Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele claims that the UK government covered up evidence of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Business Insider.
- Steele “reportedly told a UK parliamentary investigation that former UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government had thrown a ‘blanket’ over the information he provided.”
- The former spy, who led the MI6 Russia desk for three years, said he gave officials a dossier on Trump’s connections to Russia in 2016 but "no inquiries were made or actions taken thereafter."
- The claims and evidence were presented to “the UK Parliament's Intelligence & Security Committee (ISC) for its report into possible Russian interference in British democracy.”
In his evidence, Steele said the May government decided not to act on the information it received on Trump's alleged ties with Putin, in order to protect the UK's close and long-standing relationship with the US.
- Steele also said “the UK government was reluctant to take action when it would present ‘difficult wider political implications,’ using alleged Russian interference in the UK's 2016 referendum on EU membership as an example.”
"Examples of this include reporting on the Kremlin's likely hold over President Trump and his family/administration and indications of Russian interference in and clandestine funding of the Brexit referendum," Steele said.
Prime Minister Johnson received the ISC report in October but it has yet to be published, and the “UK government insists the highly-anticipated report cannot be published until a new ISC is formed.”
Business Insider noted that prior to the UK’s general election last year, “it was reported that Johnson's government held back the report due to the ‘embarrassing’ links it revealed between the Russian secret service and donors to the Conservative party.”