Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele was revealed to have had a “personal” relationship with Ivanka Trump and gifted her “a family tartan from Scotland” as a present, per a report by US Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
The files did not mention Ivanka Trump by name but ABC News promptly gave it away, citing unnamed sources familiar with her past contacts.
The report claimed Steele was not biased, but in fact “favourably disposed” to the Trump family, despite POTUS having earlier tweeted the opposite.
The report cites Steele as saying that he had visited Ivanka Trump at Trump Tower having previously been on “friendly” terms with her for “some years”. Likewise, ABC cited their sources as saying that the pair had communicated nearly a decade before the 2016 presidential campaign, with Ivanka meeting the then already former British intel officer as he moved into private practice in 2010.
The media outlet reported that Ivanka even negotiated work that Steele's firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, could potentially do for the Trump family business.
ABC News sought comment from Ivanka Trump via her attorney, but has so far received no reply. Nor did the White House immediately respond to a request for comment. Meanwhile, Steele’s attorney and a representative for Steele’s firm, declined to have their say on the subject.
Earlier this year, Steele handed over memos setting out his two meetings in 2016 with the FBI, in which he passed on his dossier claiming the Russians had been seeking to cultivate Trump and compromise him in Moscow.
As the Justice inspector general’s report was sent to Orbis ahead of its publication, Steele took a chance and issued a statement via his attorney dismissing some of the claims the report contains.
Steele gained notoriety by authoring a highly controversial dossier claiming there were links between the Trump campaign in 2016 and Russia, and depicting embarrassing incidents allegedly involving Trump before he took office.
Steele's critics have argued that the former British agent was biased against Trump and was seeking to produce a negative report on the then-presidential candidate.