A reporter who met with the former spy behind the Trump-Russia dossier explains why it’s not ‘fake news’

Luke Harding, journalist and author of "Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win," explains why he believes the Trump-Russia dossier is not ‘fake news’. Following is a transcript of the video.

The 'Steele dossier' was authored by former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele. The controversial report claims that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia. Trump has called the report "fake news."

Luke Harding: Well I mean, saying the dossier is fake news doesn't make it fake news. It's just an assertion.

My name is Luke Harding. I'm a journalist and a writer. And my new book is called "Collusion" and it's about Donald Trump and Russia.

Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
See Gallery
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.

According to people I've talked to, who are kind of close to "Steele", believe that the dossier is not flawless. One or two things may be wrong. He acknowledges that there's raw intelligence but broadly he thinks it's right. And he says it's between 70-90% correct. That's his kind of assessment. Which for an intelligence report is pretty good.

As we learn more about the Trump team and engagements with Russia, we were told to begin with, "nothing to see here." I think the dossier kind of is standing up pretty well.

The thing about intelligence is it's kind of not black and white. It's sort of grey. Some sources are better than others. But my understanding is that even though Steele hasn't revealed who his sources are we don't know who they are. They're sources that have kind of proven themselves in other areas.

For example, Steele read a whole lot of reports about the war in Ukraine in 2014, using these same sources that were behind the Trump dossier. And they were well received by US intelligence, who were actually sent up to John Kerry in the State Department and they were accurate.

Steele was hired by research intelligence agency Fusion GPS to investigate Trump.

Critics of the dossier say Fusion GPS is a "gun-for-fire" agency for opposition research.

Luke Harding: There's been a lot of kind of noise about Fusion GPS but really that's all sort of process. At the end of the day it doesn't matter who paid for the dossier. We know first of all it was a rich Republican who didn't like Trump. Then the Democrats took over the contract.

But essentially the key question is, is it true? Is it true?

And we now have a special prosecutor, Bob Mueller who's examining all of this. We have Trump firing the head of the FBI, James Comey because of "the Russia thing." Which was kind of vexing him, and we have a kind of we have a sort of process going forward to try and verify all of this and I think really that's all that Steele wanted.

Steele wanted his allegations to be taken seriously and he wanted the US with its kind of vast resources and investigative powers to examine it.

Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties
See Gallery
Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties
A man enters the building housing the offices of Orbis Business Intelligence where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A camera man stands outside the building housing the offices of Orbis Business Intelligence where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A police car drives past an address which has been linked by local media to former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who has been named as the author of an intelligence dossier on President-elect Donald Trump, in Wokingham, Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
People stand outside the building housing the offices of Orbis Buiness Intelligence (C) where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Journalists gather outside the headquarters of Orbis Business Intelligence, the company run by former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, on January 12, 2017 in London, England. Mr Steele has been named as the man who compiled the intelligence dossier on US President-elect Donald Trump, alleging that Russian security forces have compromising recordings that could be used to blackmail him. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

See Also:

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.