Hillary Clinton says the infamous Democratic-financed, Russian-sourced dossier did not “come out” during the election.
That is not the full story.
“From my perspective, it didn’t come out before the election as we all know,” Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday night on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. She defended the dossier as standard opposition research.
But some of the dossier’s more scandalous allegations did surface in the Washington news media before Nov. 8. And her campaign helped spread them around to bash candidate Donald Trump. The campaign used Twitter and TV surrogates to say the information was proof he and Russia were in cahoots to defeat Mrs. Clinton.
The dossier was not identified as the source. Whether the dossier hard copy circulated in the campaign is not known.
Mrs. Clinton Wednesday night acknowledged the dossier was financed by her campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The money first flowed through her general counsel, Marc Elias, to Fusion GPS and then to dossier writer Christopher Steele in London who used the money to pay Kremlin spies and officials. The full dossier did not go public until BuzzFeed published it in January.
Here is how the Clinton campaign did in fact use dossier information, which has been dubbed fiction and a disgrace by President Trump and his men.
Mr. Steele came to Washington in September 2016 at the behest of Fusion, founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson.
Mr. Steele met in person with reporters from the Washington Post, New York Times, Yahoo News and others. He says in a subsequent court case he did not provide a hard copy.
Afterwards, Yahoo News wrote a story sourced to unnamed intelligence officials. The story perfectly matched the July 19 dossier memo that said Trump adviser Carter Page traveled to Moscow and met with two men linked to the Kremlin who happened to be under U.S. sanctions.
“U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin,” the Yahoo headline said.
“U.S. officials have since received intelligence reports that during that same three-day trip, Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian deputy prime minister who is now the executive chairman of Rosneft, Russian’s leading oil company, a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News.
“U.S. intelligence agencies have also received reports that Page met with another top Putin aide while in Moscow — Igor Diveykin.”
Again, these are the same allegations lodged by Mr. Steele in his memo briefed to Yahoo news and others.
The Clinton campaign quickly picked up on the story. It used Twitter to allege that Mr. Page stood as evidence of Russian collusion with Mr. Trump.
Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said on one broadcast, “Michael Isikoff had a piece yesterday about Carter Page, who is a foreign policy adviser of Trump’s, and that he had met with someone from the Kremlin that, I mean, you know, according to Michael’s reporting that U.S. intelligence officials believe is behind the hack.”
In her TV appearance, Mrs. Clinton defended the dossier.
“When Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer, and said, would you like us to continue it,” she said. “He said yes. He is an experienced lawyer. He knows what the law is. He knows what opposition research is.”
“It’s part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try make sure anything you put out in public arena is accurate. So this thing didn’t come out until after the election and its’ still being evaluated.”
Mr. Page has denied the charges in the dossier and filed a libel suit against Yahoo News.