- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Twenty months after Christopher Steele first briefed the FBI on his Donald Trump conspiracies, dossier fever has struck Washington as at least eight politicos and groups are trying to prove it is true.

Meanwhile, Republican investigators have come to the conclusion that the unverified 35-page dossier is Democrat Party-bought bunk. They have turned to investigating the dossier itself: how did the FBI use the Democratic scandal sheet to spy on the other party and who in the Obama administration knew about it.

The dossier loyalists:

BuzzFeed

The online news site posted the entire dossier on Jan. 10, 2017 as President Trump prepared to take office. Mr. Steele told of a supposed “extensive conspiracy” between Mr. Trump, his campaign and Russian intelligence to interfere in the 2016 election. BuzzFeed was sued for libel by three people accused by Mr. Steele. It has hired a retired FBI cyber expert to try to authenticate some or all of the dossier’s 10 collusion charges.

Fusion GPS

The research firm paid Mr. Steele with money from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Founded by former Wall Street Journal journalists, Fusion is also being sued for libel and continues to investigate the dossier charges. Co-founder Glenn Simpson supports Mr. Steele’s assertion, for example, that Mr. Trump’s lawyer conspired with Vladimir Putin aides in Prague. Mr. Simpson said Michael Cohen could have gotten there by yacht and plane. Mr. Cohen says the entire Steele story is a fabrication. He is suing Fusion and BuzzFeed.

Ex-British spy Christopher Steele

He also is being sued for libel, in his case by a Russian entrepreneur whom the dossier accused of personally taking part in hacking Democratic Party computers. Mr. Steele’s legal team is investigating.

Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat

There is no bigger dossier fan in Congress than Mr. Schiff and some of his ardent colleagues on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Mr. Schiff has continued to try to prove dossier items such as Mr. Trump entertained prostitutes in a Moscow hotel in 2013. The president says the entire dossier is fiction.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat

The Senate Judiciary Committee senior Democrat continues to summon Trump associates for staff interviews and ask them about the dossier. The California Democrat unilaterally released the transcript of Mr. Simpson’s closed-door staff interview. Mrs. Feinstein has set a high bar for those Trump people accused of felonies by Mr. Steele, saying “Not a single revelation in the Steele dossier has been refuted.”

Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence senior Democrat has tried to secure an interview with Mr. Steele, according to Fox News, which obtained text messages. The Virginia Democrat’s intermediary is Washington lobbyist Adam Waldman who represents a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, sent Mr. Waldman a letter on Monday requesting his appearance for a staff interview. Mr. Grassley wants to know if Mr. Steele has business relations with Mr. Deripaska and other Russians. Mr. Steele’s Russian sources remade anonymous.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI

The FBI used the Democratic Party dossier to convince a judge to issue a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretap warrant on Trump volunteer Carter Page. The wiretap lasted nearly a year, enabling the FBI to peer into the Trump campaign by looking back at months of emails and text messages. Mr. Page told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday that all the dossier charges about him are untrue and that he won’t be charged. Trump people say the Mueller team continues to ask witnesses about the dossier.

Hillary Clinton Operatives

Sidney Blumenthal and colleague Cody Shearer have been doing their own research and were hooked up with Mr. Steele during the election via a middleman — Jonathan Winer, then an Obama State Department official.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sundaythat “I’ve seen no evidence of collusion” during his committee’s year-long investigation into Trump-Russia.

He says the proven collusion is the opposite: operational and financial links between the Democratic Party and Mr. Steele’s Kremlin sources. Their unverified political dirt was spread by Fusion GPS around Washington during the election and then became a weapon for the FBI and Democrats to pursue the Trump administration.

Mr. Schiff released a memo on Saturday which rebutted Mr. Nunes Feb. 2 report that the FBI abused the FISA process. Mr. Schiff defended the FBI’s dossier use and said there was other information in its warrant application that painted Mr. Page as an agent of Russia.

Mr. Nunes said at CPAC, “What you basically will read in the Democrat note they are advocating that it is OK for the FBI and DoJ to use political dirt paid for by one campaign and use it against the other campaign. And I don’t care who you are, Republican, Democrat or independent, in the United States of America that is unacceptable.”


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide