The FBI investigation into a controversial dossier that lobbed a bevy of Russia-related accusations against President Trump and his associates has now fallen under the purview of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The report is based on three unnamed sources with knowledge of the inquiry, according to Reuters.
The dossier, which was put together by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, was commissioned during the presidential campaign by private donors. The private research company that was hired to put it together has stayed mum on the donors’ identity. It’s been reported that the research was started by a GOP donor during the primary campaign and then Democratic donors took interest in it during the general election.
Its contents included many salacious claims of Russian-Trump collusion that were shopped around to media organizations last year, but reporters have said they struggled verifying the allegations. Buzzfeed posted a version of the dossier in its entirety after CNN reported in January that federal investigators were themselves trying to verify some of its claims as part of the FBI’s Russia probe. At least a few of the claims in the dossier line up with what is now known about Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.
The special counsel’s investigation, which was launched after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, has now taken over that investigation, and per the Reuters report, the inquiries into the dossier specifically.
The dossier has also been of interest to the congressional Russia investigations. Senate Intel Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said Wednesday that his committee had “hit a wall” in its efforts to verify the dossier because Steele will not talk to them. House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has sought information from the Justice Department about its dossier-related work, despite ostensibly stepping down from that committee’s Russia probe.
Additionally, multiple lawsuits have been filed by figures mentioned in the dossier against Steele, the private research firm Fusion GPS and Buzzfeed for publishing it.