Donald Trump’s new nominee for the top US intelligence role has repeatedly called into question the motives and actions of a former British spy who helped trigger the Russian links investigation.
John Ratcliffe, the Texan congressman proposed for US director of national intelligence, criticised former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s collection of memos about the Trump campaign’s ties to the Kremlin.
Mr Ratcliffe has called the memos a “false dossier”, played up the fact that the research was in part funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and questioned how the information was handled by US officials.
Last week Mr Ratcliffe used his grilling of Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated Trump-Russia links, to suggest Mr Steele’s dossier may actually have been based on Russian disinformation.
”I want to find out if Russia interfered with our election by providing false information through sources to Christopher Steele about a Trump conspiracy that you determined didn’t exist,” Mr Ratcliffe told Mr Mueller.
The comments form part of a wider narrative pushed by Mr Trump and often echoed by Mr Ratcliffe that the probe into Russian election meddling and the actions of Trump campaign figures was improperly launched.