Red Square in Moscow

Red Square in Moscow

The author of the anti-Trump “dossier” at the center of Trump-Russia collusion allegations already has testified under oath that the document is merely a compilation of bits of “raw intelligence” that were “unverified.”

Now, a new book by veteran reporter Michael Isikoff and progressive journalist David Corn suggests the creators of the dossier had serious doubts from the beginning about the veracity of its most explosive allegation: the tale of Trump with prostitutes performing “golden showers” in a Moscow hotel room that had been occupied once by Barack and Michelle Obama, reports Byron York in the Washington Examiner.

President Trump embraces then-FBI Director James Comey with a partial hug (Photo: Twitter)

President Trump with then-FBI Director James Comey (Photo: Twitter)

The doubts about the veracity of the tale are significant. It was the “golden showers” allegation that prompted dossier author Christopher Steele to give his information to the FBI.

Further, the tale loomed large in FBI Director James Comey’s briefing of President’s Trump and Obama in January 2017 on the dossier, which then was leaked to the media by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and published by BuzzFeed, igniting the “collusion” allegations on Capitol Hill.

In addition, Comey’s notes of a meeting with Trump show the president asked the FBI director what he could do to “lift the cloud” over himself and the presidency, an apparent reference to the dossier’s allegation of sexual misconduct. Comey wrote that Trump said “he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia.”

Comey said he responded “that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn’t find anything, to our having done the work well.”

But, as York points out, the FBI has never lifted the “cloud” after a year and a half of investigation. And Trump’s anger at Comey’s handling of the matter apparently loomed large in his decision to fire the FBI chief, which led to the special counsel investigation.

An unlikely story

In “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” without saying so explicitly, Isikoff and Corn – both of whom were personally briefed by Steele as part of the Fusion GPS effort to publicize the dossier’s allegations before the election – show the available circumstantial evidence makes the “golden showers” story very unlikely, York says.

Christopher Steele

Christopher Steele

The revelation is significant when juxtaposed with the congressional testimony of the head of the opposition research firm that was commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to compile the dossier, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS.

The chief author of the dossier, the former British spy Steele, took the document to the FBI because he believed the “golden showers” story would create a national security threat by subjecting Trump to blackmail, Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017.

York points out that it was the “golden showers” episode that “most excited those involved in the Clinton campaign-funded effort to find Russian dirt on Trump” and those in the Obama administration who learned about it. He also noted “Russian Roulette” reports former national security adviser Susan Rice urged DNI chief Clapper to “tell Obama about the ‘golden showers’ allegation.”

In their new book, Isikoff and Corn reconstruct Trump’s time in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

While Trump did stay one night in the Ritz Carlton presidential suite where Obama had been a few years earlier, he arrived in the room at about 2 a.m. and was on a video set by 7:45 a.m.

While it’s possible the alleged incident could have taken place during that brief time, Isikoff and Corn also indicate Steele’s sources were not very reliable.

The book identifies the key source – “Source D” in the dossier – as Sergei Millian, a “Belarusian American businessman who in the mid-2000s said he was retained to locate Russian customers for Trump properties in the United States.”

The “Russian Roulette” authors describe Millian was an “unwitting source” who did not know that the hotel sex story he passed on to one of Steele’s Russian paid information gatherers was then passed on to Steele and included in the dossier.

Further, Isikoff and Corn found no public evidence that Millian was close to Trump at that time or was in Moscow during the Miss Universe event.

Fusion GPS’s Simpson considered Millian a big talker who could have made up the story or passed on repeated rumors to impress Steele’s collector.

“Steele’s faith in the sensational sex claim would fade over time,” Isikoff and Corn continued. “As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s fifty-fifty.'”

Isikoff and Corn conclude that the dossier sex tale was “practically impossible to verify.”

But, as York points out, “it was precisely the sex story that applied rocket fuel to the Trump-Russia investigation.”

“It was the reason Steele went to the FBI. The FBI’s involvement was the reason some of the dossier’s claims were originally reported in the press.”

Clapper leak

As WND reported Wednesday, along with concluding the Trump campaign did not coordinate with Russia to influence the 2016 election, the House Intelligence Committee report by the Republican majority confirmed that Obama director of national intelligence Clapper leaked information about the “dossier” that ended up being reported by CNN.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the LBJ Presidential Library Sept. 22, 2016 (Courtesy Jay Godwin, Wikipedia Commons)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the LBJ Presidential Library Sept. 22, 2016 (Courtesy Jay Godwin, Wikipedia Commons)

It was CNN host Jake Tapper’s report shortly before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 – followed by the publishing of the full dossier by BuzzFeed – that ignited the fury in Washington over “Trump-Russia collusion” that led to the now-widening special counsel investigation.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in an interview Wednesday with the Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom” that it apparently was Clapper who leaked information from a Jan. 6, 2017, intelligence briefing that included then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Obama.

Government sources who spoke to investigative reporter Sara Carter said the evidence of the Clapper leak was collected during the Russia investigation by the House Intelligence Committee, which submitted its 150-page draft report for review Tuesday after publishing Monday a one-page summary of its initial findings.

The summary says the investigation found, “Problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media.”

Clapper, Carter noted, was one of four senior Obama administration officials to attend the January 2017 briefing with Trump and Obama.

At the time of the leaks, Clapper issued an official statement expressing his “profound dismay” and warning that the leaks were “extremely corrosive and damaging” to national security.

Giving the dossier ‘legs’

Clapper’s leak is what gave the dossier of “salacious and unverified” material “legs” in the eyes of media, making it “official news” after it had been shopped around to reporters as early as the summer of 2016 by its author, former British spy Christopher Steele, according to a congressional source who spoke to Carter.

dossierJournalists had been reluctant to publish the dossier’s unsubstantiated findings, but when CNN published the first report of the Trump-Obama briefing, other news agencies followed suit.

The House intel panel found evidence that Clapper, now a contributor at CNN, contacted the news channel shortly before the story was published.

Buzzfeed then followed by posting the entire 35-page dossier Jan. 11, 2017, even though the material had not been verified.

Reacting to criticism, BuzzFeed said the CNN report had a role in its decision to publish the document.

When the Washington Post reported last October that the dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Clapper dismissed the revelation, insisting “it doesn’t matter who paid for it.”

The “key thing,” he said in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, is “what the dossier said and the extent to which it’s corroborated or not.”

Along with Comey’s assessment of dossier contents as “salacious and unverified,” Steele himself has testified under oath that the document is merely a compilation of bits of “raw intelligence” that were “unverified.”

As a defendant in several defamation lawsuits contesting the veracity of the dossier, Steele has downplayed the significance of his findings, noted former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.

In a lawsuit filed in London by Aleksej Gubarev, whom Steele accused of participating in Russian intelligence hacking, the former British spy explained he passed along the information because it “warranted further investigation,” not because he could vouch for its truthfulness.

Nevertheless, as former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has testified to Congress, the dossier was essential to the acquisition by FBI and Justice Department officials of the warrant to spy on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

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