The Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018, Breaking: Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearance of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos — Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos — Story 3: Small Business Optimism Index Hits Second Highest Level in 45 Years —

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Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearances of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos

URGENT 🔴 White House EXPLOSIVE Press Briefing with Sarah Sanders on Revoking CIA Director Clearance

Watch Live: Trump revokes former CIA Director’s Clearance


HE PUNISHING CRITICS IS ABUSE OF POWER”… John Brennan SCOLDS Trump’s Revoking Of Clearance

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British spy Steele?

Brennan fires back at Trump after clearance revoked

Trump FACES A BOMBSHELL From All American After He Revokes Brennan’s Security Clearance

Judicial Watch: Why Trump is Right to Revoke Security Clearance of ‘Unhinged’ John Brennan

James Clapper RESPONDS John Brennan After Trump Revokes His Security Clearance

Sanders says Trump may remove ex-intel chiefs’ security clearances

Hannity: Corruption at the highest levels of DOJ

Judicial Watch sues DOJ for communications with Steele

FBI paid Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, heavily redacted docs show

BUSTED! John Brennan ex-CIA ‘is the key missing link’ of the Steele Dossier story

Mark Levin “Who is John Brennan…?”

Exclusive: John Brennan still has top security clearance

Trump pulls security clearance of ex-CIA Director John Brennan


President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become a harsh critic of the president, and appeared to be targeting others who have disagreed with the administration.

“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries which is to sow division and chaos,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, reading a statement from Trump while briefing reporters on Wednesday.

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the internet and television — about this Administration,“ the president‘s statement continued.

In addition, Sanders said, the administration is evaluating clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strozk, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose security clearance was deactivated after he was fired earlier this year, and Bruce Ohr, who is still in the Justice Department although he was demoted from associate deputy attorney general.

“More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended,” Sanders said.

Brennan later responded on Twitter.

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” he wrote. “It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent,” he wrote.

The White House last month announced that it was looking into revoking security clearances for the individuals Sanders listed on Wednesday, with the exception of Yates, Strozk, Page and Ohr, whose names were added on Wednesday.

Trump has over the past couple of days dug into Strozk, who was fired from the FBI on Friday, and Ohr.

Ohr, a senior Justice Department official, has come under scrutiny after it was revealed he had contact during the 2016 election cycle with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier that described a complex conspiracy of Trump and his campaign working with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Trump has denied the dossier‘s findings. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, also worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Ohr’s security clearance.

“Security clearances for those who still have them may be revoked, and those who have already lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated,” Sanders said.

Clapper on Wednesday said during an interview with CNN that he had not had any access to current intelligence since he resigned in January 2017.

The former intelligence chief has been a harsh critic of Trump and has feuded with the president, who has characterized the FBI’s use of an informant as the Justice Department‘s spying on his presidential campaign. Clapper, however, has countered that Russian efforts were the subject of intelligence operations, not Trump‘s campaign.

Clapper said that losing his clearance wouldn’t have any “ immediate substantive impact“ on him, and that he would continue to speak out against the president.

“Will the republic stand or fall on whether John retains his access to classified information, or mine or any others that were named? Of course not,“ he said. “The larger issue here, to me, throughout has been infringement on First Amendment rights. And I think people ought to think seriously about that.“

Comey last month said he no longer had a security clearance, and Hayden also said on Twitter that he did not go back for classified briefings but would occasionally be asked to “offer a view on something.”

Comey, who was fired last year, documented a conversation with Trump in which he says the president asked him to to let go of an FBI investigation into former Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn, who also served briefly as the president’s national security adviser. Since the release of Comey‘s memo, special counsel Robert Mueller has broadened his Russia investigation to include whether Trump tried to obstruct justice. Trump has long called the Mueller inquiry a “witch hunt.“

Conservatives have over the past couple of weeks pushed for Brennan’s security to be removed.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in June said he spoke to the president about that very issue, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson also called for Brennan’s clearance to be removed after he reported he still had it.

John McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA, who was not listed as having his clearance under review but has criticized the president’s policies in the past, said on Wednesday that he thought the choice to revoke the clearance was to “silence critics.“

“This really has the feel of someone simply trying to do two things: silence critics and also distract from another damaging political event that‘s going on with Omarosa,“ he said during a phone interivew on MSNBC, referring to former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose new book includes scathing criticism of Trump and his administration.


Jordan: More Obama-era officials should lose security clearances

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) cheered President Trump‘s Wednesday decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan‘s security clearance, saying the White House should revoke those of several other Obama-era officials, too.

“Clapper lied under oath, Rice blamed Benghazi on a video,” Jordan tweeted. “Comey fired, McCabe fired, Strzok fired, Yates fired, Page demoted, then left, Ohr demoted.”

“If any of these folks still have a clearance, they should lose it too.”

Some of the names on Jordan’s list have already been identified by the White House as liable to losing their security clearances.

Former FBI Director James B. Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could all have their clearances revoked, the administration says.

The FBI fired agent Peter Strzok Monday for violating their policies after he came under fire for alleged political bias in the investigations into Hillary Clinton‘s emails and Russia’s 2016 election interference.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr are also controversial figures at the center of the Russian probe, accused by Republicans of being biased against Trump.


Opinion: How a senior DOJ official helped Dem researchers on Trump-Russia case

By John Solomon
Opinion Contributor


Hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails and memos provide the clearest evidence yet that a research firm, hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on and defeat Donald Trump, worked early and often with the FBI, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official and the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential election and the early days of Trump’s presidency.

Fusion GPS’s work and its involvement with several FBI officials have been well reported.

But a close review of these new documents shows just how closely Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who reported to Obama-era Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, maintained contact with Fusion — and, in particular, its primary source, former British spy Christopher Steele — before, during and after the election.

Yates was fired by President Trump over an unrelated political dispute. Ohr was demoted recently.

Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.

They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” assisting in that probe.

They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit’s role as an informant.

“B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY,” Steele texted Ohr on Jan. 31, 2017, referencing President Trump’s firing of Sally Yates for insubordination.

Steele’s FBI relationship had been terminated about three months earlier. The bureau concluded on Nov. 1, 2016, that he leaked information to the news media and was “not suitable for use” as a confidential source, memos show.

The FBI specifically instructed Steele that he could no longer “operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” those memos show.

Yet, Steele asked Ohr in the Jan. 31 text exchange if he could continue to help feed information to the FBI: “Just want to check you are OK, still in the situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.”

“I’m still here and able to help as discussed,” Ohr texted back. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”

Steele replied, “If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous.” Investigators are trying to determine who Steele was referring to.

FBI officials now admit they continued to receive information from Steele through Ohr, identifying more than a half-dozen times its agents interviewed Ohr in late 2016 and 2017, to learn what Steele was saying.

That continued reliance on Steele after his termination is certain to raise interest in Congress about whether the FBI broke its own rules.

But the memos also raise questions about Ohr’s and the Justice Department’s roles in the origins of building a counterintelligence case against the Republican presidential nominee, based heavily on opposition research funded by his rival’s campaign, the DNC and the DNC’s main law firm, Perkins Coie.

Some of the more tantalizing Ohr contacts occurred in the days when Steele made his first contacts with the FBI in summer 2016 about the Russia matter.

“There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele wrote Ohr on July 1, 2016, in an apparent reference to Trump.

That overture came just four days before Steele walked into the FBI office in Rome with still-unproven allegations that Trump had an improper relationship with Russia, including possible efforts to hijack the presidential election.

Ohr scheduled a call with Steele over Skype a few days later. But then the two men met in Washington on July 30, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel.

Ohr brought his wife, Nellie, who was working at Fusion GPS on the Trump-Russia research project.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly after their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

That meeting occurred exactly one day before FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok formally opened an investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, into whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Moscow to steal the election.

At the time, the case was based mostly on an Australian diplomat’s tip that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos appeared to know in advance that the Russians possessed information involving Hillary Clinton before hacked documents were released on WikiLeaks.

Soon, the case expanded to include allegations that another Trump adviser, Carter Page, might have ties to Russia — an uncorroborated allegation from Fusion GPS’s research now known as the “Steele dossier.”

Calendar notations and handwritten notes indicate Ohr followed up on Steele’s offer and met with Simpson on Aug. 22, 2016. Ohr’s notes indicate Simpson identified several “possible intermediaries” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

One was identified as a “longtime associate of Trump” who “put together several real estate deals for Russian investigators to purchase Trump properties.” Another was a Russian apparently tied to Carter Page, Ohr’s note of his Simpson contact indicated.

Steele offered Ohr many other theories over their contacts, including a now widely discredited one that the Russian Alfa Bank had a computer server “as a link” to the Trump campaign, Ohr’s notes show.

Though much of Steele’s information remained uncorroborated, the FBI nonetheless took the extraordinary step in October 2016 of seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor Carter Page during the final days of the election, based mostly on Steele’s dossier. The warrant was renewed at least three times, but Carter Page was never charged.

Ohr’s connections to Steele are significant because at least one of the FISA warrants was approved by Ohr’s boss, Yates.

By early November 2016, Steele was terminated for unauthorized media contacts — and the FBI was turning to Ohr as a back channel to Steele.

Ohr’s notes suggest he met Nov. 21, 2016, with FBI officials that included Strzok, then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and another agent. Strzok and Lisa Page have become the poster children for Republicans who believe the FBI abused its authority by investigating Trump on flimsy evidence. FBI records confirm an interview with Ohr around that time.

Ohr’s notes from that meeting indicate that FBI officials told him they “may go back to Chris” — an apparent reference to Steele — just 20 days after dismissing him.

In all, Ohr’s notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in recent American history.

Most importantly, the new memos make clear that Ohr, a man whose name was barely uttered during the first 18 months of the scandal, may have played a critical role in stitching together a Democratic opposition research project and the top echelons of the FBI and DOJ.

