by Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller:
- The Steele dossier will be front-and-center on Monday when the Justice Department’s inspector general releases a long-awaited report on the FBI’s handling of the salacious document.
- Released nearly three years ago, Steele’s dossier served as a roadmap of sorts of Democrats who believed that President Trump and his campaign were in bed with Russia.
- But developments in the Russia investigation steadily chipped away at Steele’s dossier, especially the parts that allege that Trump and his campaign aides conspired directly with the Kremlin.
The Steele dossier is likely to come under intense scrutiny on Monday, when the Justice Department inspector general releases a report of the FBI’s surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, is expected to detail the FBI’s relationship with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the dossier. The bureau relied on unverified information from Steele in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page.
Comprised of 17 memos dated from June 2016 to December 2016, Steele’s Democrat-funded dossier has hardly stood the test of time since it was published on Jan. 10, 2017.
The special counsel’s report debunked several of Steele’s most troubling allegations, and cast doubt on many others. But some of the dossier’s most ardent defenders, including Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele, are defending the document. Fusion’s co-founders, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, wrote in a book released last week that the dossier’s broad outlines of Russian interferences in the 2016 election were “prescient.” (RELATED: Mueller Report Debunks Several Dossier Claims)
While Steele’s dossier did accurately describe some of Russia’s activities, his Trump-specific allegations were further off the mark.
Here is an analysis of 23 of the dossier’s factual claims, in chronological order. Some are quoted directly from the dossier while others are paraphrased.
June 20, 2016
“The Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump for at least 5 years.”
- Unsubstantiated. Trump has adamantly denied receiving any help from the Russian government, and no evidence emerged from the special counsel’s investigation that the Kremlin has cultivated the Republican.
“The Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for several years.”
- Unsubstantiated. No evidence has emerged either through media reports or the special counsel’s investigation to support the claim. Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump associates did meet with a group of Russians in June 2016 after an intermediary said that they wanted to provide dirt on Clinton. But according to virtually all of the meeting participants, the Russians did not provide information on Clinton and instead used the opportunity to lobby against U.S. sanctions against Russia.
“The Kremlin’s cultivation operation on Trump had also comprised offering him various lucrative real estate development deals in Russia.”
- Unsubstantiated with an element of truth. Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for Trump, did discuss real estate projects in Russia with an associate, Felix Sater, but there has been no evidence produced so far that those were part of a Kremlin “cultivation operation” of Trump.
Russians sought to “exploit Trump’s personal obsessions and sexual perversions to obtain suitable ‘kompromot’ [compromising material] on him.” Kremlin operatives filmed Trump in compromising positions in a Moscow hotel.
- Unsubstantiated. In a press conference just after BuzzFeed published the dossier on Jan. 10, Trump called the sex allegations “phony stuff.”
- Steele has reportedly told associates he is only “fifty-fifty” certain that the incident occurred. Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson has reportedly told associates that he considered Steele’s alleged source for the claim to be a “big talker.”
- The special counsel’s report did not settle this aspect of the dossier. It did refer to a text message that a Georgian-American businessman sent to Michael Cohen on Oct. 30, 2016 that referred to rumors about tapes involving Trump. Cohen told Congress on Feb. 27, well after he flipped on Trump, that he investigated the allegations of a Trump sex tape but did not believe one existed.