One of the “big news” items from yesterday was this article from the Washington Post, “Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier.”
You remember the “Russia Dossier” or the “Steele Dossier,” right? That’s the big intelligence report put together by Christopher Steele, through Fusion GPS, a Washington research firm. It’s the one that mentioned the Trump piss tapes.
The piss tapes aren’t the only thing it mentioned, and quite a bit of what was in the Steele Dossier has been corroborated in the last several months – more than we’re aware of, probably.
At any rate, the “big news” is that the DNC and the Clinton campaign, through a mutual lawyer named Marc Elias, partially paid for the dossier. Which we already knew, actually. Well, we knew it was a Democrat, so we all “knew” that it was the DNC and likely the Clinton campaign. We just didn’t have, like, proof. We knew all that when Mother Jones first broke the dossier story back in October 2016.
The dossier was originally commissioned by a Republican primary candidate – we don’t know which candidate. This candidate hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research against Donald Trump. Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence guy. Steele started putting together the dossier.
At some point the Republican candidate realized Trump was going to win the primary and told Fusion GPS to shut down the oppo research, but by that point Steele and Fusion GPS already had a ton of work into the thing and hey, lookie here, there’s a Democratic candidate who might be in the market for opposition research against Trump. So Fusion GPS hit up the DNC and the Clinton campaign, who – through Elias, apparently – agreed to keep funding the research.
At some point after that, the dossier got handed over to the FBI, who continued to fund and/or corroborate the research.
So that’s the Steele Dossier. Republicans and Trumpsters would very much like to tarnish the dossier, cast doubt on it, obviously, because it is just packed full of shady revelations about Trump’s possible ties to Russia. Trump’s supposed piss tapes are the least important thing the dossier mentioned.
This most recent “revelation,” proof that the DNC and the Clinton campaign continued funding the dossier, caused a frothing meltdown amongst Twitter conservatives last night. Hillary Clinton is the right’s biggest boogieman, and if she’s involved then clearly this dossier is merely a folder of fresh, hot lies delivered up from the depths of actual Hell, authored by Satan himself at the behest of Hillary. Or something. I don’t dip into the conspiracy crazy for the details much these days, folks, my blood pressure can’t handle it.
So here’s what you actually need to know about the dossier:
- The author, Christopher Steele, is a respected former British intelligence operative who’s been considered a credible source by American agencies in the past.
- The dossier itself is “raw” intelligence, which meant that at the time it went public, it was as full of BS as truth, and hadn’t been cleaned up, analyzed and properly vetted like these things usually are before being released.
- Since then, however, quite a bit of it has been verified. We know that for a fact because Special Council Robert Mueller has used parts of the dossier to get warrants, and he couldn’t do that without those parts being vetted.
- Other verified parts have dribbled out in the media, too. We don’t know for sure what all has been verified because it’s a criminal/intelligence operation, so we’re not going to get major details for awhile.
- The Trumpsters would very much like you to doubt everything about the dossier because it’s super, super bad for them.
If you want a one-stop shop for Steele Dossier information, it’s here: AnnotatedDossier.com.
Here’s a pile of individual sources and resources on the Steele Dossier and Trump-Russia.
- Mother Jones: A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump – Here’s the original report on the dossier from Mother Jones.
- BuzzFeed News: These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia – Here’s the complete dossier, published by BuzzFeed back in January 2017.
- Wikipedia: Donald Trump–Russia dossier – Good for a quick overview.
- Trump Investigation Wiki on Reddit – Grain of salt with this one, y’all, it is Reddit, but it does link to its sources.
- Washington Post: Here’s what we know so far about Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests – This is WaPo’s repository of Trump-Russia information.
- Lawfare Blog: #RealNews on Trump et L’Affaire Russe: A Resource Page – This is Lawfare’s repository of information for Trump-Russia.