Representatives for the Justice Department and FBI did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment. A message left on the cell phone for Bruce and Nellie Ohr, seeking comment, was not returned.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

John O. Brennan

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John O. Brennan
John Brennan CIA official portrait.jpg
5th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
March 8, 2013 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Deputy Avril Haines
David Cohen
Preceded by Michael Morell (Acting)
Succeeded by Mike Pompeo
5th United States Homeland Security Advisor
In office
January 20, 2009 – March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ken Wainstein
Succeeded by Lisa Monaco
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
In office
August 27, 2004 – August 1, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by John Redd
Personal details
Born John Owen Brennan
September 22, 1955 (age 62)
North BergenNew JerseyU.S.
Spouse(s) Kathy Pokluda
Education Fordham University (BA)
University of Texas, Austin (MA)

John Owen Brennan (born September 22, 1955)[1][2] was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from March 2013 to January 2017. He served as chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; with the title Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.[1][3][4] His responsibilities included overseeing plans to protect the country from terrorism and respond to natural disasters, and he met with the President daily.[5][6] Previously, he advised President Obama on foreign policy and intelligence issues during the 2008 presidential campaign and transition.[7] Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the first Obama administration over concerns about his support, while serving under President George W. Bush, for transferring terror suspects to countries where they might be tortured.[3][5] Instead, Brennan was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor, a position which did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan’s 25 years with the CIA included work as a Near East and South Asia analyst, as station chief in Saudi Arabia, and as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.[3][5][9] After leaving government service in 2005, Brennan became CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a security consulting business, and served as chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an association of intelligence professionals.[10]

Brennan served in the White House as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security between 2009 and 2013. President Obama nominated Brennan as his next director of the CIA on January 7, 2013.[11][12] The ACLUcalled for the Senate not to proceed with the appointment until it confirms that “all of his conduct was within the law” at the CIA and White House.[13] John Brennan was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 5, 2013, to succeed David Petraeus as the Director of the CIA by a vote of 12 to 3.[14]

Brennan serves as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. His inaugural appearance was on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday, February 4, 2018.[15]

On August 15, 2018, President Donald Trump, who Brennan has been an outspoken critic of, announced that Brennan’s security clearance will be revoked.[16] The revocation was criticized as political retribution from Brennan’s comments.[17]

Early life and education

Brennan is the son of Irish immigrants from RoscommonRepublic of Ireland. His father, Owen, a blacksmith, immigrated to New Jersey in 1948.[18] Brennan was born in North Bergen, New Jersey,[9] attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey.

He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham University in 1977.[3] He then attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle East studies in 1980.[5] He speaks Arabic fluently.[9] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][5]

While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting. He decided that a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire for public service.[5]During his application to the CIA he admitted in a lie-detector test that he had voted for the U.S. Communist Party candidate for president, Gus Hall, in 1976. He explained to the interviewer that his vote was a way of “signaling my unhappiness with the system,” and he later described his vote as a protest against partisanship of the Watergate era.[18] He emphasized after leaving office that his entry into the CIA showed that freedom of speech in the U.S. does not disqualify a person for a career in government.[19]


Brennan with Kathleen Sebeliusand Rahm Emanuel, White House, April 2009

Brennan began his CIA career as an analyst and spent 25 years with the agency.[1][5][20] He was a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton.[5] In 1996, he was CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when the Khobar Towers bombing killed 19 U.S. servicemen.[5] In 1999, he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA.[3][5] Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001.[3] He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush’s daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities.[21] One of the controversies in his career involves the distribution of intelligence to the Bush White House that helped lead to an “Orange Terror Alert“, in late 2003. The intelligence, which purported to list terror targets, was highly controversial within the CIA and was later discredited. An Obama administration official does not dispute that Brennan distributed the intelligence during the Bush era but said Brennan passed it along because that was his job.[22][23] His last post within the Intelligence Community was as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004 and 2005, which incorporated information on terrorist activities across U.S. agencies.[3][24]

Brennan then left government service for a few years, becoming Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC).[18] He continued to lead TAC after its acquisition by Global Strategies Group in 2007 and its growth as the Global Intelligence Solutions division of Global’s North American technology business GTEC, before returning to government service with the Obama administration as Homeland Security Advisor on January 20, 2009.[10]

On January 7, 2013, Brennan was nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[25]

On January 20, 2017, Brennan’s appointment ended and he was replaced by President Donald Trump’s nominee Mike Pompeo on January 23, 2017.

In September 2017, Brennan was named a Distinguished Non-Resident Scholar at The University of Texas at Austin, where he also acts as a Senior Advisor to the University’s Intelligence Studies Project.[26] He serves as a consultant on world events for Kissinger Associates.[18]

Counterterrorism advisor to President Obama

Brennan was an early national security adviser to then-candidate Obama.[18] In late 2008, Brennan was reportedly the top choice to become the Director of the CIA in the incoming Obama administration. However, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration because of opposition to his CIA service under President George W. Bush and past public statements he had made in support of enhanced interrogation and the transfer of terrorism suspects to countries where they might be tortured (extraordinary rendition).[3][5][27] President Obama then appointed him to be his Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the President’s chief counterterrorism advisor and a position that did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan and President Barack Obama at a meeting of the Homeland Security Council, May 2009

In August 2009, Brennan criticized some Bush-administration anti-terror policies, saying that waterboarding had threatened national security by increasing the recruitment of terrorists and decreasing the willingness of other nations to cooperate with the U.S.[28] He also described the Obama administration’s focus as being on “extremists” and not “jihadists“. He said that using the second term, which means one who is struggling for a holy goal, gives “these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek” and suggests the US is at war with the religion of Islam.[28] Brennan told the New York Times in January 2010 that “I was somebody who did oppose waterboarding,”[29] a claim that he repeated in 2013, during the Senate’s hearings about whether to confirm him as Obama’s CIA director.[30] None of Brennan’s superior officers at the CIA, however, recall hearing his objections, and in 2018, Brennan admitted to the New York Times that “It wasn’t as though I was wearing that opposition on my sleeve throughout the agency. I expressed it privately, to individuals.”[31]

In an early December 2009 interview with the Bergen Record, Brennan remarked, “the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities have to bat 1.000 every day. The terrorists are trying to be successful just once”.[5] At a press conference days after the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Brennan said U.S. intelligence agencies did not miss any signs that could have prevented the attempt but later said he had let the President down by underestimating a small group of Yemeni terrorists and not connecting them to the attempted bomber.[1][32] Within two weeks after the incident, however, he produced a report highly critical of the performance of U.S. intelligence agencies, concluding that their focus on terrorist attempts aimed at U.S. soil was inadequate.[20] In February 2010, he claimed on Meet the Press that he was tired of Republicanlawmakers using national security issues as political footballs, and making allegations where they did not know the facts.[33]

Brennan was present in the Situation Room in May 2011 when the United States conducted the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He called President Obama’s decision to go forward with the mission one of the “gutsiest calls of any president in memory.”[34] In the aftermath of the operation, Brennan said that the U.S. troops in the raid had been “met with a great deal of resistance,” and bin Laden had used a woman as a human shield.[35][36]

Drone program

In April 2012, Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge CIA drone strikes in PakistanYemenSomaliaLibyaAfghanistan, and elsewhere. In his speech he explained the legality, morality, and effectiveness of the program.[37][38][39] The ACLU and other organizations disagreed. In 2011-2012, he also helped reorganize the process, under the aegis of the Disposition Matrix database, by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets. According to an Associated Press story, the reorganization helped “concentrate power” over the process inside the White House administration.[40][41][42] According to the New York Times, Brennan was the “principal coordinator” of U.S. kill lists. Former Obama administration counter-terrorism official Daniel Benjamin has stated that Brennan “probably had more power and influence than anyone in a comparable position in the last 20 years”.[43]

In June 2011, Brennan claimed that US counter-terrorism operations had not resulted in “a single collateral death” in the past year because of the “precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”[44][45] Nine months later, Brennan claimed he had said “we had no information” about any civilian, noncombatant deaths during the timeframe in question.[45][46] The Bureau of Investigative Journalism disagreed with Brennan, citing their own research[47] that initially led them to believe that 45 to 56 civilians, including six children, had been killed by ten US drone strikes during the year-long period in question.[45] Additional research led the Bureau to raise their estimate to 76 deaths, including eight children and two women.[45] According to the Bureau, Brennan’s claims “do not appear to bear scrutiny.”[45] The Atlantic has been harsher in its criticism, saying that “Brennan has been willing to lie about those drone strikes to hide ugly realities.”[48]

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Brennan’s comments about collateral death are perhaps explained by a counting method that treats all military-aged males in a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit information to prove them innocent.[45][49]

CIA Director (2013–2017)


Brennan being sworn in as CIA Director, March 8, 2013

Brennan at the White House in April 2013, discussing the Boston Marathon bombing

United States President Barack Obama twice nominated Brennan to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[11][12] Morris Davis, a former Chief Prosecutor for the Guantanamo Military Commissions compared Brennan to Canadian Omar Khadr, who was convicted of “committing murder in violation of the law of war”.[50] He suggested that Brennan’s role in targeting individuals for CIA missile strikes was no more authorized than the throwing of the grenade of which Khadr was accused.

On February 27, 2013, the Senate Intelligence Committee postponed a vote, expected to be taken the next day on the confirmation of Brennan until the following week. On March 5, the Intelligence Committee approved the nomination 12–3. The Senate was set to vote on Brennan’s nomination on March 6, 2013. However, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul began a talking Senate filibuster of the vote, citing President Barack Obama and his administration’suse of combat drones against Americans, stating “No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.”[51][52] Paul’s filibuster continued for 13 hours, ending with the words: “I’m hopeful that we have drawn attention to this issue, that this issue will not fade away, and that the president will come up with a response.”[53] After the filibuster, Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63–34.

