Claims of 'Extensive' Trump Corruption in China Featured in Controversial Steele Dossier

Potentially damaging details of President Donald Trump's business ties in China have emerged with just weeks to go until the presidential election in another body blow for a re-election campaign undermined by allegations of criminality, impropriety and corruption.

The New York Times revealed Tuesday that Trump International Hotels Management maintained a previously undisclosed bank account in China, which paid more than $180,000 in taxes to the Chinese government between 2013 and 2015.

Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told the Times that the account was opened "in order to pay the local taxes," and that, "No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive."

Steele Dossier

But the revelation has still prompted Trump's opponents to demand full clarity on the president's ties to China, a country that has loomed large throughout his presidency and his re-election campaign.

Critics are also pointing to the controversial Steele Dossier—the opposition research document on the Trump campaign produced by former British spy Christopher Steele in the run up to the 2016 election— which claimed that Trump and his businesses were involved in corruption in China. Trump has long denied such allegations.

In the dossier, Steele claimed that the campaign was "relatively relaxed" about alleged ties between Trump and Russia, "because it deflected media and the Democrats' attention away from Trump's business dealings in China and other emerging markets. Unlike in Russia, these were substantial and involved the payment of large bribes and kickbacks which, were they to become public, would be potentially very damaging to their campaign."

Steele cited a source "close to Trump and [his former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort" who said that the "Republican campaign team happy to have Russia as media bogeyman to mask more extensive corrupt business ties to China and other emerging countries."

Some parts of the explosive dossier, much of which was dubiously sourced, have already been debunked since it was leaked to the press in 2016. It contains multiple unproven allegations—some of it salacious—about Trump and his associates, making Steele and his Fusion GPS investigative firm targets of Republican attack.

Fusion GPS was first hired to domestically investigate Trump by billionaire Republican donor Paul Singer, working with The Washington Free Beacon website. Singer and the Beacon were part of the so-called "never Trump" Republican movement that sought to undermine Trump's bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Fusion GPS was later hired by the Democratic National Congress and Hillary Clinton's campaign. This contract produced the explosive dossier, with input from a range of foreign sources regarding Trump's alleged activities and business ties abroad.

Donald Trump,  China, Steele Dossier, corruption, taxes
President Donald Trump returns to the White House after multiple campaign stops over the weekend in Washington, D.C., on October 19, 2020. Samuel Corum/Getty Images/Getty