Republican’s Steele Dossier Scam Exposed

Trump Maladministration

As I commented on earlier this week, a few days ago Sen, Charles E. Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham of the Senate Judiciary Committee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department against Christopher Steele. Steele, of course, is the former British spy who authored the infamous Steele Dossier about Trump’s ties to Russia. Exactly what crime was alleged isn’t clear, but what is clear is that we’re supposed to get the message that the whole Steele Dossier thing was just a Clinton political trick against Trump.

Note that the Senate Judiciary Committee has not interviewed Steele himself. However, the SJC did interview the founders of Fusion GPS, the company that commissioned the dossier.  These guys, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, wanted their testimony to the committee made public.

Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators.

We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.

The intelligence committees have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources during the campaign. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation.

Greg Sargent wrote yesterday,

The escalating campaign by President Trump’s allies to discredit the ongoing Russia investigation is based partly on the idea that the probe itself is an illegitimate abuse of power. Some Republicans in Congress are all in on this alt-narrative and are going to great lengths to employ Congress’s investigative machinery to bolster it, plainly in hopes of keeping the real truth about Trump and Russia from coming out.

But Democrats can make it harder for Republicans to get away with this. Democrats need to ensure that the transcripts of testimony delivered to Congress by the co-founders of the firm that commissioned the so-called Steele Dossier are made public. Hardball procedural tactics toward this end do exist: A Democratic senator can try to make the transcripts public by reading them into the congressional record on the floor.

Or, they can just release the records, as Diane Feinstein did today.

Feinstein said she released the transcript to set the record straight. “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice,’’ she said.

Jennifer Rubin wrote,

Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) made a fateful decision acting unilaterally with a phony “criminal referral” of Christopher Steele, a Brit over whom the United States has no jurisdiction anyway and whom they never saw testify, not just because it made them look like partisan hacks. They set a new standard that anyone on the committee could act independently and without bipartisan consent of their colleagues. So Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Cal.) did them one better.

You can read the transcript online here. The transcript has no classified information, btw. There was no reason to keep it sealed.

Among other things, Simpson and Frisch testified that Trump was doing considerable business in the former Soviet states of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Technically that’s not Russia, but it’s certainly in Russia’s orbit.

For a time Steele was reporting his findings to the FBI because he believed there were national security issues surrounding Trump’s candidacy. He later told Simpson that the FBI already had this same information from several other sources, including from a “mole” in the Trump campaign itself.

However, you might recall the infamous October 31, 2016 article in the New York Times citing the FBI and saying that the intelligence agencies were not finding evidence linking Trump to Russia.  This alarmed Steele and caused him to stop talking to the FBI.

“There was a concern that the FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people and we didn’t really understand what was going on,” Simpson testified, calling the Oct. 31 article “a real Halloween special.”

The Times story reported at a critical moment in the 2016 election campign that the FBI had found no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government” during a months-long inquiry. The story has come under fire in light of subsequent reporting, much of it by the Times’ own reporters, detailing contacts between the two.

Simpson testified that the article contradicted Steele and Fusion’s own research into Trump’s connections with Russia.

It would be really, really interesting to know who the sources were on that Halloween story. I blamed James Comey at the time, but it may not have been him.

Interesting shit.

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  1. doug  •  Jan 9, 2018 @8:35 pm

    The sequence of dates shows how phony Trumps public def.ense is.That and the fact the FBI was already acting on other information. In October. Before the election.

  2. KC  •  Jan 9, 2018 @9:37 pm

    It’s scary stuff. And if this was HRC, does anyone think she’d still be in office? 

  3. bt  •  Jan 9, 2018 @11:56 pm

    t i m e s     l e a k er   – – – >   g i u l i a n i . . .

  4. priscianus jr  •  Jan 10, 2018 @12:38 am

    The source of that Halloween story? Of course it wasn't Comey. It had to be the clique around Giuliani and Jim Kallstrom that was (and still is) running interference for Trump.


