Dotard’s Dossier Opposition: Research vs. Collusion
Eli Watkins, Dan Merica and Katelyn Polantz report on the Dotard’s dossier, a collection of memos that were initially intended as political opposition research by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, who was hired in the summer of 2016 by a Washington firm that was already collecting opposition research about Trump. The project was initially funded during the GOP primaries by anti-Trump Republicans, but Democrats started picking up the tab once Trump became the presumptive nominee in the spring.
The Dotard’s Dossier
While the most salacious allegations in the Dotard’s dossier haven’t been verified (the infamous pee tape), its broad assertion that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election is now accepted as fact by the US intelligence community. The intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA, and the FBI took Steele’s research seriously enough that they kept it out of a publicly-released January report on Russian meddling in the election to then President Barack Obama and to President-elect Dotard along with other officials including members of Congress. Intelligence officials did not want to divulge which parts of the dossier they had corroborated and how.
Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann remind us that Ken Dilanian already pointed out that parts of the Steele dossier seem to line up with known facts. For example, Dilanian notes:
1) The Dotard’s dossier details attempts to secure business deals in Russia, saying, “Regarding Trump’s claimed minimal investment profile in Russia, a separate source with direct knowledge said this had not been for want of trying. TRUMP’s previous efforts had included exploring the real estate sector in St Petersburg as well as Moscow…” We now know that despite Trump saying he had no deals in Russia, his organization was trying to build Trump Tower Moscow during the Republican primaries.
2) The Dotard’s dossier says a “senior Russian diplomat withdrawn from Washington embassy on account of potential exposure in US presidential election operation/s.” According to McClatchy, Mikhail Kalugin was recalled from his post as head of the embassy’s economics section in August of 2016. BBC reported that U.S. government sources identified Kalugin as a spy.
3) The Dotard’s dossier asserts that in early August 2016, “a Kremlin official involved in US relations commented on aspects of the Russian operation to date,” discussing attempts to compromise Jill Stein of the Green Party; Dotard foreign policy adviser Carter Page; and former DIA Director Michael Flynn, by inviting them to Moscow. Flynn and Stein spoke at the RT gala in 2015, Flynn having been paid. Page gave a Kremlin-friendly speech in Moscow in July 2016 while he was advising the Trump campaign.
The law firm Perkins Coie, as part of its representation of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the intelligence firm Fusion GPS and entered “into an engagement for research services that began in April 2016 and concluded before the election in early November.” Clinton has denied having knowledge of the funding of the Dotard’s dossier though it’s clear the firm was hired by the campaign and the DNC.
If the Dotard’s dossier was used by the FBI to gain FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign officials, Republican reasoning believes, those warrants should be reconsidered and possibly revoked, given their political origins. It’s a strange argument because opposition research often leads to congressional investigations. The Arkansas Project, which helped fuel the Whitewater investigation that culminated in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, was, in essence, opposition research.
It’s stranger still because it conveniently ignores the substance of the Dotard’s dossier, which is that Russia had been cultivating he and his inner circle for a while. Again; thus far, the dossier has only been verified with nothing yet proven false.
Isn’t This Like Donald Trump Jr?
No, it’s not like Dotard Jr. (DJ) at all. DJ was caught lying about the details of a meeting he accepted under the pretense of gaining damaging information on Hillary Clinton directly from the Russian government. That is against the law.
Clinton and the DNC hired a Washington DC based consulting firm specializing in opposition research. One of the consultants that firm hired was a former MI6 agent who has contacts in Russia. That is politics.