Ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who authored the unverified dossier charging collusion between Russia and Donald Trump, still believes former Trump attorney Michael Cohen held secret meetings in Prague despite the Justice Department not substantiating the claim.
The dossier alleged Cohen had “secret meeting/s with Kremlin officials in August 2016” in Prague. However, Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee in 2019 that he had never been to Prague and the Justice Department was unable to confirm Steele’s claim after a lengthy investigation.
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos sat down with Steele for a special, “Out of the Shadows: The Man behind the Steele Dossier,” and asked him about Cohen directly.
“One big claim the dossier, the FBI, according to the Inspector General’s report … is not true, is the claim that Michael Cohen had a meeting with Russians in Prague,” Stephanopoulos said. “Do you accept that finding that it didn’t happen?”
Steele, who insisted the dossier is largely accurate throughout the interview, doesn’t buy Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s findings that Steele’s reporting couldn’t be corroborated.
“No, I don’t,” Steele said.
Cohen has since turned on Trump, sharing information about the former president with prosecutors. Cohen called Trump “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man” and “amoral” in a book.
But he still maintained the tale of his traveling to Prague in a Russian collusion-related plot was bogus. Cohen served prison time after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and bank fraud, but was released to home confinement last year.
“Michael Cohen has completely turned on Donald Trump. He’s accused him of all kinds of things,” Stephanopoulos said. “It defies logic that if he did this, he wouldn’t say so now.”
Steele didn’t agree.
“It’s self-incriminating to a very great degree,” Steele said.
Stephanopoulos asked what Cohen would be incriminating himself in, to which the dossier author responded, “Treason, presumably.”
Stephanopoulos shot back, “Since he’s gone to prison, since he’s turned on President Trump, he’s told every single story. Why wouldn’t he admit to this?”
“Because I think it’s so incriminating and demeaning and I think the other reason is he might be scared of the consequences,” Steele said.
Stephanopoulos asked Steele if not believing the FBI, in this case, hurts his credibility.
“I am prepared to accept that not everything in the dossier is 100 percent accurate, I have yet to be convinced that that is one of them,” Steele said.
The questions surrounding Cohen’s alleged travel to Prague come from the dossier, which was published in January 2017 by BuzzFeed News, detailing salacious and unfounded allegations against Trump. Horowitz ripped the FBI in his report for heavily relying on the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on Trump campaign official Carter Page.
In August 2017, Cohen denied the allegations made in the dossier, calling them “totally false.” Cohen’s attorney said Cohen “never traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, as evidenced by his passport” and “did not participate in meetings with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.”
When the dossier was first published, Cohen tweeted on Jan. 10, 2017: “I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews.”
Steele compiled information for the controversial file on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was hired to conduct opposition research funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign through law firm Perkins Coie.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.