Brennan was sworn into the office of CIA Director on March 8, 2013, in a 63-34 vote.[54]


Two months after assuming his post at the CIA, Brennan replaced Gina Haspel as head of the National Clandestine Service and placed another unidentified, career intelligence officer and former Marine in her place.[55][56] In June 2013, Brennan installed Avril Haines as Deputy Director of the Agency.[57]

In April 2014, Brennan visited Kiev where he met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema and purportedly discussed intelligence-sharing between the United States and Ukraine.[58][59]

In the summer of 2014, Brennan faced scrutiny after it was revealed that some CIA employees had improperly accessed the computer servers of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the wake of oversight of the CIA’s role in enhanced interrogation and extraordinary rendition. Brennan apologized to Senators and stated that he would “fight for change at the CIA,” and stated he would pass along the findings of the Inspector General on the incident.[60]After the incident, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) stated he had “lost confidence in Brennan.”[61]

Brennan and James Clapper at the LBJ Presidential Library, September 16, 2015

Brennan and former National Security Advisers Sandy Berger and Brent Scowcroft in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2015

In December 2014, Brennan again came under fire when he defended the CIA’s past interrogation tactics as having yielded “useful” intelligence, during a news conference. While admitting that the actions of the CIA officers were “abhorrent”, worthy of “repudiation”, and had, at times, exceeded legal boundaries Brennan stated the CIA had also done “a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secured.”[62]

During testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2016, Brennan warned of the threat posed by ISIL claiming it had the ability to draw on a “large cadre of Western fighters” and reiterated the threats posed by lone wolfattackers, calling them “an exceptionally challenging issue for the intelligence community.” Brennan detailed ISIL’s size to the committee, specifying they had more fighters than al-Qaeda at its height and that they were spread between Africa and southwest Asia.[63]

While director, Brennan created ten new “mission centers” in his campaign to focus the CIA on threats in cyberspace, where analysts and hackers work in teams with focuses on specific areas of the globe and particular issues. In addition, he created the Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI) to hone the Agency’s tradecraft in the information technology sector and create new tools dedicated to cyber-espionage. Despite general praise for his actions from within the intelligence community about Brennan’s shift towards cyber, some CIA officials said they held reservations in moving away from traditional human intelligence.[64] In January 2017, Brennan, alongside FBI director James Comey, NSA director Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed President-elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower on the findings of the intelligence community in regards to Russian election interference and the allegations contained in the Steele dossier.[65][66]

Less than a week before Brennan left office in January 2017, he expressed several criticisms of incoming President Trump. Brennan said “I don’t think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia’s intentions and actions that they are undertaking in many parts of the world”. Brennan stated that it was “outrageous” that Trump was “equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany.”[67]

WikiLeaks Hack

In October 2015, the contents of Brennan’s personal e-mail account were stolen by a hack and posted on WikiLeaks. The e-mails did not contain classified information but did include sensitive personal information, including a draft of Brennan’s Standard Form 86 (SF-86) application. During a subsequent security conference at George Washington University, Brennan proclaimed his “outrage” at the hack but also demonstrated the need to “evolve to deal with these new threats and challenges.”[68][69] In January 2017, a North Carolina college student, who was represented by attorneys Marina Medvin and Jay Leiderman, pleaded guilty in a Virginia federal court to charges relating to hacking Brennan’s e-mail.[70]

Criticism of President Trump

Since leaving office, Brennan has been harshly critical of President Trump. In March 2018, Brennan said Trump had “paranoia”, accused him of “constant misrepresentation of the facts”, and described him as a “charlatan”.[71]Following the firing of senior FBI official Andrew McCabe later that month, Brennan tweeted to Trump, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”[72] Axios quoted Brennan as replying on Twitter to Trump’s harsh comments about James Comey (over quotes reported in advance from his April 2018 book) as, “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey… we have the opportunity to emerge from this nightmare stronger & more committed to ensuring a better life for all Americans, including those you have so tragically deceived.”[73]

On July 16, 2018, Brennan tweeted his reaction to Trump’s comments at the 2018 Helsinki summit meetings with Putin:

John O. Brennan via Twitter

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors”. It was nothing short of “treasonous”. Not only were Trump’s comments “imbecilic”, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

July 16, 2018[74]

Trump called him a “total lowlife” following this tweet.[75] On July 23, 2018, Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and asked Trump to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.[76] Paul accused John Brennan of “monetizing his security clearance” and “making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks” on the President.[77]

On August 15, 2018, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Brennan’s security clearance will be revoked by President Trump.[16] The revocation was criticized as political retribution from Brennan’s comments.[17]

Personal life

Brennan is married to Kathy Pokluda Brennan, with whom he has had one son and two daughters.[2][3][78]

British hacker Kane Gamble, sentenced to 2 years in youth detention, posed as CIA chief to access highly sensitive information and hacked into Brennan’s private email and iCloud accounts, made hoax calls to his family home and even took control of his wife’s iPad. The judge said Gamble engaged in “politically motivated cyber terrorism.”[79][80]

See also


Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

Rep. Goodlatte now preparing Steele dossier subpoenas

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Published on Aug 12, 2018

Fitton: ‘DOJ’s Bruce Ohr is at Center of Clinton-DNC Dossier Scandal Targeting Trump’

FBI documents show Russia dossier author deemed ‘not suitable for use’: Judicial Watch

Jonathan Winer: Why I turned over Steele dossier

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

Bruce & Nellie Ohr. 302s, Fusion GPS-Simpson, Christopher Steele

Sekulow: Russia investigation ‘corrupt at its inception’

Bruce Ohr testimony falls through

Published on Dec 18, 2017

Fitton: How Were Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS Plotting?

Recently, Republican lawmakers indicated that Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy attorney general, is becoming more central to their investigation of the soft coup against President Trump.

Moreover, newly released emails and memos show that Ohr continued to receive information from former British spy Christopher Steele in 2017 after the FBI had supposedly terminated its relationship with Steele in 2016 for leaking to the media.

In fact, as I describe below, it was another Judicial Watch lawsuit that just uncovered FBI document showing that Steele was deemed unsuitable as a “confidential human source” in November 2016. But that was no impediment to Ohr’s continuing to use him nor the FBI continuing to receive “information” from Steele through Ohr! Talk about corruption!

Judicial Watch just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for all communications from the offices of the deputy attorney general and the office of the director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force related to Bruce G. Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01854)).

Bruce Ohr remains Organized Crime Task Force director. Until his dossier-related demotion, he was the fourth-ranked official at DOJ. The House Intelligence Committee memo released by Chairman Devin Nunes on February 2 says that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” and that Bruce Ohr passed along the results of that research, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The “salacious and unverified” dossier was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page.

Judicial Watch sued after the Justice Department failed to respond to our May 29, 2018, FOIA request for:

All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

In December 2017, Bruce Ohr was removed from his position as U.S. associate deputy attorney general after it was revealed that he conducted undisclosed meetings with anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, principal of Fusion GPS.

In March, Judicial Watch filed two lawsuits seeking records about the Ohrs’ involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. In June, the DOJ was ordered to begin searching and producing Fusion GPS records to Judicial Watch.

As this sordid scandal continues to unfold, it is increasingly clear that top DOJ official Bruce Ohr – working in conjunction with his wife and other Clinton-connected Fusion GPS actors – played a key role in laundering false information from Russia about Donald J. Trump. The DOJ must stop the stonewalling and release these documents, as the law requires.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.

Republicans call Justice Department’s Ohr to testify on contacts with dossier author Steele

 – The Washington Times – Sunday, August 12, 2018

Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department.

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+contacts with dossier author Chris Steele as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His panel and the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a joint hearing to interview Mr. Ohr, according to The Daily Caller.

FBI documents show that the bureau bluntly told dossier writer Christopher Steele in November 2016 that it no longer wanted to hear about his collection of accusations against Mr. Trump.

But for months afterward, the FBI appeared to violate its own edict as agents continued to receive the former British spy’s scandalous charges centered on supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

Mr. Steele spoke with Mr. Ohr, who relayed the Trump talk back to the same FBI that had banned him, according to FBI documents and congressional testimony.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump tweeted a statement from a congressman who said it seems like the Justice Departmentconducted an operation to stop candidate Trump.

“If this had happened to the other side, everybody involved would be in jail,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “This is a Media coverup of the biggest story of our time.”

The back-channel flow involved Mr. Steele; Fusion GPS, which the Clinton campaign hired to investigate Mr. TrumpMr. Ohr; his wife, Nellie, who worked at Fusion; and senior FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, who led the Trump-Russia investigation.

Mr. Strzok’s now-infamous text messages to his FBI lover bemoaned candidate Trump and vowed, “We’ll stop” him.

To Republicans, the investigation is important because Mr. Steele’s work, in their opinion, is full of false claims about a supposed Trump-Kremlin conspiracy.

None of Mr. Steele’s charges has been confirmed publicly. Some Republican staffers suggest the Steele dossier, which Fusion and Mr. Steele briefed to reporters during the campaign, is a hoax.

Senate Judiciary Committee investigators have confirmed the Steele-Ohr nexus by obtaining a series of FBI 302 interview reports from November 2016 to May 2017. In one, Mr. Ohr disclosed that Mr. Steele was “desperate” to sink the Trump candidacy.

A Judiciary Committee letter to the Justice Department inspector general said there are “Numerous FD-302s demonstrating that Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr continued to pass along allegations from Mr. Steele to the FBI after the FBI suspended its formal relationship with Mr. Steele for unauthorized contact with the media, and demonstrating that Mr. Ohr otherwise funneled allegations from Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele to the FBI.”

Mr. Steele was a paid FBI confidential human source (CHS) in 2016, according to highly redacted bureau documents obtained by The Washington Times and Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents do not disclose Mr. Steele’s FBI project. At the same time, Mr. Steele was being paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, through Fusion.

The FBI fired Mr. Steele in early November after he went to liberal Mother Jones magazine as an unidentified source and disclosed his FBI work and dossier allegations. The bureau’s document on the Steele firing said he was “not suitable for use as a CHS.”

“Handling agent advised CHS that the nature of the relationship between the FBI and CHS would change completely and that it was unlikely that the FBI would continue a relationship with the CHS. Additionally, handling agent advised that CHS was not to operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” the document reads.

It is now known that Mr. Steele did not stop. What remains to be answered are what he provided, how the FBI used the material and whether it reached special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Strzok, when questioned at a hearing by Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, confirmed that he spoke with Mr. Ohr, who was a counternarcotics official and not involved in the Russia investigation. But Mr. Strzok refused to provide details.

Mr. Ohr gave the FBI documents, which included material that I believe originated from Mr. Steele,” Mr. Strzok testified in an apparent reference to the dossier and possibly other information.

Said Mr. Jordan: “Bruce Ohr, the fourth-ranking official at the Department of Justice, his wife works for Fusion GPS in the summer. He gets information and passed it to the FBI. That becomes the basis to spy on the Trump campaign, plain and simple. This is the first time to my knowledge the FBI has admitted that, and it was good that we got some of that information out today.”

Judicial Watch obtained the FBI court application to wiretap Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. The application shows the bureau relied greatly on Mr. Steele’s dossier to peg Mr. Page as an agent of Russia and thus justify the snooping.

The FBI, however, did not tell the court that Mr. Steele was paid by Democrats, according to a House report, it knew.

