Former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, author of the high-profile dossier on Donald Trump’s Russia links that introduced the public to the infamous pee tape, struck up a friendship with Ivanka Trump after meeting nearly a decade before when he was still an MI6 intelligence officer and Trump, an executive at her father’s firm. The relationship came to light in the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report released Monday, which alluded to a previously established relationship between Steele and the Trump family. Steele said the relationship with Ivanka, which he considered a personal one, made him “favorably disposed” to the Trump family when beginning his investigative work on the Trumps, countering President Trump and his allies’ narrative that Steele was out to get the future president.
Steele told investigators his relationship with Ivanka consisted primarily of email contact over a matter of years. Steele said the two also met at Trump Tower in New York at one point and he had once given Ivanka a family tartan from Scotland as a gift. Between 2010 and 2012, the relationship took on more of a business hue when Steele, having left British intelligence to set up his own intelligence firm called Orbis Business Intelligence, discussed with Ivanka working with the Trump Organization on Trump projects in Russia and China. “Ivanka Trump worked as an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, managing a range of foreign real estate projects, including in parts of the world where Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence touted expertise,” according to ABC News. “She and Steele discussed services Orbis could offer to the Trump Organization regarding its planned expansion into foreign markets, according to two sources familiar with the meetings.”
The IG report was the culmination of an investigation into the conduct of the FBI in its decision to open its own probe during the 2016 election into the Trump campaign and its links to Russia. The initial intelligence included the Steele dossier, but the IG determined the dossier played no role in the FBI’s decision to initiate an investigation in July 2016 into Trump’s Russia links. The IG also found no proof of bias, as alleged by Trump’s defenders. Steele and Ivanka Trump’s relationship has been in the ether for at least a year, according to ABC News, but was previously unable to be verified. The Trump family has not made any public mention of Ivanka’s links to Steele while it publicly attempted to discredit Steele and his dossier for GPS Fusion that included salacious stories about the future president and allegations that Russia had compromising information on Trump.