Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele has reportedly canceled a scheduled appearance at a conference in Baltimore next week.
Politico reported Monday that Steele, who put together an infamous dossier of salacious allegations about President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE's alleged ties to Russia, was supposed to speak via video at the Reawakening the Spirit of Democracy conference. The speaking engagement had not previously been announced.
Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who was set to moderate the panel Steele would have taken part in, told Politico that he got "cold feet" and backed out on advice of his counsel.
The video chat would have been Steele's first public appearance since the dossier was published, Politico reported. The conference and panel will go on as planned with participation from a number of current and former political officials.
Steele has become a key figure amid investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The opposition research dossier contained numerous allegations, some of which remain unverified, about Trump's Russia connections.
Trump and his GOP allies have lashed out at Steele and others involved in the publication of the dossier, seizing on the news that it was paid for in part by the Democratic National Committee.
Democrats argue the dossier provides a framework for Trump's alleged ties to Russia, while Republicans say the document is politically motivated and its claims are unfounded.
In a rare public comment last year, Steele told Vanity Fair in a statement that "we all still have a duty" to "speak unpalatable truths to power."