The Hill newspaper last week reported on Mr. Ohr’s notes on a meeting he had after the election with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion co-founder who hired Mr. Steele with Democrats’ money. Mr. Simpson continued to pitch the dossier allegations. For example, Mr. Simpson told Mr. Ohr that Trump attorney Michael Cohen served as a go-between for the candidate and the Kremlin.

Mr. Cohen now is under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. The subject is believed to be his business practices, not Russia, for which Mr. Cohen repeatedly has denied playing any role.

Mr. Cohen has turned on his onetime boss in what Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, says is an attempt to stay out of jail.

Seal of the Department of Justice

 ES-00  Top 10%

Bruce G. Ohr

Title: General Attorney

Agency: Offices, Boards and Divisions

In 2017, Bruce G. Ohr was a General Attorney at the Offices, Boards and Divisions in Washington, District Of Columbia. As our dataset only goes as far back as 2004, it is likely that has worked in the federal government prior to 2004.

Bruce G. Ohr is a ES-00 under the senior executive service payscale and is among the highest-paid ten percent of employeesin the Offices, Boards and Divisions.

Year Occupation Paygrade Base Salary Bonus Location
2017 General Attorney ES-00 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2016 General Attorney ES-00 $185,100 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2015 General Attorney ES-00 $181,500 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2014 General Attorney ES-00 $181,500 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2013 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2012 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2011 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2010 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2009 General Attorney ES-00 $177,000 $9,500 Washington, District of Columbia
2008 General Attorney ES-00 $172,100 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2007 General Attorney ES-00 $162,959 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2006 General Attorney ES-00 $155,942 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2005 General Attorney ES-00 $149,200 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2004 General Attorney ES-00 $145,600 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
FederalPay’s Employee Information Policy

Federal employees’ salaries are considered public information under 5 U.S.C. § 552, and in the interest of government transparency FederalPay publishes the salary information of all federal employees who earn more than $100,000 per year, or who are in the highest paid 10% of their agency. This data is published unmodified, as provided by the OPM.

Bruce Ohr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bruce Genesoke Ohr (born March 16, 1962) is a former United States associate deputy attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. He is a current member of the Senior Executive Service. (OCDETF).[1][2]



Ohr graduated from Harvard College in 1984 with a degree in physics, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1987.[3] He went on to teach as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.[4]

Involvement with Trump-Russia dossier

Ohr served as a U.S. Department of Justice contact for Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent commissioned by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to author the Trump–Russia dossier. Fusion GPS also hired Bruce Ohr’s wife Nellie to conduct research on Donald Trump.[5]


  1. Jump up^ Gibson, Jake (January 8, 2018). “DOJ official who concealed meetings with Trump dossier figures loses another job title”. Fox News. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  2. Jump up^ Zapotosky, Matt; Reinhard, Beth (February 2, 2018). “Why the Nunes memo takes aim at a Justice Dept. official specializing in gangs and drugs”The Washington Post.
  3. Jump up^ Jessica McBride (Dec 8, 2017). “Bruce Ohr & Nellie Ohr: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”
  4. Jump up^ “Faculty”
  5. Jump up^ Gibson, Jake (December 31, 2017). “Fusion GPS admits DOJ official’s wife Nellie Ohr hired to probe Trump”. Fox News. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

External link

Trump–Russia dossier

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The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[1] is a private intelligence report comprising 17 memos that were written between June and December 2016[2] by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6). The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election cycle, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump.[3] It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign.[4] The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017.[5] Several mainstream media outlets criticized BuzzFeed’s decision to release it without first verifying its allegations.[6][7]

Fusion GPS, a private investigative firm, provided political opposition research against Trump in two distinct phases, with completely separate funders. Fusion GPS was first contracted by a conservative political website, The Washington Free Beacon, and Steele was not involved in that research. When Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee on May 3, 2016, The Free Beacon stopped their backing. Separately, in April 2016, attorney Marc Elias hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In June 2016, Fusion GPS subcontracted Steele to research and compile the dossier. Steele was hired without knowing, or ever having direct contact with, his ultimate clients,[8] and his only instructions were to seek answers to this basic question: “Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?”[9] Senior Clinton campaign officials were reportedly unaware that Fusion GPS had subcontracted with Steele, and Steele was not told the Clinton campaign was the ultimate recipient of his research.[10][8] Following Trump’s election as president, funding from Clinton and the DNC ceased, but Steele continued his research, and was reportedly paid directly by Glenn R. Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS.[11] The completed dossier was then handed to British and American intelligence services.[12] Weeks before the 2016 election, on the basis of Steele’s reputation working on Russia-related matters for nearly 20 years, the FBI reached an agreement to pay Steele to continue his work, but the agreement was later terminated as information about the dossier became public.[13]

The media, the intelligence community, and most experts have treated the dossier with caution, due to its unverified assertions, while Trump himself denounced the report as “fake news“. However, the intelligence community does take the allegations seriously and investigates them.[14][15][16][17] For example, as of May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Some of the dossier’s allegations have been corroborated, while others remain unverified[19] or may require access to classified information for verification.[20] In February 2017, some details related to conversations “solely between foreign nationals” were independently verified. Some of those individuals were known to be “heavily involved” in efforts to damage Clinton and help Trump. The conversations “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier,” giving US intelligence and law enforcement “greater confidence” in the credibility of parts of the dossier.[21] Fox News reported on August 15, 2018 that nothing in the dossier had been publicly proven false.[22]



The opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was completed in two phases with separate funders. The first research phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, was funded by The Washington Free Beacon. The second phase, from June 2016 to December 2016, was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, unrelated to the Washington Free Beacon request. The second phase produced the dossier.[23][24]

Research funded by conservative website

In October 2015, before the official start of the 2016 Republican primary campaignThe Washington Free Beacon, an American conservative political journalism website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct general opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates.[1] The Free Beacon and Singer were “part of the conservative never-Trump movement”.[25] For months, Fusion GPS gathered information about Trump, focusing on his business and entertainment activities. When Trump became the presumptive nominee on May 3, 2016,[26] The Free Beacon stopped funding research on him.[2][27][28]

Although the source of the Steele dossier’s funding had already been reported correctly over a year before,[2][27][28] a February 2, 2018 story by the Associated Press (AP) contributed to confusion about its funding by stating that the dossier “was initially funded” by the Washington Free Beacon, so the AP posted a correction the next day: “Though the former spy, Christopher Steele, was hired by a firm that was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, he did not begin work on the project until after Democratic groups had begun funding it.”[29] At no point in time did the Free Beacon have any connection with the production of the Steele dossier, and the Free Beacon stated that “none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier.”[30]

Research funded by Democrats produces dossier

The second phase of opposition research was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, working through their attorney of record, Marc Elias of Perkins Coie. In April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump.[10]

As part of their investigation, Fusion GPS hired Orbis Business Intelligence, a private British intelligence firm, to look into connections between Trump and Russia. Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters,[2] was hired as a subcontractor to do the job.[31] In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million in fees and expenses, $168,000 of which was paid to Orbis by Fusion GPS and used by them to produce the dossier.[32]

Orbis was hired between June and November 2016, and Steele produced 16 memos during that time, with a 17th memo added in December.[33] The memos were like “prepublication notes” based on reports from Steele’s sources, and were not released as a fully vettedand “finished news article”.[34] Steele believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate,[35] a view that is shared by Simpson.[34]

Simpson has stated that, to his knowledge, Steele did not pay any of his sources.[36][9][37] According to investigative reporter Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Orbis has a large number of paid “collectors” who “harvest intelligence from a much larger network of unpaid sources, some of whom don’t even realize they are being treated as informants […] but money doesn’t change hands, because it could risk violating laws against, say, bribing government officials or insider trading. Paying sources might also encourage them to embellish.”[8] According to British journalist Luke Harding, Steele’s sources were not new: “They’re not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.”[38] Howard Blum said that Steele leaned on sources “whose loyalty and information he had bought and paid for over the years”.[39]

According to Fusion GPS’s co-owners, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, they did not tell Steele who their ultimate clients were, only that Steele was “working for a law firm”,[8] and they “gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: ‘Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?'”[9] Mayer reported that when the Clinton campaign “indirectly employed” Steele, Elias created a “legal barrier” by acting “as a firewall” between the campaign and Steele. Thus, any details were “protected by attorney-client privilege. Fusion briefed only Elias on the reports. Simpson sent Elias nothing on paper—he was briefed orally.”[8] Only several months after signing the contract with Fusion GPS did Steele learn that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were the ultimate clients.[8] The firewall was reportedly so effective that even campaign principals John Podesta and Robby Mook did not know that Steele was on the Democratic payroll until Mother Jones reported on the issue on October 31, 2016.[8]

Steele delivered his reports individually as one- to three-page memos.[2] The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS. The names of the sources were redacted, “providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility.”[8]

Luke Harding wrote:

“At first, obtaining intelligence from Moscow went well. For around six months – during the first half of the year – Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease. It got harder from late July, as Trump’s ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Finally, the lights went out. Amid a Kremlin cover-up, the sources went silent and information channels shut down.”[40]

Steele has stated that he soon found “troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government.” According to his sources, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”[41] According to Harding, “Steele was shocked by the extent of collusion his sources were reporting,” and told his friends: “For anyone who reads it, this is a life-changing experience.”[35] Steele felt that what he had unearthed “was something of huge significance, way above party politics.”[39] American reporter Howard Blum described Steele’s rationale for becoming a whistleblower: “The greater good trumps all other concerns.”[39]

On his own initiative, Steele decided to also pass the information to British and American intelligence services because he believed the findings were a matter of national security for both countries.[42][43] According to Simpson’s testimony, Steele approached the FBIbecause he was concerned that Trump, then a candidate, was being blackmailed by Russia,[44] and he became “very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat”.[42] When Steele showed his findings to FBI agents in Rome in early July, their reaction was “shock and horror”.[44][45] Jane Mayer reports that the FBI agents “asked Steele about Papadopoulos, and he said that he hadn’t heard anything about him.”[8]

Steele enjoyed a good working reputation “for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[13] Knowing this, in October 2016, a few weeks before the election, the FBI agreed to pay him to continue collecting information. However, the subsequent public release of the dossier stopped discussions between Steele and the FBI.[13] Simpson testified that “Steele wasn’t paid by the FBI, but was possibly reimbursed for a trip to Rome to meet with FBI officials.”[28][46]According to Mayer, Steele “did request compensation for travelling to Rome, but he never received any.”[8]

Simpson later revealed that “Steele severed his contacts with [the] FBI before the election following public statements by the FBI that it had found no connection between the Trump campaign and Russia and concerns that [the FBI] was being ‘manipulated for political ends by the Trump people’.”[47] Steele had become frustrated with the FBI, whom he believed failed to investigate his reports, choosing instead to focus on the investigation into Clinton’s emails. According to The Independent, Steele came to believe that there was a “cabal” inside the FBI, particularly its New York field office linked to Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, because it blocked any attempts to investigate the links between Trump and Russia.[43]

Hints of existence

Jane Mayer has described how, in “late summer, Fusion set up a series of meetings, at the Tabard Inn, in Washington, between Steele and a handful of national-security reporters…. Despite Steele’s generally cool manner, he seemed distraught about the Russians’ role in the election.” Mayer attended one of the meetings. No news organizations ran any stories about the allegations at that time.[8]

Mother Jones story

By the third quarter of 2016, many news organizations knew about the existence of the dossier, which had been described as an “open secret” among journalists. However, they chose not to publish information that could not be confirmed.[2][48]

By October 2016, Steele had compiled 33 pages (16 memos), and he then passed on what he had discovered to David Corn, a reporter from Mother Jones magazine. On October 31, 2016, a week before the election, Mother Jones reported that a former intelligence officer, whom they did not name, had produced a report based on Russian sources and turned it over to the FBI.[41] The article disclosed some of the dossier’s allegations:

The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance”. It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals”. It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him”. It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”

— David Corn, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump”, Mother Jones (October 31, 2016)[41]

When the Mother Jones story broke, John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, said he was “stunned by the news that the FBI had launched a full-blown investigation into Trump, especially one that was informed by research underwritten by the Clinton campaign.” Although they knew that Perkins Coie had spent money for opposition research, neither Podesta nor campaign manager Robby Mook knew that Steele was on the Democratic payroll. They both maintain they “didn’t read the dossier until BuzzFeed posted it online. Far from a secret campaign weapon, Steele turned out to be a secret kept from the campaign.”[8]

Post-election events

After Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the Democratic client stopped paying for the investigation, but Steele continued working on the dossier for Fusion GPS.[2] At that time, Simpson “reportedly spent his own money to continue the investigation”.[11] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[2]

On November 18, 2016, U.S. Senator John McCain, who had been informed about the alleged links between the Kremlin and Trump, met with former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Andrew Wood at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. Wood told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump,[49] and also vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[50]

According to Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Steele and David J. Kramer, a longtime McCain aide and former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University, met each other at the Halifax forum and discussed the dossier. Kramer told Steele that McCain wanted to “ask questions about it at the FBI. … All we sort of wanted was for the government to do its job and we were concerned about whether the information that we provided previously had ever, you know, risen to the leadership level of the FBI.” Later, “Kramer followed up with Steele”.[51] Steele had agreed with Fusion GPS to deliver a hard copy of all 16 memos to McCain,[33] which McCain received in early December from Kramer.[2] On December 9, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[49][23][52] Comey later confirmed that counterintelligence investigations were under way into possible links between Trump associates and Moscow.[33]

After delivering his 16 memos, Steele received more information and composed the two-page “December memo”, dated December 13. It mostly contained allegations against Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, which he denied.[53][54] In an April 2017 court filing, Steele revealed previously unreported information that he had given a copy of his last memo to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”, because it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK”.[33] Steele also “sent an encrypted version to Fusion with instructions to deliver a hard copy to Senator McCain.”[33]

Publication by BuzzFeed

In early January 2017, President-elect Trump[55] and President Barack Obama were separately briefed about the Russian interference in the election and on the existence of the dossier by the chiefs of several U.S. intelligence agencies. Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed that he and the president received briefings on the dossier and the allegations within.[56][57][58]

After the meeting with Obama, Trump was informed of the Russian election interference by Comey and Clapper on January 6, 2017, at a meeting in Trump Tower. After this meeting, Comey stayed behind and spoke privately with Trump, informing him of the dossier and some of its allegations.[59] Trump later expressed that he felt that James Comey was trying to blackmail him at the meeting in Trump Tower, held two weeks before the inauguration.[55] In April 2018, Comey said he did not inform Trump that the dossier was partly funded by Democrats because that “wasn’t necessary for my goal, which was to alert him that we had this information”.[60][61]

On January 10, 2017, CNN reported that classified documents presented to Obama and Trump the previous week included allegations that Russian operatives possess “compromising personal and financial information” about Trump. CNN stated that it would not publish specific details on the memos because it had not “independently corroborated the specific allegations”.[62][63] Following the CNN report,[64] BuzzFeed published a 35-page dossier that it said was the basis of the briefing, including unverified claims that Russian operatives had collected “embarrassing material” involving Trump that could be used to blackmail him.[65][66][67]

BuzzFeed was harshly criticized for publishing what Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan called “scurrilous allegations dressed up as an intelligence report meant to damage Donald Trump”,[68] while The New York Times noted that the publication sparked a debate centering on the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources.[69] BuzzFeed’s executive staff said the materials were newsworthy because they were “in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media” and argued that this justified public release.[70]

In relation to a defamation lawsuit filed by Aleksej Gubarev against BuzzFeed, regarding their publication of the dossier, Senior Master Barbara Fontaine stated that Steele was “in many respects in the same position as a whistle-blower” because of his actions “in sending part of the dossier to Senator John McCain and a senior government national security official, and in briefing sections of the US media”. She said that “it was not known who provided the dossier to BuzzFeed but Mr Steele’s evidence was that he was ‘horrified and remains horrified’ that it was published at all, let alone without substantial redactions.”[71] Both Simpson and Steele have denied providing the dossier to BuzzFeed.[72]


When BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier in January 2017, the individual memos were one- to three-pages long and page numbers 1-35 had been handwritten at the bottom. All but one had a typed date at the bottom. Each of the first 16 reports was assigned a typed number in the heading between 80 and 135, but the numeric order didn’t always match the chronological order. The 17th memo, known as the “December memo”, was numbered 166.[73]

Each memo started with a page heading in the same style as the first one shown here:




When CNN reported the existence of the dossier on January 10, 2017,[62][74] it did not name the author of the dossier, but revealed that he was British. Steele concluded that his anonymity had been “fatally compromised”, and, realizing it was “only a matter of time until his name became public knowledge”, fled into hiding with his family, in fear of “a prompt and potentially dangerous backlash against him from Moscow”.[75][76] The Wall Street Journal revealed Steele’s name the next day, on January 11.[77] Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, for whom Steele worked at the time the dossier was authored, and its director Christopher Burrows, a counterterrorism specialist,[25] would not confirm or deny that Orbis had produced the dossier.[74][2] On March 7, 2017, as some members of the U.S. Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today.”[78]

Called by the media a “highly regarded Kremlin expert” and “one of MI6’s greatest Russia specialists”, Steele formerly worked for the British intelligence agency MI6, heading its Russia Desk for three years at the end of his MI6 career. He entered MI6 in 1987, directly after his graduation from Cambridge University.[79] He currently works for Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, a private intelligence company he co-founded in London.[80][81]

Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow, has vouched for Steele’s reputation.[43] He views Steele as a “very competent professional operator … I take the report seriously. I don’t think it’s totally implausible.” He also stated that “the report’s key allegation—that Trump and Russia’s leadership were communicating via secret back channels during the presidential campaign—was eminently plausible”.[82] FBI investigators reportedly treat Steele “as a peer”, whose experience as a trusted Russia expert has included assisting the Justice Department, British prime ministers, and at least one U.S. president.[83]


President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at HelsinkiFinland on July 16, 2018

Michael Cohen (2011)

Carter Page (2017)

The dossier contains multiple allegations, some of which have been publicly verified while many others remain publicly unverified but not disproven. In some cases, public verification is hindered because information is classified.[20] According to Adam Schiff, a major portion of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”.[84] Trump and Putin have repeatedly denied the allegations, with Trump labeling the dossier as “discredited”, “debunked”, “fictitious”, and “fake news”.[85][86]

Cultivation, conspiracy, and cooperation

  • That “Russian authorities” had cultivated Trump “for at least 5 years”, and that the operation was “supported and directed” by Putin.[40][87] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That Putin aimed to spread “discord and disunity” within the United States and between Western allies, whom he saw as a threat to Russia’s interests.[42][88] (Dossier, pp. 1–2)
  • That Trump was a “divisive” and “anti-Establishment” candidate, as well as “a pragmatist with whom they could do business”. That Trump would remain a divisive force even if not elected.[89][90] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That a major goal of the Russians in supporting Trump was “to upset the liberal international status quo, including on Ukraine-related sanctions, which was seriously disadvantaging the country.[89][90] (Dossier, pp. 28–29)
  • That the Russian government’s support for Trump was originally conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and was eventually directly handled by the Russian presidency because of its “growing significance over time.”[89][3] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That Trump had “so far declined various sweetener real estate business deals”, but had “accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin,” notably on his political rivals.[23][91] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That there was “a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership,” with information willingly exchanged in both directions. That this co-operation was “sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US.” That the Trump campaign used “moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia.”[92][93] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Trump associates had established “an intelligence exchange [with the Kremlin] for at least 8 years.” That Trump and his team had delivered “intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families”, as requested by Putin.[89][94][90] (Dossier, p. 11)
  • That the Trump camp became angry and resentful toward Putin when they realized he was not only aiming to weaken Clinton and bolster Trump, but was attempting to “undermine the US government and democratic system more generally.”[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Key roles of Manafort, Cohen, and Page

  • That then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had “managed” the “conspiracy of co-operation”, and that he used Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and others, “as intermediaries”.[95][96] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Page had “conceived and promoted” the idea of leaking the stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[97][88] (Dossier, pp. 7, 17)
  • That Cohen played a “key role” in the Trump–Russia relationship[3] by maintaining a “covert relationship with Russia”,[98][99][100] arranging cover-ups and “deniable cash payments”,[53][33] and that his role had grown after Manafort had left the campaign.[101][97] (Dossier, pp. 18, 30, 32, 34–35)
  • That “COHEN now was heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of TRUMP’s relationship with Russia being exposed.”[97][90] (Dossier, p. 32)

Kremlin pro-Trump and anti-Clinton

  • That Putin feared and hated Hillary Clinton.[95][102] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That there was a “Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON”.[92][93] (Dossier, pp. 7, 13)
  • That Putin’s interference operation had an “objective of weakening CLINTON and bolstering TRUMP”.[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Kompromat and blackmail: Trump

  • That Trump “hated” Obama so much that when he stayed in the Presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[8][103] he employed “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him”[87][65] in order to defile the bed used by the Obamas on an earlier visit. The alleged incident from 2013 was reportedly filmed and recorded by the FSB[104] as kompromat.[105][106][107] (Dossier, p. 2)
  • That Trump was susceptible to blackmail[39][89] due to paying bribes and the existence of “embarrassing material” due to engagement in “perverted sexual acts” and “unorthodox behavior” in Russia.[108][65][104] (Dossier, pp. 1–2, 8, 11, 27)
  • That the Kremlin had assured Trump they would not use kompromat collected against him, “given high levels of voluntary co-operation forthcoming from his team.”[89][109] (Dossier, pp. 11–12)
  • That Trump had explored the real estate sectors in St Petersburg and Moscow, “but in the end TRUMP had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”.[106][105] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That Trump has pursued real estate deals in St Petersburg, and “paid bribes there to further his interests”. That witnesses to his “sex parties in the city” had been “‘silenced’ i.e. bribed or coerced to disappear.”[106][105] (Dossier, p. 27)
  • That Trump associates did not fear “the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference”, because it distracted attention from his “business dealings in China and other emerging markets”, which involved “large bribes and kickbacks” that could be devastating if revealed.[110][38] (Dossier, p. 8)

Kompromat: Clinton

Dmitry Peskov (2017)

  • That Putin ordered the maintenance of a secret dossier on Hillary Clinton, with content dating back to the time of her husband’s presidency. The dossier comprised eavesdropped conversations, either from bugging devices or from phone intercepts; it did not contain “details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior”, but focused more on “things she had said which contradicted her current positions on various issues”.[89][41] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)
  • That the Clinton dossier had been collated by the FSB[89][41] and was managed by Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.[104][42] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)

DNC email hack, leaks, and misinformation

  • That Russia was responsible for the DNC email hacks[89][111] and the recent appearance of the stolen DNC e-mails on WikiLeaks,[89][112] and that the reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability“.[113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That “the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.”[3][113] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That after the emails had been forwarded to WikiLeaks, it was decided to not leak more, but to engage in misinformation: “Rather the tactics would be to spread rumours and misinformation about the content of what already had been leaked and make up new content.”[96] (Dossier, p. 15)
  • That Page had intended the email leaks “to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP.”[97][102] (Dossier, p. 17)
  • That the hacking of the DNC servers was performed by Romanian hackers ultimately controlled by Putin and paid by both Trump and Putin.[53][33] (Dossier, pp. 34–35)
  • That Cohen, together with three colleagues, secretly met with Kremlin officials in the Prague offices of Rossotrudnichestvo in August 2016,[114][89][54][115] where he arranged “deniable cash payments” to the hackers and sought “to cover up all traces of the hacking operation”,[53][33] as well as “cover up ties between Trump and Russia, including Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine”.[3] (Dossier, pp. 18, 34–35)

Kickbacks and quid pro quo agreements

Igor Sechin (2016)

  • That Viktor Yanukovych, the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, had told Putin that he had been making supposedly untraceable[3] kickback payments to Manafort while he was Trump’s campaign manager.[113] (Dossier, p. 20)
  • That in return for Russia’s leaking the stolen documents to WikiLeaks, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95][113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That Page had secretly met Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin in Moscow on “either 7 or 8 July”,[92] together with a “senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN.” That Sechin “offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft” (worth about $11 billion) in exchange for Trump lifting the sanctions against Russia after his election.[116][90][89][117][118] (Dossier, pp. 9, 30–32)

Russian spy withdrawn

  • That Russia had hastily withdrawn from Washington their diplomat Mikhail Kalugin (misspelled as “Kulagin”), whose prominent role in the interference operation should remain hidden.[94][119][120] (Dossier, p. 23)

Cultivation of various U.S. political figures

Possible earlier interest in Trump

Although the dossier alleged in June 2016 that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for “at least five years”, Luke Harding wrote that the Soviet Union had been interested in him since 1987. In his book Collusion, Harding asserts that the “top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB.” Then-KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov “wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans.” Harding proceeds to describe the KGB’s cultivation process, and posits that they may have opened a file on Trump as early as 1977, when he married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková; the Soviet spies may have closely observed and analyzed the couple from that time on.[122][123]

Denials of specific claims

Michael Cohen

The dossier alleges that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Russian officials in Prague in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to “cover up all traces of the hacking operation”. Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[33][53][54] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September[115] and that “I have never been to Prague in my life”.[124] According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist.[125][126] McClatchy reported that “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany”,[114]which was confirmed by The Spectator citing an intelligence source in London.[127] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them “I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago,” contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[103]

Paul Manafort

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[96]

Carter Page

Page originally denied meeting any Russian officials, but his later testimony, acknowledging that he had met with senior Russian officials at Rosneft, has been interpreted as corroboration of portions of the dossier.[128][129][130]

Donald Trump

Trump has denied the “golden showers” allegation by claiming he is a “germaphobe”,[131] and then, as an alibi, that he did not stay overnight in Moscow.[132] In April 2018, James Comey said he did not know whether Trump “was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013”, adding “It’s possible, but I don’t know”.[60][61] In a June 21, 2018, debate, Comey, when asked if he believed “all the salacious” stories in the dossier, replied: “When I first saw it I didn’t believe it at all… [now] I think it’s possible that it’s true.” He said he changed his view after his encounters with President Trump.[133] Comey has stated that at the time he was fired, the allegations had not been verified.[134]

Twice Trump provided identical and disproven alibis to James Comey. He claimed he did not overnight in Moscow, but according to flight records, Keith Schiller‘s testimony, and Aras Agalarov, he did spend Friday night, Nov. 8, in Moscow, and attended the Miss Universe pageant the next night.[135] Trump not only spent a full night in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[136] according to Trump’s close acquaintance, Aras Agalarov,[137] he actually stayed in the Presidential suite, where the “golden showers” incident is alleged to have occurred.[8]

Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller “privately testified that he rejected an offer by a Russian individual to send five women to Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow,” stating that “he took the offer as a joke … and Trump laughed it off.” After accompanying Trump to his room, Schiller stayed outside the door for a few minutes and then left,[138] and according to one source “could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.”[139] Thomas Roberts, the host of the Miss Universe contest, has confirmed that “Trump was in Moscow for one full night and at least part of another.” (November 8–10).[140]


Steele and the dossier have become “the central point of contention in the political brawl raging around”[83] the Special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Those who believe Steele consider him a hero who tried to warn about the Kremlin’s meddling in the election, and people who distrust him consider him a “hired gun” used to attack Trump.[83] With the passage of time and further revelations from various investigations and sources, it is becoming clearer that the overall thrust of the dossier was accurate, but some details appear to be merely disinformation:[72]

Some of the dossier’s broad threads have now been independently corroborated. U.S. intelligence agencies and the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference did eventually find that Kremlin-linked operatives ran an elaborate operation to promote Trump and hurt Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, as the dossier says in its main narrative.”

— Jeff Donn, “Some Questions in Trump-Russia Dossier Now Finding Answers”, Associated Press (June 29, 2018)[72]

Reputation in the U.S. intelligence community

On January 11, 2017, Paul Wood, of BBC News, wrote that the salacious information in Steele’s dossier was also reported by “multiple intelligence sources” and “at least one East European intelligence service”. They reported that “compromising material on Mr. Trump” included “more than one tape, not just video, but audio as well, on more than one date, in more than one place, in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.” While also mentioning that “nobody should believe something just because an intelligence agent says it”,[141][77] Wood added that “the CIA believes it is credible that the Kremlin has such kompromat—or compromising material—on the next US commander in chief” and “a joint taskforce, which includes the CIA and the FBI, has been investigating allegations that the Russians may have sent money to Mr Trump’s organisation or his election campaign”.[142][143][141]

On January 12, 2017, Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency lawyer now with the Brookings Institution, stated: “My general take is that the intelligence community and law enforcement seem to be taking these claims seriously. That itself is highly significant. But it is not the same as these allegations being verified. Even if this was an intelligence community document—which it isn’t—this kind of raw intelligence is still treated with skepticism.”[15][16] Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes wrote that “the current state of the evidence makes a powerful argument for a serious public inquiry into this matter”.[16]

On February 10, 2017, CNN reported that some communications between “senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals” described in the dossier had been corroborated by multiple U.S. officials. They “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier”. Sources told CNN that some conversations had been “intercepted during routine intelligence gathering”, but refused to reveal the content of conversations, or specify which communications were intercepted “due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs”. CNN was unable to confirm whether conversations were related to Trump. U.S. officials said the corroboration gave “US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents”. They also reported that American intelligence agencies had examined Steele and his “vast network throughout Europe and found him and his sources to be credible.”[21]

On March 30, 2017, Paul Wood reported that the FBI was using the dossier as a roadmap for its investigation.[144] On April 18, 2017, CNN reported that, according to U.S. officials, information from the dossier had been used as part of the basis for getting the FISAwarrant to monitor Page in October 2016. Officials told CNN this information would have had to be independently corroborated by the FBI before being used to obtain the warrant.[12][145]

British journalist Julian Borger wrote on October 7, 2017, that “Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators”, at least Steele’s assessment that Russia had conducted a campaign to interfere in the 2016 election to Clinton’s detriment; that part of the Steele dossier “has generally gained in credibility, rather than lost it”.[96]

On October 11, 2017, it was reported that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DRhode Island), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), had stated: “As I understand it, a good deal of his information remains unproven, but none of it has been disproven, and considerable amounts of it have been proven.”[146]

On October 27, 2017, Robert S. Litt, a former lawyer for the Director of National Intelligence, was quoted as stating that the dossier “played absolutely no role” in the intelligence community’s determination that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[147]

On November 15, 2017, Adam Schiff stated that much of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”, something later affirmed by the January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the ODNI.[84]

On December 7, 2017, commentator Jonathan Chait wrote that as “time goes by, more and more of the claims first reported by Steele have been borne out”, with the mainstream media “treat[ing] “[the dossier] as gossip” whereas the intelligence community “take it seriously”.[14]

