“Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee claimed in court filings this week that the Steele dossier’s statements regarding Trump campaign aide Carter Page were “substantially true,” a defense that is at odds with the findings of the Justice Department’s inspector general.
“Here, the ‘gist’ of the complained-of statements — that Page coordinated with Russian government contacts as an adviser to the Trump campaign — aligns with Page’s own description of his conduct,” the DNC lawyers asserted in a court filing on Monday.
The filing was the DNC’s first in response to a defamation lawsuit that Page filed on Jan. 30 accusing the DNC and two lawyers for its outside law firm, Perkins Coie, of providing false information to journalists that came from Christopher Steele, a former British spy.
Perkins Coie, which also represented the Clinton campaign, hired the firm Fusion GPS in April 2016 to investigate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS in turn hired Steele to investigate Trump’s possible ties to Russia. Steele produced 17 memos as part of the project, alleging a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
(…) Steele also asserted that Page met with two Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin, during a highly-publicized trip he made to Moscow in July 2016. The dossier says that Page met with Sechin to discuss a bribe involving a contract related to Rosneft, the Russian oil giant that Sechin controls. Steele also alleged that Page and Diveykin discussed exchanging blackmail material related to both Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Page has insisted for years that he did not meet with Sechin and Diveykin in Moscow.