Ex-MI6 spy's Trump dossier sparked a purge, says research firm boss

The controversial dossier on US President Donald Trump's alleged links with Russia sparked an "old-fashioned purge" but did not include an ex-MI6 spy's sources, the boss of the firm behind the research said.

Glenn Simpson, co-founder of commercial research company Fusion GPS, was responding to a suggestion that one of the sources of the dossier's author Christopher Steele had been killed.

The former Wall Street Journal reporter faced lengthy questioning at the US House Intelligence Committee in November, with the transcripts only released overnight.

It follows the emergence of comments made by his lawyer Joshua Levy to the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors last year that "somebody's already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier".

The dossier contained lurid allegations about US President Donald Trump (Matt Cardy/PA)
The dossier contained lurid allegations about US President Donald Trump (Matt Cardy/PA)

Asked if one of Mr Steele's sources had been "mysteriously killed", Mr Simpson said: "That's not my information. I mean there was a series of episodes where people were arrested or died mysteriously that came shortly after the disclosure of the existence of this information.

"And I do believe there was a bit of an old-fashioned purge.

"And I think that - but to my knowledge, it wasn't anyone that helped us.

"I think it was more likely people who were taking the opportunity to settle scores or were falsely accused, as often, you know, just like in the old days, and/or were sources of the US Intelligence Community, not us. "

The emergence of the dossier - containing a series of lurid claims that the Russians had gathered compromising material on the president prior to his election campaign - caused outrage in the Trump camp.

In the 165-page testimony from the closed November 14 session, Mr Simpson revealed he was introduced to Mr Steele in around 2009 because they shared an interest in Russian organised crime and corruption.

Mr Simpson said Mr Steele was paid $160,000 for his work on the Trump dossier but the former spy did not go to Russia, at least not with Mr Simpson's knowledge, because he said "that's what he told me" and he assumed Mr Steele "would have billed me for it".

He added that Mr Steele, described as the former lead Russianist at MI6, had been exposed as a former British intelligence officer who worked in Moscow and it would have been unsafe for him to travel to the country.

Mr Simpson said Mr Steele had a network of "subsources and subcontractors" in the country, and he denied the suggestion that he had paid for compromising information.

"To my knowledge, Chris does not pay sources for information," the ex-journalist told the committee.

"So what I think the misconception is, is that, you know, Chris has got people - or Chris calls people up and says, 'I'll give you 5,000 dollars if you tell me what's going on with the Trump operation.' And that didn't happen."

After describing him as a "Boy Scout", Mr Simpson said the former intelligence officer felt it was his duty to go to the FBI and inform them there was a potential "kompromat issue" with the then presidential candidate and did so around July 4 2016.

Mr Steele had worked on other cases involving kompromat, a Russian word for compromising material used to damage or blackmail a politician or public figure, Mr Simpson added.

The House Intelligence Committee just released Glenn Simpson's testimony as part of our Russia investigation. Simpson raises numerous questions on money laundering the Committee must investigate.

Read his testimony for yourself: https://t.co/Vr99VCYQFM

-- Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 18, 2018

When on October 28, just days before the US went to the polls, then-FBI director James Comey notified Congress the bureau was to investigate new emails found in the probe of Hillary Clinton's private server, Mr Simpson said he was "angry".

And he said: "Chris was a little scared, because he didn't - he thought that - he didn't really understand what was going on with the FBI."

Mr Simpson later added: "So, I mean, the first thing that happened when this FBI stuff came out was that we were totally shocked.

"And Chris was concerned that something was happening at the FBI that we didn't understand, and that there may be some political manoeuvring or improper influence."

Mr Steele's name came up more than 100 times in the November 14 transcript.

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