There may be more than one reason why Trump ultimately decided not to nominate former Republican presidential candidate and governor Mitt Romney for the position of secretary of state, but at least one of those reasons was objections from Moscow according to the man behind the "pee tape" dossier.
Jane Meyer writing for The New Yorker has produced an extensive profile of Christopher Steele that includes many previously unreported details of his work including the existence of memos he prepared beyond the original dossier.
In one of those memos, Steele writes that his sources in Moscow say Trump passed over Romney because Romney wouldn't have been willing to go roll back sanctions implemented by President Obama.
One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as “a senior Russian official.” The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. (During Romney’s run for the White House in 2012, he was notably hawkish on Russia, calling it the single greatest threat to the U.S.) The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President.
The White House "declined to comment about any communications that the Trump team may have had with Russia on the subject," according to Meyer, which is odd because this seems like something you would want to immediately deny if it weren't true.
It may seem like a fantastical accusation, but maybe it isn't. Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was indicted for acting as an unregistered foreign agent, was still whispering in Trump's ear when he ate frogs legs with Mitt Romney (pictured above). Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was also indicted for acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Ukrainian oligarchs, may have advised Trump on the matter as well for all we know.
As an aside, it has been very instructive how Russia's invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine has completely altered the geopolitical landscape. Those acts, or at least when President Obama responded to them, very well could have been the exact moment when Putin made the call to interfere in our election. And Putin invaded his neighbor because he has delusions of reconquering the Soviet bloc and because Russia's economy is in the toilet. Putin's invasion was a political and economic stimulus program.
With all of that said, I'd be remiss not to add that Meyer's profile of Steele finally tells us who the sources for the "pee tape" claim are.
Steele’s sources claimed that the F.S.B. could easily blackmail Trump, in part because it had videos of him engaging in “perverted sexual acts” in Russia. The sources said that when Trump had stayed in the Presidential suite of Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, in 2013, he had paid “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him,” thereby defiling a bed that Barack and Michelle Obama had slept in during a state visit. The allegation was attributed to four sources, but their reports were secondhand—nobody had witnessed the event or tracked down a prostitute, and one spoke generally about “embarrassing material.” Two sources were unconnected to the others, but the remaining two could have spoken to each other. In the reports Steele had collected, the names of the sources were omitted, but they were described as “a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin,” a “member of the staff at the hotel,” a “female staffer at the hotel when trump had stayed there,” and “a close associate of trump who had organized and managed his recent trips to Moscow.”
The tape is real. I'm sure of it.