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Politics Latest Messages: Really???..

Look out Hillary - Rocky road ahead

Posted: Apr 19th, 2019 - 4:46 pm

WASHINGTON — The 35-page dossier, spiced up with tales of prostitutes and spies, sketched out a hair-raising story more than two years ago. Russian intelligence had used bribery and blackmail to try to turn Donald J. Trump into a source and ally, it said, and the Kremlin was running some Trump campaign aides practically as agents.

But the release on Thursday of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, underscored what had grown clearer for months — that while many Trump aides had welcomed contacts with the Russians, some of the most sensational claims in the dossier appeared to be false, and others were impossible to prove. Mr. Mueller’s report contained over a dozen passing references to the document’s claims but no overall assessment of why so much did not check out.

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Now the dossier, financed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and compiled by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, is likely to face new, possibly harsh scrutiny from multiple inquiries.

Republicans in Congress have vowed to investigate. The Justice Department’s inspector general is considering whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly relied on the dossier in applying to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant to eavesdrop on Carter Page, a Trump adviser. The inspector general wants to know what the F.B.I. learned about Mr. Steele’s sources and whether it disclosed any doubts about their veracity to the court.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Mr. Steele is a former British intelligence agent who served in Moscow. 

nd Attorney General William Barr has said he will review the F.B.I.’s conduct in the Russia investigation. His remark that there was “spying” on the Trump campaign has already encouraged Republican accusations of misconduct.

Interviews with people familiar with Mr. Steele’s work on the dossier and the F.B.I.’s scramble to vet its claims suggest that misgivings about its reliability arose not long after the document became public — and a preoccupation of Trump opponents — in early 2017. Mr. Steele has made clear to associates that he always considered the dossier to be raw intelligence — not established facts, but a starting point for further investigation.

By January 2017, F.B.I. agents had tracked down and interviewed one of Mr. Steele’s main sources, a Russian speaker from a former Soviet republic who had spent time in the West, according to a Justice Department document and three people familiar with the events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. After questioning him about where he’d gotten his information, they suspected he might have added his own interpretations to reports passed on by his sources, one of the people said. For the F.B.I., that made it harder to decide what to trust.

Agents did not believe that either the source or Mr. Steele was deliberately inventing things, according to the former official. How the dossier ended up loaded with dubious or exaggerated details remains uncertain, but the document may be the result of a high-stakes game of telephone, in which rumors and hearsay were passed from source to source.

Another possibility — one that Mr. Steele has not ruled out — could be Russian disinformation. That would mean that in addition to carrying out an effective attack on the Clinton campaign, Russian spymasters hedged their bets and placed a few land mines under Mr. Trump’s presidency as well.

Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. “Russia has huge experience in spreading false information,” he said.

Mr. Steele declined to comment for this article. But Joshua A. Levy, a lawyer for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, said the Mueller inquiry substantiated “the core reporting” in the Steele memos — including “that Trump campaign figures were secretly meeting Kremlin figures,” and that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, had directed “a covert operation to elect Donald J. Trump.”

While The New York Times and many other news organizations published little about the document’s unverified claims, social media partisans and television commentators discussed them almost daily over the past two years. The dossier tantalized Mr. Trump’s opponents with a worst-case account of the president’s conduct. And for those trying to make sense of the Trump-Russia saga, the dossier infused the quest for understanding with urgency.

In blunt prose, it suggested that a foreign power had fully compromised the man who would become the next president of the United States.

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mueller-report-likely-to-renew-scrutiny-of-steele-dossier/ar-BBW6X



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