Former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the so-called Trump dossier, characterized U.S. governance as "distorted and one-sided."
In a letter he sent to Vanity Fair magazine after the publication highlighted him on their 2018 New Establishment List, former MI6 officer Steele also urged the media to hold the government “accountable."
"In these strange and troubling times, it is hard to speak unpalatable truths to power, but I believe we all still have a duty to do so,” Steele wrote in a letter to Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones. “I salute those on your list, and otherwise, who have had the courage to speak out over the last year, often at great personal cost.”
"At a time when governance is so distorted and one-sided, as I believe it currently is in the United States, the media has a key role to play in holding it accountable," he added.
The dossier compiled by Steele, which contains salacious and unverified claims about President Trump and his relationship with Russia, was used by the FBI to help obtain surveillance warrants for the U.S. government to spy on onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Among the unsubstantiated claims that appear in the dossier is one that says the Russians have damaging information on Trump that could cause them to blackmail him, including Trump hiring Russian prostitutes to perform sex acts involving urine when he visited Moscow in 2013.
Steele also wrote that he can't attend this week's Vanity Fair summit in Los Angeles because of the "present legal and political situation." Trump has rejected the allegations and attacked Steele, characterizing him as a “lowlife.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin. His team interviewed Steele last year.