This week brought a bit of “new news” to an old topic:
Fusion GPS paid off three journalists, who then wrote stories about the Dossier and accusations. And Fusion GPS “brokered meetings for (Trump) dossier author Christopher Steele with at least five major media outlets in September 2016, including Yahoo news.”
Which matters because Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch told the House Intelligence Committee that the payments “are not pertinent to work related to Russia or Donald Trump.”
Why You Care
As you can see from below, this is the current intrigue, the topic-that-won’t-die, through which Democrats tar Republicans and Republicans tar Democrats. It initially looked very bad for Trump, but now is looking worse for Hillary.
Fusion GPS released a report last year accusing Donald Trump’s campaign and his campaign of connections with Russia to influence the election. This is called “The Steele Dossier” because it was written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele. The Steele Dossier formed the basis of a barrage of attacks by much of the media and the Democrats against Trump.
Numerous significant inaccuracies and provable falsehoods have been found after additional analysis, that would typically disqualify a document from being used as “evidence”… except in the current political environment. And we’ve since learned that it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign, rather than the neutral or even Republican operatives as the stories first claimed, who paid for it. Clinton’s CIA Director ally, Robert Morell, believes Steele paying FSB agents for accusations resulted in false accusations, which complicates the case for considering the report valid.
Of course, valid or credible can be dependent on your starting beliefs. Slate, for example, is unmoved by any evidence they don’t want to hear. As would be far right sites if the data went the other way.
What It Means
Not much really. Some parts of the Steele Dossier may be accurate. Some clearly are not. It serves as a political Rorschach Test, providing confirmation for your initial bias.