On January 29, 2018, Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “little of that dossier has either been fully proven or conversely, disproven”.[148][149]

John Sipher, who served 28 years as a clandestine CIA agent, including heading the agency’s Russia program, said investigating the dossier allegations requires access to non-public records. He said “[p]eople who say it’s all garbage, or all true, are being politically biased”, adding he believes that while the dossier may not be correct in every detail, it is “generally credible” and “In the intelligence business, you don’t pretend you’re a hundred per cent accurate. If you’re seventy or eighty per cent accurate, that makes you one of the best.” He said the Mueller investigation would ultimately judge its merits.[8] Sipher has written that “Many of my former CIA colleagues have taken the [dossier] reports seriously since they were first published.”[101]

During his April 15, 2018, ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, former FBI Director James Comey described Steele as a “credible source”: “It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career, and so it was important that we try to understand it, and see what could we verify, what could we rule in or rule out.”[150]

In May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Varied reactions about veracity

Steele, the author of the dossier, said he believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate.[35][25] In testimony to Congress, Simpson quoted “Steele as saying that any intelligence, especially from Russia, is bound to carry intentional disinformation, but that Steele believes his dossier is ‘largely not disinformation’.”[72] Regarding the sex claims, Michael Isikoff and David Corn have stated that Steele’s “faith in the sensational sex claim would fade over time…. As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s 50-50’.”[25] James Comey has stated that, after his meetings with Trump, he thinks the salacious claims are possibly true.[133]

Other observers and experts have had varying reactions to the dossier. Generally, “former intelligence officers and other national-security experts” urged “skepticism and caution” but still took “the fact that the nation’s top intelligence officials chose to present a summary version of the dossier to both President Obama and President-elect Trump” as an indication “that they may have had a relatively high degree of confidence that at least some of the claims therein were credible, or at least worth investigating further”.[15]

Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that, while he and Obama were receiving a briefing on the extent of election hacking attempts, there was a two-page addendum which addressed the contents of the Steele dossier.[56] Top intelligence officials told them they “felt obligated to inform them about uncorroborated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump out of concern the information would become public and catch them off-guard”.[151]

On January 11, 2017, Newsweek published a list of “13 things that don’t add up” in the dossier, writing that it was a “strange mix of the amateur and the insightful” and stating that it “contains lots of Kremlin-related gossip that could indeed be, as the author claims, from deep insiders—or equally gleaned” from Russian newspapers and blogs.[152] Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton stated that certain aspects of the dossier were inconsistent with British intelligence’s understanding of how the Kremlin works, commenting: “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in [the dossier] which look pretty shaky.”[153]

In his June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, former FBI director James Comey called “some personally sensitive aspects” of the dossier “salacious and unverified,” but he did not state that the entire dossier was unverified or that the salacious aspects were false. When Senator Richard Burr asked if any of the allegations in the dossier had been confirmed, Comey said he could not answer that question in a public setting.[154][20]

Trump and his supporters have challenged the veracity of the dossier because it was funded in part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, while Democrats assert the funding source is irrelevant.[155]

Veracity of certain allegations

Russian assistance to the Trump campaign

January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership favored the Trump candidacy over Clinton’s, and that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process,” as well as ordering cyber attacks on “both major U.S. political parties”.[156]

Newsweek stated that “the dossier’s main finding, that Russia tried to prop up Trump over Clinton, was confirmed by” this assessment.[87] ABC News stated that “some of the dossier’s broad implications—particularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad—now ring true.”[42] Referring to the ODNI assessment, former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified….Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.”[157]

In The New Yorker, Jane Mayer has stated that the allegation that Trump was favored by the Kremlin, and that they offered Trump’s campaign dirt on Clinton, has proven true.[8]

In March 2016, George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, learned that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails. This occurred before the hacking of the DNC computers had become public knowledge.[158][159]Papadopoulos sent emails about Putin to at least seven Trump campaign officials. Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis[160] encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia and meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who reportedly wanted to share “Clinton dirt” with the Trump campaign.[161][162] When Donald Trump Jr. learned of the offer, he welcomed it by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8] Later, on June 9, 2016, a meeting in Trump Tower was held, ostensibly for representatives from Russia to deliver that dirt on Clinton.[163][164]

At the July 2018 summit meeting, Putin was asked if he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. He responded “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”[165]

Republican position on Russian conflict with Ukraine

The dossier alleges that “the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine”.[166] Harding considers this allegation to have been confirmed by the actions of the Trump campaign: “This is precisely what happened at the Republican National Convention last July, when language on the US’s commitment to Ukraine was mysteriously softened.”[53] In July 2016, the Republican National Convention made changes to the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine: initially the platform proposed providing “lethal weapons” to Ukraine, but the line was changed to “appropriate assistance”. NPR reported, “Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.”[167] J. D. Gordon, who was one of Trump’s national security advisers during the campaign, said that he had advocated for changing language because that reflected what Trump had said.[121][168] The Trump campaign does not appear to have intervened in any other platform deliberations aside from the language on Ukraine.[169]

In an interview on This Week, Trump told George Stephanopoulos that people in his campaign were responsible for changing the GOP’s platform stance on Ukraine, but that he was not personally involved.[170]

Trump had formerly taken a hard line on Ukraine. He initially denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a “land grab” that “should never have happened”, and called for a firmer U.S. response, saying “We should definitely be strong. We should definitely do sanctions.” But after hiring Manafort his approach changed; he said he might recognize Crimea as Russian territory and might lift the sanctions against Russia.[171]

Relations with Europe and NATO

Vladimir Putin (2017)

The dossier alleges that as part of a quid pro quo agreement, “the TRUMP team had agreed… to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95] Aiko Stevenson, writing in The Huffington Post, noted that some of Trump’s actions seem to align with “Putin’s wish list”, which “includes lifting sanctions on Russia, turning a blind eye towards its aggressive efforts in the Ukraine, and creating a divisive rift amongst western allies.”[172] During the campaign Trump “called Nato, the centrepiece of Transatlantic security ‘obsolete’, championed the disintegration of the EU, and said that he is open to lifting sanctions on Moscow.”[172] Harding adds that Trump repeatedly “questioned whether US allies were paying enough into Nato coffers.”[53] Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek, described how “Trump’s repeated attacks on NATO have…frustrated…allies …[and] raised questions as to whether the president has been duped into facilitating Putin’s long-range objective of undermining the European Union.”[173] Trump’s appearances at meetings with allies, including NATO and G7, have frequently been antagonistic; according to the Los Angeles Times, “The president’s posture toward close allies has been increasingly and remarkably confrontational this year, especially in comparison to his more conciliatory approach to adversaries, including Russia and North Korea.”[174]

Lifting of sanctions

The dossier says that Page, claiming to speak with Trump’s authority, had confirmed that Trump would lift the existing sanctions against Russia if he were elected president.[89] On December 29, 2016, during the transition period between the election and the inauguration, National Security Advisor designate Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, urging him not to retaliate for newly imposed sanctions; the Russians took his advice and did not retaliate.[175]Within days after the inauguration, new Trump administration officials ordered State Department staffers to develop proposals for immediately revoking the economic and other sanctions.[176] One retired diplomat later said, “What was troubling about these stories is that suddenly I was hearing that we were preparing to rescind sanctions in exchange for, well, nothing.”[177] The staffers alerted Congressional allies who took steps to codify the sanctions into law. The attempt to overturn the sanctions was abandoned after Flynn’s conversation was revealed and Flynn resigned.[176][104] In August 2017, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to impose new sanctions on Russia. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but then refused to implement it.[178]

Spy withdrawn from Russian embassy

The dossier alleges that a “Russian diplomat Mikhail KULAGIN [sic]” participated in US election meddling, and was recalled to Moscow because Kremlin was concerned that his role in the meddling would be exposed. The BBC later reported that US officials in 2016 had identified Russian diplomat Mikhail Kalugin as a spy and that he was under surveillance, thus “verifying” a key claim in the dossier.[94] Kalugin was the head of the economics section at the Russian embassy. He returned to Russia in August 2016.[96] McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Kalugin played a role in the election interference. Kalugin has denied the allegations.[96][179]

Page meeting with Rosneft officials

Jane Mayer said that this part of the dossier seems true, even if the name of an official may have been wrong. Page’s congressional testimony confirmed he held secret meetings with top Moscow and Rosneft officials, including talks about a payoff: “When Page was asked if a Rosneft executive had offered him a ‘potential sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft,’ Page said, ‘He may have briefly mentioned it’.”[8]

On November 2, 2017, Page appeared before the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. In July 2016, Page made a five-day trip to Moscow,[180] but, according to his testimony, before leaving he informed Jeff SessionsJ. D. GordonHope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, of the planned trip to Russia, and Lewandowski approved the trip, responding: “If you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine.”[118][128] In his testimony, Page admitted he met with high ranking Kremlin officials. Previously, Page had denied meeting any Russian officials during the July trip. His comments appeared to corroborate portions of the dossier.[129][130] Newsweek has listed the claim about Page meeting with Rosneft officials as “verified”.[181]

Investigations using or referencing the dossier

The FBI’s Russia investigation

In late July 2016, “the CIA had set up a special group with the NSA and FBI… to investigate the extent of Russian intervention in the presidential election.” Former CIA director John Brennan then “ensured that all information about links between the Trump campaign and people working for or on behalf of Russian intelligence went to the FBI.”[182] These links between Trump associates and Russian officials were numerous. Politico keeps a very detailed running tally of the persons, and, as of April 25, 2018, they listed “73 associated with [Trump’s] 2016 campaign”.[183] Julian Borger reported that in Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee, he made it clear “that he was alarmed by the extent of contacts between the Trump team and Moscow,” and that this justified the FBI inquiry:[182]

Brennan stressed repeatedly that collusion may have been unwitting, at least at first as Russian intelligence was deft at disguising its approaches to would-be agents. “Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they’re on that path until it gets to be too late,” he said.[182]

The investigation was also spurred by comments made by Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.[159][184] While Trump and some Republicans have claimed that the dossier was behind the beginning of the FBI investigation into his campaign’s potential conspiracy with Russia, in December 2017, former and current intelligence officials revealed that the actual impetus was a series of comments made in May 2016 by Papadopoulos to Alexander Downer, a top Australian diplomat, during a night of “heavy drinking at an upscale London bar”.[184][159] John Sipher reported that Papadopoulos bragged “that the Trump campaign was aware the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton”[4] in the form of “thousands of emails” stolen from Clinton which could be used to damage her campaign. Papadopoulos had learned this about three weeks earlier. Two months later, when WikiLeaks started releasing DNC emails, Australian officials alerted the Americans about Papadopoulos’ remarks.[184][159]Over a year later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27, 2017,[185] and in October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation.[184][185]

