The disgraced former British spy Christopher Steele has kept a low profile in recent years. Understandably so, given that investigations revealed his dossier -- the collection of anti-Trump stories he compiled to try to undermine Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential candidacy — was filled with falsehoods and unverifiable claims. But now Steele has granted an interview to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. And if you were wondering whether Steele feels any remorse for being so wrong about something so important, wonder no more: He doesn’t.

Steele is standing behind the dossier, and standing by even its most preposterous, unsupported allegations. Let’s take one: the story that in August 2016, Trump fixer Michael Cohen met with Russian intelligence agents in Prague to arrange secret payments to the Russian hackers who hit the Clinton campaign. Cohen has vigorously denied the story, and after extensive investigation by the FBI and special counsel’s office, no evidence has emerged that it ever happened. But when Stephanopoulos asked Steele, “Do you accept that finding, that it didn’t happen?” Steele responded, “No, I don’t.”

Cohen has since turned on Trump, accusing his former boss of all sorts of wrongdoing and even implicating himself in some of those allegations. So why, Stephanopoulos asked, if Cohen seems to want to get back at Trump in every way possible, would he lie about the Prague allegation? “It’s self-incriminating to a very great degree,” Steele answered. “It’s so incriminating and demeaning. And the other reason is, he might be scared of the consequences.”

It was classic hugger-mugger spy talk, which appears to be Steele’s specialty. In response, Cohen issued a statement saying, “I eagerly await [Steele’s] next secret dossier which proves the existence of Bigfoot, the Loch News Monster, and that Elvis is still alive.”

Stephanopoulos asked Steele whether his refusal to accept the findings of FBI and Justice Department investigators might hurt his credibility. “I’m prepared to accept that not everything in the dossier is 100% accurate,” Steele answered. “I have yet to be convinced that [the Cohen story] is one of them.”

Nor did Steele give an inch on another completely unproven allegation, the so-called “pee tape” story in which he claimed that in 2013, then-private citizen Trump watched as prostitutes performed a kinky sex act in a Moscow hotel room, with Russian spy cameras catching the whole thing on tape. A Justice Department inspector general’s report said the source for that tale told the FBI he warned Steele the story was “rumor and speculation” and had not been “confirmed” by anyone, as Steele claimed. Then, the source told the FBI “that some of the information, such as allegations about Trump’s sexual activities, were statements he heard made in ‘jest.’” It was bar talk, the source suggested -- a joke.

But not to Christopher Steele. When asked why the source would admit that there was nothing to the hotel room story, Steele answered, “If you have a confidential source and that confidential source is blown or is uncovered, that confidential source will often take fright and try and downplay and underestimate what they’ve said and done. And I think that is probably what happened here.” When Stephanopoulos asked if Steele thought the source is afraid, Steele said, “I think anybody that is named in this context, particularly if they are Russian, has every reason to be afraid.”

So again, Steele will not admit anything. When asked if he believes the “pee tape” really exists, Steele said, “I think it probably does, but I wouldn’t put 100% certainty on it.” He even has an explanation for why, after all that has happened, the Russians have not released the tape. “It hasn’t needed to be released,” Steele said, “because I think the Russians felt they got pretty good value out of Donald Trump when he was president of the U.S.”

All of which brought Steele back to what he does best: speculate. The tape might exist. The source might be afraid. Cohen might be scared, too. It might all be true! Just because the highest levels of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement spent enormous resources looking for proof -- anything -- of Steele’s allegations and were unable to support them, they still might be true, right?

The big question is, why is Steele still pushing the dossier? First, it’s difficult for someone to admit that the accomplishment for which he is best known was a fraud. But second, it’s because Steele is still in the anti-Trump business, and Trump is still in politics. So business could pick up in the coming months and years. If so, Steele will be ready. “The problems we identified back in 2016 haven’t gone away and arguably have actually got worse,” Steele said. “And I thought it was important to come and set the record straight.”

Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

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(11) comments

Balvenie_2xWood

Remember when the Mueller Report was hailed as "the perfect roadmap" to Trump's "crimes"...? If either the Steele Dossier or Mueller report had one iota of credibility, then the left would have wasted no time using them to bludgeon Trump, even today.

The left knows the Dossier and Report would collapse under scrutiny: that the Mueller Report is collecting dust on some shelf in DC today tells you all you need to know about Steele, Mueller, and the Russia investigation.

RobertsonO

...

William Barr is the 'go-to' to cover for Republican corruption.

William Barr provided cover, that's what he was hired to do. He did the same during the Bush I administration for those who were caught dealing weapons through Central America for Reagan's deal with Iran.

The Mueller Report is still a valid road map to Individual #1's corruption.

...

Too old for this

If Mueller provided the evidence that you believe he did, why were there no criminal charges filed? The investigation took long enough that it should have provided at least the minimum amount of evidence needed to charge Trump in court, not just in the public opinion pages.

Who paid Steele, and why? It wasn't Trump or the Republicans, was it?

The media today, ALL of them, are so biased and corrupt that you really cannot believe a word they say or print. Even the internet can be spoofed to make it appear that a person said or did something wrong and the average person will not be able to tell it was a fake video.

If you want to blame Barr for a perceived cover-up, shouldn't you also include Comey and the FBI management team for the misdirected hit piece? Or Schiff for his claims that he possessed "evidence" of criminal activities by Trump, not just on his behalf?

Trump was/is no saint. No one claims he is. But, it is nearly a year since he was defeated in the election and some people still feel the need to try and demonize him. Wait until we find out if he tries to run for office again. You might need fresh ammunition instead of worn out old rumors.

Third Eye

Get over it already. Your guy lost, pick a new guy and drive on. No one cares.

NorthLong

Why do you liberals keep bringing his name up?

Third Eye

Byron brought him up. He's one of yours.

Too old for this

Get over it already. Your guy won, pick a new guy and drive on. By the fact that we have a Biden Presidency, it is obvious that no one cares.

BigBob

Once again Byron shows up spewing his own nonsense in an attempt to somehow “save” the twice-impeached, lying, POS the American people got rid of. Let’s consider the other-side of coin without a bunch of hyperbolic trash muddying up the waters.

Though Cohen denied that he’d participated in any such meeting — or even visited Prague in 2016 — McClatchy Newspaper have proven otherwise thereby supporting Steeles reporting, “Sources: Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016, confirming part of dossier,” read the headline on an April 2018 story by Greg Gordon and Peter Stone. “Investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany, during August or early September of 2016 as the ex-spy reported, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is confidential,” noted the story. In December 2018, the same reporters caused a stir with their report that Cohen’s mobile phone “sent signals off cell towers in the Prague in late summer 2016.” Also: An Eastern European intelligence agency, reported the McClatchy team, had eavesdropped on a conversation among Russians, including a comment that Cohen was in Prague.

Now, who is lying? Yep, it’s Byron, as usual.

NorthLong

The Steel dossier has been proven many times to be false and full of miss-information.

Too old for this

Shhh. Bob uses it as a masturbatory fantasy and reads it aloud to HG at night.

Too old for this

Does your claim that Cohen was in Prague mean that he was there to arrange payments to the Russians? Your cherry-picked quotes make me wonder what you intentionally left out of your claim. Perhaps if you had a history of honesty we could take your word on it's face. But, honesty is not in your resume at all.

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