Ivanka Trump's relationship with British spy Christopher Steele in focus after DoJ report

British spy Christopher Steele, who threw light on the possible Russian collusion in the 2016 US Presidential elections, had ties with Ivanka Trump for years.

What is the nature of the relationship between US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and former British spy Christopher Steele? The 'relationship' question resurfaced on media after a report by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that Ivanka had known the former MI6 agent for years.

The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which was released on Monday, unravels Ivanka's relationship with Steele, who authored the infamous dossier that marred Trump's presidency at its inception. The report compiles the findings of the investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General's office into allegations of political bias at the origins of the Russia investigation.

Ivanka Trump
Hyderabad: US President Donald Trump's daughter and Advisor Ivanka Trump during Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 in Hyderabad on Nov 29, 2017. IANS

When did the relationship start?

Ever since his 35-page dossier throwing light on the possible Russian collusion in the 2016 US Presidential elections was released by Buzzfeed in January 2017, Steele has been at the receiving end of the ire of the President and his supporters. He was criticized for being biased against Trump and that he wanted to paint the President in a bad light.

But the newly released DOJ report reveals Steele's relationship with the Trumps, which goes back almost a decade before the 2016 Presidential elections. Steele told investigators he met with "a Trump family member at Trump Tower and had 'been friendly' with [the family member] for some years," even gifting the person "a family tartan."

What's inside 35-page Christopher Steele dossier?

He underscored that the idea that he was biased against the family from the start was "ridiculous", according to the report. Though the report doesn't mention the name, the Trump family member is none other than Trump's daughter and Senior Adviser to the President, Ivanka Trump, according to an ABC report. Steele described their relationship as 'personal'.

Why did Trump call Steele a failed spy?

The two apparently met in 2007 at a dinner and began corresponding thereafter. They held a meeting at Trump Tower and later stayed in touch via emails. According to ABC, they also discussed a future work prospect, but no formal arrangements followed.

The former MI6 agent, who later set up a private firm Orbis Business Intelligence in London, compiled a 35-page dossier which described how Russia had carefully cultivated Donald Trump to weaken the western alliance and boosted his 2016 presidential campaign. It also claimed that the Russians possessed some compromising information about Donald Trump. Trump, on multiple occasions, has berated Steele, describing him as 'failed spy' and the dossier as 'phoney'.