The burgeoning scandal exploded yesterday after a series of documents were published detailing the blackmail operation and close ties between Trump, the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives.
On Twitter and in a news conference today, Trump heatedly denied the allegations and led a chorus of right-wing propaganda outlets in cries of “fake news.”
He called the documents “fake” and “phony.” The Kremlin called the claims “utter nonsense.”
Trump personally disparaged CNN, which broke the story and online Web site BuzzFeed for publishing the documents in full.
He refused to allow a CNN reporter ask a question, calling the network “fake news,” and called Buzzfeed “a failing pile of garbage.” He threatened the latter with “serious consequences.”
Critics pointed out that the damning information was “unverified” and provided by a “sole source” who was providing “research” for Trump opponents.
The author of the documents however, is a former British spy trusted by American intelligence. He was stationed in Russia in the 1990s but now runs a private intelligence company that does “opposition research” according to CNN.
He has since been identified in both British and U.S. publications as Ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele.
Steele, 52, is the director of Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, with plush headquarters in the pricey Belgravia neighborhood in central London, according to London’s Daily Mail.
The British security services apparently thought enough of Steele to issue what’s known as a “D-notice,” putting news organisations on notice not to identify him. Now Steele is said to be in hiding fearful of Russian retaliation.
He’s far from the only intelligence source with knowledge of Trump’s sexual escapades.
BBC reporter Paul Wood said today (Jan. 11) he is aware of multiple intelligence agencies that have knowledge of Russia’s potentially embarrassing or compromising material on Trump’s sexcapades.
“I saw the report, compiled by the former British intelligence officer, back in October,” Wood said.
“He is not, and this is the crucial thing, the only source for this,” he added.
Wood said he was told by a member of the U.S. intelligence community that “at least one East European intelligence service was aware ‘that the Russians had kompromat or compromising material on Mr. Trump,'”
There is “more than one tape, not just video, but audio as well, on more than one date, in more than one place, in both Moscow and St. Petersburg,” Wood said he was told.
He cautioned, however, that “nobody should believe something just because an intelligence agent says it.”
The BBC is Britain’s most authoritative news organization. It’s owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation.