A lawyer representing the DNC and Clinton campaign provided Christopher Steele with information in 2016 regarding an alleged secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, the former spy told a British court last month.
That now-debunked tip, from Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann, set off a chain of events that led to Steele publishing a Sept. 14, 2016 memo accusing the founders of the bank, Alfa Bank, of having “illicit” ties to Vladimir Putin, according to a court transcript obtained by the Daily Caller News.
A week after Steele wrote that memo, he had another meeting with Sussmann’s colleague, Marc Elias, according to the transcript.
Steele disclosed the previously unreported meetings with Sussmann and Elias during testimony in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by the Alfa Bank founders, the transcript shows.
Steele’s testimony about Sussmann and Elias provides insight into how deeply involved the two lawyers were in the Trump investigation and suggests they helped shape Steele’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
(…) The three owners of Alfa Bank have sued Steele in the U.S. and U.K. over the Sept. 14, 2016 memo, which is referred to as “Company Intelligence Report 112” in the dossier.
Steele testified under oath in London on March 17 and 18.
He revealed that Sussmann, a former Justice Department official, told him during a meeting on July 29, 2016 about suspicious network traffic between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, according to the transcript.
He also said that the theory about the computer server traffic was the catalyst for the dossier memo he would write six weeks later about Alfa Bank, the transcript shows.
“I’m very clear is that the first person that ever mentioned the Trump server issue, Alfa server issue, was Mr. Sussman [sic],” Steele told Hugh Tomlinson, a lawyer for the Alfa Bank owners, on March 17, the transcript shows.
Steele went on to say that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson instructed him at some point after the Sussmann meeting to write a report about Alfa Bank, according to the transcript.
“I was given the instruction sometime after that meeting by Mr. Simpson,” said Steele, adding that the instruction from Simpson “was absolutely, definitely linked to the server issue,” the transcript shows.
It was not previously known whether Steele keyed in on Alfa Bank on his own initiative, or if someone else tasked him with investigating the bank.