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US probe met ex-British spy over Trump claims, says CNN

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 16, 2013 shows then Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller testifying during a hearing of the US Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Donald Trump is considering firing former FBI chief Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating if Russia colluded in last year’s bitter election campaign, a friend of the US president said Monday, June 12, 2017. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy made the comments on the eve of testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the Trump-Russia probe. His comments came just days after explosive comments by ousted FBI director James Comey to the same committee, suggesting that Trump sought to interfere with the investigation. / AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

US investigators have met with a former British spy who compiled a salacious dossier on President Donald Trump’s alleged campaign ties to Russia, CNN reported on Thursday.

The investigators for independent special counsel Robert Mueller met with Christopher Steele this past summer, the news network reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Former FBI director Mueller leads a sweeping probe into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“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,” the network reported on its website.

The Wall Street Journal earlier identified former MI6 officer Steele as the author of the 35-page political research dossier which Trump branded as “fake news.”

The dossier includes unsubstantiated claims that Russians possess videos involving prostitutes, filmed during a 2013 visit by Trump to a luxury Moscow hotel for the Miss Universe contest, supposedly as a potential means for blackmail.

It also alleges that Trump advisors including his lawyer Michael Cohen maintained regular contact with Russian officials and others linked to Russian intelligence during the election and were exchanging information for “at least” eight years.

US intelligence chiefs who briefed Trump on alleged Russian interference in January reportedly included a two-page summary of the most credible claims from the collection of memos.

They were compiled before and after the November 8 election which Trump won.

The president has described Russian interference in the election as a “total fabrication.”

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr, leading a separate investigation, said on Wednesday that Moscow had successfully sown “chaos at every level” in the 2016 election.



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