Christopher Steele, the author of the Steele dossier, had a “cordial” relationship with Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpGrisham: Time in Trump administration 'will follow me forever' Grisham: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump saw themselves as 'shadow president and first lady' Grisham says her 'enabling' cost lives during pandemic MORE ahead of his investigation into her father’s campaign’s connections to Russia, ABC News reported Monday.
Steele has been accused of bias in his report connecting President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE’s 2016 campaign to Russia. But he told Justice Department investigators that he had a “personal” relationship with an unnamed Trump family member, making the accusations “ridiculous,” according to the report. ABC News identified this unnamed person as Ivanka Trump.
Steele’s reported relationship with the president’s elder daughter came out amid the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on whether political bias influenced the launch of the Russia probe. The report was released Monday.
Steele, a former British intelligence officer, met Ivanka Trump more than a decade ago in 2007 to discuss potentially working together but that the relationship never came to fruition, a source familiar with their past contacts told ABC News.
The two exchanged emails obtained by ABC News in which they discussed meeting up near Trump Tower in 2008. After Steele co-founded his private company, Orbis Business Intelligence, their discussions evolved into how Steele’s firm could assist the Trump Organization’s desire to expand into foreign markets, two sources familiar with the meetings told ABC.
He told investigators when interviewed in June that “if anything he was ‘favorably disposed’ toward the Trump family before he began his research because he had visited a Trump family member at Trump Tower and ‘been friendly’ with [the family member] for some years.”
The Hill reached out to the White House, Ivanka Trump’s lawyer and Orbis Business Intelligence for comment. Orbis Business Intelligence declined to comment to ABC News.
Steele was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to look into then-candidate Donald Trump’s connections to Russia. He helped compile a dossier of information that was used as a source in the Russia investigation that continued for two years during Trump’s presidency.
The president and his supporters have condemned the investigation, which morphed into former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s probe. Trump specifically called out Steele as “dopey” and “a failed spy.”
An ongoing criminal Justice Department investigation is also looking into the origins of the Russia probe and is overseen by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ Five takeaways: Report details Trump's election pressure campaign Biden slips further back to failed China policies MORE.