An unverified dossier provided to US intelligence officials alleges that President-elect Donald Trump “agreed to sideline” the issue of Russian intervention in Ukraine during his campaign after Russia promised to feed the emails it stole from prominent Democrats’ inboxes to WikiLeaks.
The dossier was part of an opposition-research project conducted by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, at the behest of anti-Trump Republicans and, later, Democrats. Steele was the former head of the Russia desk in Moscow for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6. The memos he wrote made their way to US intelligence officials sometime last year.
A summary of his findings, collected from the network of Russian intelligence sources he had cultivated, was presented to Trump, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and the country’s top lawmakers on intelligence matters earlier this month as part of a classified briefing about Russia’s intervention in the US presidential election.
The dossier’s claim about a Ukraine-WikiLeaks quid pro quo alleges that Trump would refrain from speaking forcefully, if at all, about Russia’s incursion into eastern Ukraine in 2014. In return, Russia would provide WikiLeaks the documents it stole from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).