Ex-British spy Christopher Steele breaks silence over explosive Trump-Russia dossier

'A warm thank you to everyone who sent me kind messages and support over the last few weeks'

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The Independent Online

The former British spy who compiled a controversial dossier of claims linking Donald Trump to the Russian government has broken his silence over the affair.

Christopher Steele issued a public statement saying he was returning to work at the London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, where he is a director.

Speaking outside his firm's offices in Belgravia, he said: "I'm really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis's offices in London today.

"I'm now going to be focusing my efforts on supporting the broader interests of our company here.

"I'd like to say a warm thank you to everyone who sent me kind messages and support over the last few weeks.

"Just to add, I won't be making any further statements or comments at this time."

Mr Steele rose abruptly to international fame from the necessary obscurity of his role as a former operative with the British intelligence services, after his dossier about Mr Trump was published in full by BuzzFeed News in January.

The document set out months of leads and unverified intelligence reports which linked Mr Trump and his associates to the Kremlin.

It had been compiled as oppositional research, first on behalf of Mr Trump's rivals for the Republican presidential candidacy and later for the Democrats. None of the claims had ever been confirmed, but BuzzFeed said it released the dossier in full "so that Americans can make up their own minds".

Last week The Independent reported that Mr Steele had been approached informally by the US Senate Intelligence Committee, sounding out the possibility of the former spy giving evidence about the Russia claims.

Mr Steele’s friends say it is currently unlikely he would be willing to travel to the US. But it is understood Democrats – as well as some Republicans – in Congress are prepared to facilitate discreet initial meetings in the UK or on other neutral territory.

Earlier, it was reported that the FBI had been considering paying Mr Steele to continue his research once the election was over and the Democrats withdrew funding. In the end, Mr Steele was so worried by what he had found that he ended up working on the dossier for free, as The Independent reported in January.

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