The Trump “Dossier” Is Looking More Credible All the Time

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Update, November 12, 2021: An earlier version of this article noted that Sergei Millian was reportedly a source for the Steele dossier, as reported by the Washington Post in 2017. In 2021, the Post retracted part of its reporting on Millian and the dossier and said it “could no longer stand by the accuracy of” that report. The article has been appropriately updated.

The BBC’s Paul Wood writes today about the infamous “dossier” that claims a substantial connection between Russian officials and the Trump campaign team:

The BBC has learned that US officials “verified” a key claim in a report about Kremlin involvement in Donald Trump’s election — that a Russian diplomat in Washington was in fact a spy.

….At one point [the dossier says]: “A leading Russian diplomat, Mikhail KULAGIN, had been withdrawn from Washington at short notice because Moscow feared his heavy involvement in the US presidential election operation… would be exposed in the media there.”…Sources I know and trust have told me the US government identified Kalugin as a spy while he was still at the embassy.

….I understand — from former officials — that from 2013-16, Steele gave the US government extensive information on Russia and Ukraine….One former senior official who saw these reports told me: “It was found to be of value by the people whose job it was to look at Russia every day”….Another who dealt with this material in government said: “Sometimes he would get spun by somebody. [But] it was always 80% there.”…In light of his earlier work, the US intelligence community saw him as “credible” (their highest praise).

….Members of the Obama administration believe, based on analysis they saw from the intelligence community, that the information exchange claimed by Steele continued into the election.

“This is a three-headed operation,” said one former official, setting out the case, based on the intelligence: Firstly, hackers steal damaging emails from senior Democrats. Secondly, the stories based on this hacked information appear on Twitter and Facebook, posted by thousands of automated “bots”, then on Russia’s English-language outlets, RT and Sputnik, then right-wing US “news” sites such as Infowars and Breitbart, then Fox and the mainstream media. Thirdly, Russia downloads the online voter rolls.

The voter rolls are said to fit into this because of “microtargeting”. Using email, Facebook and Twitter, political advertising can be tailored very precisely: individual messaging for individual voters….This would take co-operation with the Trump campaign, it is claimed.

Hmmm. Thousands of bots? Apparently so:

Put all this together and it’s easy to see why the Trump-Russia story won’t go away. The FBI believes Steele to be credible, and other intelligence corroborates much of the alleged Russian activity.

This isn’t going away anytime soon.

 

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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