Donald Trump says he will testify in London lawsuit over Russia dossier

Former US president Donald Trump has told a London court he would be willing to come to the UK to testify in his data protection lawsuit over the notorious dossier that alleged links between him and the Russian state.

Trump, who is likely to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has sued Orbis Business Intelligence over a dossier compiled by its co-founder, the former MI6 spy Christopher Steele.

The Russia dossier made headlines around the world when it was published by media website BuzzFeed in early 2017. It included lurid allegations about Trump’s conduct in a Moscow hotel.

On Monday, in the first High Court hearing in the case, Trump said in a written witness statement that the dossier’s “inaccurate personal data” continues to cause him “significant damage and distress”.

The dossier contained “numerous false, phoney or made-up allegations”, the sworn statement said.

Trump, who is also battling criminal and civil cases in the US, said he was bringing the lawsuit against Orbis to prove at trial that the claims in the dossier were false.

He said it was “now clear to me that the only way that I can fully demonstrate the total inaccuracies of the personal data in the dossier is to bring these proceedings”.

Trump’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson KC told the High Court that the two memoranda quoted in the dossier were “egregiously inaccurate” and contained claims of “repulsive sexual misconduct”.

He said the case raises important issues and his client would be willing to come to London and testify at any future trial.

Orbis on Monday asked the High Court to throw out Trump’s lawsuit ahead of trial.

Antony White KC, barrister representing Orbis, said the High Court should strike out Trump’s claims and added the former president has a “habit of bringing abusive and vexatious claims”.

White added Trump had a “deep and intense animus against Mr Steele and Orbis”.

The memos about Trump had been passed to three specific individuals including David Kramer, an aide to former Senator John McCain in November 2016, the court heard.

David Kramer speaks at an event in 2018

But Orbis told the High Court on Monday that it was not responsible for reputational damage and distress which had been caused by the wider publication of the memos in BuzzFeed, which is not a party to the case.

“The claim is bound to fail . . . because any reputational damage (and any resulting distress) allegedly suffered will have been caused by the BuzzFeed publication, for which the claimant accepts Orbis is not liable,” White wrote in his written arguments.

Mrs Justice Karen Steyn said she would give her decision on the Orbis application at a future date.