The FBI Takes the Steele Dossier of Trump–Russia Connections Seriously, Which is Serious Trouble for Trump
by Mark Sumner –
Testimony that FBI Director James Comey delivered in January, information that Harry Reid wanted to make public before the election, and part of the information that led the FBI to get a FISA warrant on Trump adviser Carter Page, all appear to have the same source.
The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.
That source is the “dossier” put together by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, who originally assembled the information to assist one of Trump’s Republican opponents. President Obama and Donald Trump were briefed on the contents on the memos in January, but it now appears that the FBI took the information seriously enough to use it as the basis of investigation months earlier.
The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks, as one of the sources of information the bureau has used to bolster its investigation, according to US officials briefed on the probe.
The information in the dossier, which includes such events as Trump’s supposed romp with prostitutes in a Russian hotel, seemed incredible at the time that portions first became public. However, since that point, CNN reports that some information from Steele’s work has proven to be true.
For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN.
Lawmakers, including Maxine Waters, have also cited the dossier, indicating that those with inside information may have seen further evidence corroborating the charges.
“We already know that the coverage that they have on him with sex actions is supposed to be true,” Waters told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi. “They have said that that’s absolutely true.”
Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee also talked with Steele about coming in for an interview.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is in talks to interview Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who compiled the dossier that alleges a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, three sources with direct knowledge told NBC News
The dossier is not the source of the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia attempted to alter the outcome of the presidential campaign in Donald Trump’s favor. That conclusion came from analysis of information related to hacking into the DNC and the email accounts of Democratic workers, the release of information through Wikileaks, and information gathered concerning Russia’s use of a “troll army,” such as that brought to light in Business Insider.
Russia’s troll factories were, at one point, likely being paid by the Kremlin to spread pro-Trump propaganda on social media. …
In his research from St. Petersburg, Chen discovered that Russian internet trolls — paid by the Kremlin to spread false information on the internet — have been behind a number of “highly coordinated campaigns” to deceive the American public.
The information in the dossier most famously includes the allegations that Donald Trump …
… he apparently had prostitutes urinate on a bed Obama had slept in — the type of act known in the business as “golden showers,” if you didn’t know.
But that’s far from the only information Steele compiled. His information about Carter Page wasn’t the only justification for the FISA warrant, but it certainly contributed.
The dossier alleges that Page met senior Russian officials as an emissary of the Trump campaign, and discussed quid-pro-quo deals relating to sanctions, business opportunities and Russia’s interference in the election. Page has denied meeting the officials named in the dossier and says he never cut any political deals with the Kremlin.