Steele testified that he used a 2009 article from the crowdsourced news site CNN iReport, for instance, to check information he learned about Webzilla, one of the three related entities that had sued BuzzFeed for defamation. BuzzFeed published the dossier in full — explaining they hadn’t verified it — on January 10, 2017, after CNN reported that President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump had been briefed about it.
When asked if he had an understanding of what CNN iReport was, Steele said he did not know. He thought the information on the site had “some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site,” Steele said during the deposition. CNN iReport was a separate citizen journalism initiative from CNN’s editorial news service that allowed users to contribute stories, photos or videos.