The FBI was on the verge of paying a former British spy who compiled a dossier full of sensational and salacious — but unverified — claims about President Donald Trump's dealings in Russia, a government official told Fox News Tuesday.
The official said that ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele would have been compensated for continued work in the run-up to last November's presidential election.
The near-agreement was first reported by The Washington Post, which said a deal was struck in October. However, communication between the FBI and Steele was interrupted as details of the dossier became public in the run-up to the vote.
The U.S. official stressed to Fox News that the decision to pay Steele was not a judgement on the quality of the intelligence in the dossier. The official said that Steele's information would have been vetted by the bureau once it had been paid for.
Steele served in Moscow during the 1990s before opening his own business intelligence firm in 2009. He reportedly was hired by Trump's opponents to investigate his ties to Russia in mid-2016.
The report contains unproven information on close coordination between Trump's inner circle and the Russians about hacking into Democratic accounts — as well as unproven claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump attributed to anonymous sources. Fox News has not been able to verify any of the dossier's claims.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.