It appears that after the election someone was paying Christopher Steele to continue his work against the Trump campaign. “The New Yorker” reports after his win Steele wrote a second “lesser” known dossier, but didn’t report who he was working for because his Fusion GPS contract had ceased.
Russia just made a huge statement regarding influencing American politics. Russia says it stopped former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from becoming Secretary of State in the Trump administration, according to The New Yorker.
In a report about Christopher Steele, the magazine said that the former British spy authored another dossier with “a senior Russian official” as its source. That source said people inside Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed to have kept Romney from becoming head of the State Department.
One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as “a senior Russian official.” The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. (During Romney’s run for the White House in 2012, he was notably hawkish on Russia, calling it the single greatest threat to the U.S.) The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President.
As fantastical as the memo sounds, subsequent events could be said to support it. In a humiliating public spectacle, Trump dangled the post before Romney until early December, then rejected him. There are plenty of domestic political reasons that Trump may have turned against Romney. Trump loyalists, for instance, noted Romney’s public opposition to Trump during the campaign. Roger Stone, the longtime Trump aide, has suggested that Trump was vengefully tormenting Romney, and had never seriously considered him. (Romney declined to comment. The White House said that he was never a first choice for the role and declined to comment about any communications that the Trump team may have had with Russia on the subject.) In any case, on December 13, 2016, Trump gave Rex Tillerson, the C.E.O. of ExxonMobil, the job. The choice was a surprise to most, and a happy one in Moscow, because Tillerson’s business ties with the Kremlin were long-standing and warm. (In 2011, he brokered a historic partnership between ExxonMobil and Rosneft.) After the election, Congress imposed additional sanctions on Russia, in retaliation for its interference, but Trump and Tillerson have resisted enacting them.
Steele’s memo said Russia used “unspecified channels” to ask that Trump would choose a secretary of State who would take away “Ukraine-related sanctions,” according to the report. The Kremlin also allegedly wanted the new Secretary of State to accommodate Russia in regards to Syria. The Russian government has been backing President Bashar Assad in a long-time civil war.
Romney met with Trump during the transition period and was reportedly in consideration for the State Department post. Ultimately the president chose Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Romney announced last month a run for the Senate in Utah. He has previously taken a tough stand against Russia. During his run for the presidency in 2012, he sparred with former President Obama during a debate. Obama chided Romney for his views on Russian aggression.
Now we know that Steele’s contract with Fusion had long been over, so who was paying him to continue his research?