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against British ex-spy Christopher Steele, alleging that Steele’s infamous dossier was a violation of British data protection laws.
The dossier, which was funded in part by Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, made sensational claims of collusion between Trump and Russia in an attempt to discredit him. However, the claims were later discredited by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
In a written witness statement, Trump stated that “not one of the damning allegations contained in the Steele reporting was ever corroborated.” He also mentioned that the dossier had numerous false and phony claims, such as wild allegations of “sex parties” in St. Petersburg, which were aimed at damaging his reputation and credibility.
Trump’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, argued that the former president had suffered personal and reputational damage because of the dossier, which contained “shocking and scandalous claims.” Tomlinson also stated that the only way to fully prove the falsity of the claims made in the dossier was to bring the case to court.
On the other hand, Orbis Business Intelligence, the consulting group founded by Steele, tried to dismiss the case, claiming that too much time had passed since the publication of the dossier and that BuzzFeed News, who first published the dossier, was not authorized to do so.
Antony White, a lawyer for Orbis, argued that Trump’s lawsuit was nothing but a tactic to harass and vex his perceived enemies, as he has a history of filing frivolous and baseless claims against those he bears a grudge against.
This is not the first time Trump has attempted to sue over the discredited dossier. He had previously filed a lawsuit against former top FBI officials and Clinton, but it was dismissed by a federal judge.
The dossier and its authors have come under scrutiny in recent years, with reports emerging that the FBI had offered to pay Steele up to $1 million for evidence linking Trump to Russia. It was also revealed that the FBI had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Steele’s primary subsource, even after the source was unable to provide any evidence for the claims made in the dossier.
In his statement, Trump also mentioned that Russia did not have enough material to blackmail him, as claimed in the dossier, and that the entire document was nothing but a malicious attempt to harm his reputation.
It remains to be seen how the case will unfold, but Trump’s legal team seems confident that they have a strong case against Steele and Orbis. The former president is seeking redress for the personal and reputational damage caused by the discredited dossier and hopes to prove its inaccuracy in court.