Saturday 24 June 2017

Former MI6 officer who provided Donald Trump dossier 'terrified for safety' and in hiding after name released

President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a news cenference at Trump Tower on January 11, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a news cenference at Trump Tower on January 11, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A former British MI6 agent produced the controversial dossier making lurid claims about US president elect Donald Trump is "terrified for his safety" after his details were published.

The Telegraph is reporting that Christopher Steele (52) has fled his home in Surrey this morning anticipating that his details would be released.

A source close to the officer told the newspaper that he now fears a prompt and potentially dangerous backlash against him from Moscow.

Mr Steele, who has been named by a number of major news sites, allegedly prepared the a 35 page document that alleges the Kremlin colluded with Donald Trump's presidential campaign. The document claims that the Kremlin has material that could be used to blackmail him including compromising allegations about his sex life.

Mr Trump has completely denied all of the contents and branded it "fake news" at an earlier press conference in New York. He said he feels like he is in Nazi Germany.

Mr Steele is the co-founder of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. His research was originally funded by anti-Trump Republicans and later by Democrats.

According to the Wall Street Journal Mr Steele was based in Russia for several years.

John Sipher, who retired from the CIA in 2014, told the newspaper that Steele has a “good reputation” in the intelligence world.

Eight things we learned from Trump's first press conference since the US election

His first press conference was wide-ranging and as predicted ventured into bizarre territory. Here are the key take-aways from the president elect's first encounter with the press since his election.

His business:

Both Trump and his daughter Ivanka will resign from their positions in the Trump organisations. His sons will run the enterprises and Trump has said he will not be privy to any of their business dealings.

Through his lead counsel he assured reporters he would only know about new deals through reading about them in newspapers. The Trump Organization will not enter any new deals while Trump is president, according to his lawyer.

Trump appears to be still involved with his business while preparing to take office, saying he had turned down a $2 billion development deal in Dubai he had been offered over the weekend.

Ethics experts have criticised the arrangement as not going far enough but Trump has said it was unrealistic to expect him to completely divest himself from his assets.

The alleged Russian dossier:

Trump was exercised when addressing questions of a reported Russian dossier which contains allegations about him that was published this week.

He suggested that US intelligence agencies could have leaked the 'phony' report.

"I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out there," Trump told a news conference. He called the dossier that makes salacious claims about him "fake news" and "phony stuff."

"I think it's a disgrace ... That's something that Nazi Germany would have done," the Republican said days ahead of his inauguration.

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

Trump moved to reassure people that his goals of a better relationship with Vladamir Putin was not a foregone conclusion and added that he would be tougher on Putin than Hillary Clinton would have been, had she been elected.

"If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability," he said.

He also denied having business interests in Russia.

"I have no dealings with Russia. I have no dealings in Russia ... I have no loans with Russia at all."

Hacking:

He pledged an overhaul of cyber security in the US.

"Within 90 days we will be covering up with a new report on hacking...the US is hacked by everybody that includes Russia and China," he said.

Jobs:

He began his press conference discussing corporations that had pledged to open in the US and promised to pursue job creation - a promise which became a pillar of his election campaign.

"I said I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created, and I mean that."

The media:

During the press conference he engaged in an angry exchange with CNN's senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

When Mr Acosta attempted to ask Trump a question, saying the politician was attacking the organisation but not allowing them to ask a question of him, Trump replied:

"Your organisation is terrible... quiet, quiet...she's asking a question. Don't be rude, No I'm not going to give you a question you are fake news."

He also hit out at website Buzzfeed, which published the unverified dossier that contained "explosive and unverified" allegations against Trump.

"Buzzfeed, it's a failing pile of garbage.....writing it, I think they are going to suffer the consequences and already are. And as far as CNN, going out of their way to build it up... It's a disgrace," Trump told the press today.

Mexico and the wall:

Trump has reiterated plans to build a wall between the US and has insisted Mexico will have to pay for it. He also said he will not wait for negotiations between the two countries to end before starting to build it.

"I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico which will start immediately after we get into office, but I don't want to wait," he said.

He said his vice president-elect Mike Pence is "leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin."

"Mexico in some form ... will reimburse us," Trump added.

He also said he does not blame Mexico for taking advantage of the US.

His taxes:

His taxes, a pressing question during his campaign, were also raised at the press conference with one reporter asking if he would release his tax return.

"I'm not going to release tax returns because, as you know, they're under audit" by the Internal Revenue Service."

Additional reporting by Reuters

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