  5. maha  •  Jan 10, 2018 @11:32 am

    “The source of that Halloween story? Of course it wasn’t Comey. It had to be the clique around Giuliani and Jim Kallstrom that was (and still is) running interference for Trump.”

    If elements of that clique have fairly high positions in the FBI, you could be right. Note also that the lead reporter, Eric Lichtblau, is no longer working for the New York Times or CNN or anywhere else he was working in 2016. Whether Lichtblau was biased or just sloppy I do not know.

  6. bernie  •  Jan 10, 2018 @10:03 am

    I saw the bro with no ho, a.k.a. vapors, aka, Lindsey Graham on a Sunday morning talking head festival.  He practically blew a spleen on this one, making me suspect that Steele may have much more than just the pee tape.  He gracefully ducked a question about Steele's nationality and if they were asking for extradition.  His ranting was too intense and confusing for me to get any understanding about what had old Lindsey's panties all in a wad but it sure made the expression on his face look wild and distorted.   Thanks for trying to find the fire causing all this smoke.

  7. maha  •  Jan 10, 2018 @11:18 am

    bernie — Graham is one of the few wingnuts who I think is intelligent enough to see the scam behind all right-wing nuttery, and he’s usually pretty skilled at keeping his stories straight. One tidbit I picked up watching MSNBC last night is that last year John McCain was helping Steele get in touch with the right people at the FBI. McCain is supposed to be Graham’s best friend. So, yeah, something’s up with Graham. He’s in on it somehow.

  8. bernie  •  Jan 10, 2018 @2:21 pm

    Oh my, and Lindsey has done a complete 180 on Trump.  I totally see Lindsey as an intelligent big picture sort of a guy.  Cat in the litter box perhaps, forced to realign. 

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 10, 2018 @5:14 pm

    I suspect that Graham's being blackmailed somehow.  

    He went from calling tRUMP a "kook," to the bestest of best buds.  It's to the point now where I'm sure Lindsey looks the other way when tRUMP kicks the ball for a better lie, or doesn't tattle  when his new best bud shaves a few holes off his final score.  

    For years, it's been rumored that he's gay.  Now, I could care less, and neither could any of you – or most people.  But remember, he's the US Senator for SOUTH CAROLINA.  And in the Bible Belt, suspicion is bad enough, but proof is a whole 'nother bowl of grits!

    And I also think Graham's not the only one.

    Remember that when the the Russians hacked us, they got a whole Volga boatload of info on politicians of all stripes.

  10. Diane  •  Jan 10, 2018 @5:50 pm

    There were several things that grabbed my attention. Trump's involvement with the Russian mob. 2. That fact that Simpson felt a crime had been committed. 3 Steele felt a moral and professional responsibility to inform the FBI. Man has more scruples then most republicans. And I cant believe that he did not report his concerns back to Great Britain. I'm sure the rest of the world's leaders know about the collusion/crimes  of the Trump administration.

    And are waiting to see how we deal with Trump. And if we don't, will be considered the next rogue nation?

  11. bernie  •  Jan 17, 2018 @6:23 am

    Michelle Goldberg in a NYT opinion piece entitled The Republicans' Fantasy Investigation, Jan 12, 2018 included the following gems.

    The behavior of Republicans in Congress who are ostensibly investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election makes sense if you imagine them acting like Simpson’s lawyers. Though pretending to examine a crime against America, they are instead working to cover one up. To do so, they are spinning wild alternative scenarios with just enough surface plausibility to persuade the easily persuadable.

    Because Republicans don’t have to prove their alternative theory, you rarely see it fully elaborated. But it goes something like this: Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired Fusion GPS to gather anti-Trump misinformation from Russia. Fusion GPS, working with the retired British spy Christopher Steele, then delivered the Russian smears to the F.B.I., which was determined to thwart Trump. So if anyone was guilty of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, it was Clinton and her allies.


    She goes on to explain Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn R, Simpson's testimony release showed Republican Senators asking questions to substantiate the fantasy.  


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