Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy who prepared the explosive Trump report, has been approached about testifying before the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the new President’s alleged links with Russia, The Independent can reveal.

Mr Steele’s friends say it is currently unlikely he would be willing to travel to the US. But it is understood Democrats – as well as some Republicans – in Congress are prepared to facilitate discreet initial meetings in the UK or on other neutral territory.

John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent an intermediary to London in November last year to collect Mr Steele’s dossier, which was subsequently passed personally by the Senator to FBI director James Comey.

Ex-MI6 agent's frustration as FBI sat on Trump file for months
And Mr Steele had, while carrying out his Trump inquiry, himself liaised for regular periods with the bureau.

Mr Trump has personally attacked Mr Steele, declaring the report on the Kremlin connection by the former MI6 officer as a fabricated work, put together by a “failed spy”.

In reality, Mr Steele was, and continues to be, held in high regard by British security and intelligence services as well as the American security officials who worked with him in the past.

It emerged this week that the FBI had, at one stage, proposed to pay him to continue his investigation into Mr Trump and his associates.

Trump denies team had contact with Russia during election campaign.

But that deal fell through and Mr Steele ultimately continued to work without pay because he was so worried by what he was discovering.

Mr Steele has not yet responded to requests to meet with Senate officials – described as informal at this stage – for testimony, which have come over the last fortnight. But friends say he may be willing to speak about his investigation to senators and US officials if certain security conditions are met.

The development comes amid fresh revelations of the Trump administration’s interaction with the Russians. It has emerged that Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, was in contact with Moscow’s ambassador to the US during the election campaign.

It has also emerged that in the last days of Barack Obama’s presidency, officials were so worried that the incoming Trump administration would try to suppress or destroy incriminating material that they passed on information to the intelligence agencies and senior figures in Congress.

There is now similar concern that the Trump White House is trying to sabotage the Russia investigations. Democrats have asked for an inquiry into attempts by White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to get the FBI to dismiss media reports about members of Mr Trump’s coterie contacting Russian officials.

The drive to contact Mr Steele and others, according to those familiar with the issue, is to try and ensure that as much information as possible is gathered by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The committee is carrying out its own investigation, separate from one being conducted by the FBI, on the Russian links and attempts by the Kremlin to interfere in the American political process. There will, however, be mutual sharing of relevant material.
US Senate calls on British spy Christopher Steele to give evidence on explosive Trump-Russia dossier | The Independent