Donald Trump source ‘went to FBI over Russian concerns before election’
A figure in Donald Trump’s election campaign was so concerned about Russian links that they approached the FBI before the vote, it has been claimed.
The source passed on information that confirmed details in a dossier of lurid claims about Mr Trump compiled by a former British spy, according to a leaked transcript.
The claim was made by Glenn Simpson, the founder of the company which financed the dossier, during a behind-closed-doors interview with a congressional committee.
Mr Simpson declined to name who the Trump source was, citing “security” and warning that “people who get in the way of the Russians tend to get hurt”.
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However he indicated that the figure came forward voluntarily because they had “concerns” about national security.
Mr Trump has always denied the allegations made in the dossier.
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A transcript of Mr Simpson’s interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee was published on Tuesday and revealed new details about how the FBI came to be aware of the dossier.
Mr Simpson says that Mr Steele became so concerned by his findings that he approached the FBI in the summer of July 2016, when Mr Trump as the Republican presidential candidate.
In September 2016, Mr Steele met with an FBI agent in Rome to fully “debrief” US intelligence about his findings.
At the meeting he was told some of his information chimed with a Trump source who had separately approached the FBI, according to Mr Simpson.
Mr Simpson said: "My understanding was that they believed Chris [Steele] at this point, that they believed Chris might be credible, because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization."
Mr Simpson was not able to confirm whether the source was from Mr Trump’s election campaign body or his wider organisation.
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The interview also provided the clearest picture yet about Mr Steele and how he got involved in the dossier, which has become controversial since it came to light after the 2016 election.
Mr Steele had worked with Mr Simpson since 2009 and was described as a “boy scout” who lived a “very modest, quiet life”.
Mr Simpson’s lawyer is also quoted as saying that “somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier” – a new revelation.
Separately, Mr Trump announced he would be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The US president also played down speculation talk-show host Oprah Winfrey could run for president, saying he did not think she would start a campaign.