The Steele Dossier (FusionGPS / Trump / Russia)

The bombshell of the week was the report that the Steele Dossier was indeed funded by Hillary Clinton, and not by Republicans as reported by the Media.

What Is The Steele Dossier?

In a nutshell, a report from a British ex-spy claiming that Donald Trump had deep ties to the Russians.  Much of it has been discredited by investigators.  Nothing in it has been supported by evidence.

Because there was so little that was supportable, the media largely ignored the dossier initially.  It was first published by Buzzfeed, which is more of an internet digital company than a news company.

Why is it called The Steele Dossier?

Because it was largely written by ex-British agent Christopher Steele.

If Steele wrote it, who is Fusion GPS?

Fusion GPS is a political consulting firm.  Marc E. Elias, an attorney representing the DNC and the Clinton campaign, hired them to investigate Trump specifically.  Fusion then hired Christopher Steele.

Wasn’t this funded first by the Republicans?

No. The media is trying to claim that this “dossier” was initially commissioned by The Washington Free Beacon, but what really happened is that The Free Beacon commissioned a general report on multiple candidates, not just Trump… and not to the depth of this report.

Fusion GPS hired Steele after the Free Beacon left the project. There was no connection between Free Beacon and Steele. In other words, while Free Beacon commissioned research on multiple candidates, from the same research firm, their job was finished and covered multiple candidates, well before the same research firm was hired by Clinton’s group to do deeper Trump-specific work, and well before Fusion hired Steele.

What is the Clinton Connection?

Primarily that we now know Clinton’s campaign effort funded this research, while she (and specifically Marc Elias, their lawyer, see above) was adamantly denying it.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon has supported Elias lying, stating in a tweet: “Dont know what Elias may have said but if he was coy, he was prob just being a good lawyer honoring confidentiality.”  Elias wasn’t “coy”; he outright lied.

This is clearly dishonest, but it does not look like the Clinton campaign did anything technically illegal.  It is legal, and perhaps required, for politicians to lie.

What about the FBI?

The main concern about the FBI is whether they used portions of this dossier to justify warrants in the investigation of Trump’s Russian connections, or perhaps even the investigation itself.  The FBI has repeatedly denied doing so, but have been caught in numerous falsehoods already.  For example, the FBI reportedly arranged to pay Steele to proceed with intelligence gathering on Donald Trump and Russia after Trump’s election.

Bottom Line?

It does look like Donald Trump may have been right and the media wrong.  Again.  Primarily due to confirmation bias; there was a belief that Clinton wouldn’t lie, and Trump wouldn’t tell the truth.

But in the long run none of this will matter.  With no laws broken, it mostly will further erode media and Democrat credibility, but with all sides (including Republicans and Trump also) having essentially no credibility already, it won’t matter to the typical American.

 

 

 

 

Attribution – Spy image: By Setreset – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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