Other factors also played into the FBI’s decision to investigate Russian interference and the Trump campaign: intelligence from friendly governments, especially the British and Dutch, and information about Page’s Moscow trip. Steele’s first report was sent to Fusion GPS, dated June 20, 2016, and FBI agents first interviewed Steele in October 2016.[159] The New York Times reported on February 14, 2017 that the FBI had made contact with some of Steele’s sources.[186] CNN later reported that the FBI had used the dossier to bolster its existing investigations.[33][12]

In a January 2, 2018, CNN panel discussion, Elizabeth Foley, a Florida International University law professor, falsely alleged that the FISA warrant for Page was “all based on a dossier”, adding “That’s what Jim Comey has suggested.” She also cited reports from CNN and The New York TimesPolitiFact concluded that her claim about Comey was unsubstantiated, and according to CNN, the dossier was only “part of the justification”, and that The New York Times report did not mention the dossier. PolitiFact rated her claim “Mostly False”.[187]

Special counsel investigation

According to Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), the dossier’s allegations are being investigated by a Special Counsel led by Robert Mueller, which, since May 2017, has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[188] In the summer of 2017, Mueller’s team of investigators met with Steele.[189] As some leads stemming from the dossier have already been followed and confirmed by the FBI, legal experts have stated that Special Counsel investigators, headed by Robert Mueller, are obligated to follow any leads the dossier has presented them with, irrespective of what parties financed it in its various stages of development, or “[t]hey would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t.”[188][190]

Subject of the Nunes memo

On February 2, 2018, the Nunes memo, a four-page memorandum written for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes by his staff, was released to the public. Referring to the dossier, the memo states that the FBI “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in October 2016 and in three subsequent renewals on Carter Page in the early phases of the FBI’s interference investigation.[191] Republican legislators argued that the memo presents evidence that a group of politically-biased FBI employees abused the FISA warrant process for the purpose of undermining the Trump presidency.[192] The Nunes memo stated that there was excessive and improper dependence on the Trump–Russia dossier.

On February 3, 2018, Trump praised the Nunes memo and tweeted:

Donald J. Trump via Twitter

This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

3 Feb 2018[193]

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) disagreed, stating on February 4 on CBS’s Face the Nation: “I actually don’t think [the memo] has any impact on the Russia probe.” He went on to say:

“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” Gowdy said. “So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”[28]

Gowdy was dissatisfied with the process of seeking the warrant: “I say investigate everything Russia did but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen.” When questioned, he said that the FISA warrant on Carter Page would not have been authorized without the dossier.[194]

Jane Mayer has quoted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “To impeach Steele’s dossier is to impeach Mueller’s investigation… It’s to recast the focus back on Hillary”, with the Republicans’ aim to “create a false narrative saying this is all a political witch hunt.” Mayer tied his view directly to Devin Nunes‘ production of “a report purporting to show that the real conspiracy revolved around Hillary Clinton,” falsely alleging that Clinton “colluded with the Russians…”, a claim debunked by Glenn Kessler.[8] Kessler, a fact checker for The Washington Post, analyzed a false accusation made by Nunes in a February 7, 2018, interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show: “The truth is that they [Democrats] are covering up that Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians to get dirt on Trump to feed it to the FBI to open up an investigation into the other campaign.” Kessler’s “Pinocchio Test” rating was: “[T]here is no evidence that Clinton was involved in Steele’s reports or worked with Russian entities to feed information to Steele. That’s where Nunes’s claim goes off the rails—and why he earns Four Pinocchios.”[195] “Four Pinocchios” equals a “Whopper”.[196]

The Nunes memo falsely asserted that “Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—’salacious and unverified.'” Factcheckers noted that Comey actually testified that “some personally sensitive aspects of the information” were “salacious and unverified,” rather than the entire dossier.[197][198]

The Nunes memo asserted that Andrew McCabe testified to the House Intelligence Committee that “no surveillance warrant [of Carter Page] would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information,” but because McCabe testified in classified session, no transcript has yet been released to verify this assertion. In a CNN interview, McCabe asserted “that House Republicans twisted his answers”:

“We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information…. Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not.”[199]

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Committee, also stated that McCabe’s testimony was mischaracterized.[200]

Contrary to assertions by Trump and his supporters that the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections was triggered by the dossier,[201] the Nunes memo confirmed the investigation began with a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding a conversation he had with Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in a London bar in May 2016.[159][202] The FBI opened its investigation in late July 2016, and The Washington Post noted that this timing is “significant, given the FBI did not seek authorization to conduct surveillance on Page until three months later, on Oct. 21, 2016.” The Democrats asserted that the Nunes memo “shows the Russia investigation would be underway with or without the surveillance of Page, and—more critically—even if the government had never seen the dossier of information about Trump that was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.”[203]

Amid assertions in the Nunes memo and from others that the dossier’s use in the Carter Page FISA warrant request was improper—countered by Democrats’ assertions that there was nothing improper—on April 6, 2018 the Justice Department made the FISA application available for all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to review.[204]

On July 21, 2018, the Justice Department released heavily-redacted versions of four FISA warrant applications for Carter Page which showed that key assertions made in the Nunes memo were false or misleading, corroborating the rebuttal made by Democrats.[205][206]


November 14, 2017 – House Intelligence Committee transcript of Glenn Simpson

August 22, 2017 Fusion GPS testimony transcript of Glenn Simpson

Individual responses

Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned the dossier, including in this tweet, in which he quotes from Fox & Friends:[19]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter

WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

26 Dec 2017[207]

As late as July 29, 2018, Trump continued to falsely insist that the FBI investigation of Russian interference was initiated because of the dossier, and three days later White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the false assertion. Fox News host Shepard Smith said of Trump’s assertion: “In the main and in its parts, that statement is patently false.”[208]

Trump has called the dossier “fake news” and criticized the intelligence and media sources that published it.[209] During a press conference on January 11, 2017, Trump denounced the dossier’s claims as false, saying that it was “disgraceful” for U.S. intelligence agencies to report them. Trump refused to answer a question from CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on the subject. In response, CNN said that it had published “carefully sourced reporting” on the matter which had been “matched by the other major news organizations”, as opposed to BuzzFeed‘s posting of “unsubstantiated materials”.[210][64]

James Clapper described the leaks as damaging to U.S. national security.[211] This contradicted Trump’s previous claim that Clapper had said the information was false; Clapper’s statement actually said the intelligence community had made no judgment on the truth of the information.[212]

As Putin’s press secretary, Peskov insisted in an interview that the dossier is a fraud, saying “I can assure you that the allegations in this funny paper, in this so-called report, they are untrue. They are all fake.”[213] Putin called the people who leaked the dossier “worse than prostitutes”[214] and referred to the dossier itself as “rubbish”.[215] Putin went on to state he believed that the dossier was “clearly fake”,[216] fabricated as a plot against the legitimacy of President-elect Trump.[217]

Some of Steele’s former colleagues expressed support for his character, saying “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false—completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”[17]

Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document”, while Carl Bernstein took the opposite view, noting that the senior-most U.S. intelligence officials had determined that the content was worth reporting to the president and the president-elect.[218] Julian Borger has described the dossier as “one of the most explosive documents in modern political history…”[96] Ben Smith, editor of BuzzFeed, wrote: “The dossier is a document…of obvious central public importance. It’s the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. That was clear a year ago. It’s a lot clearer now.”[219]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported on January 12, 2017 that U.S. intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[220]

On March 2, 2017, media began reporting that the Senate may call Steele to testify about the Trump dossier.[221] On March 27, 2017, SJC Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to initiate an inquiry into Fusion GPS, who initially retained Steele to write the dossier.[222] Fusion GPS was previously associated with pro-Russia lobbying activities due to sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act.[223] On August 22, 2017, Steele met with the FBI and had provided them with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.[224]

Steven L. Hall, former CIA chief of Russia operations, has contrasted Steele’s methods with those of Donald Trump Jr., who sought information from a Russian attorney at a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016: “The distinction: Steele spied against Russia to get info Russia did not want released; Don Jr took a mtg to get info Russians wanted to give.”[225]

Jane Mayer referred to the same meeting and contrasted the difference in reactions to Russian attempts to support Trump: When Trump Jr. was offered “dirt” on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” instead of “going to the F.B.I., as Steele had” done when he learned that Russia was helping Trump, Trump’s son accepted the support by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8]

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further wrote that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[9] Ken Dilanian of NBC News stated that a “source close to Fusion GPS” told him that the FBI had not planted anyone in the Trump camp, but rather that Simpson was referring to Papadopoulos.[226][47]

On January 5, 2018, in the first known Congressional criminal referral resulting from investigations related to the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Grassley made a referral to the Justice Department suggesting that they investigate possible criminal charges against Steele[227][228] for allegedly making false statements to the FBI about the distribution of the dossier’s claims,[229] specifically possible “inconsistencies” in what Steele told authorities and “possibly lying to FBI officials”.[230]Senator Lindsey Graham also signed the letter.[231][232] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only’.”[233] The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as some of the other Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary committee, who reportedly had not been consulted.[231]

On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017 testimony before the SJC.[234] The next day, ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][235]

On January 10, 2018, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to have advance information on the forthcoming release of the Nunes memo and its assertions about the dossier, saying “more shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse.” Hannity asserted that this new information would reveal “a totally phony document full of Russian lies and propaganda that was then used by the Obama administration to surveil members of an opposition party and incoming president,” adding that this was “the real Russia collusion story” that represented a “precipice of one of the largest abuses of power in U.S. American history. And I’m talking about the literal shredding of the U.S. Constitution.”[236]

On January 18, 2018, the HPSCI released the transcript of the Simpson Testimony given on November 14, 2017.[237][238] Democratic committee member Adam Schiff stated that the testimony contains “serious allegations that The Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering with Russian nationals”. Trump Organization’s chief counsel Alan Garten called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and “reckless”, and said that Simpson was mainly referring to properties to which Trump licensed his name. Democratic member Jim Himes said that Simpson “did not provide evidence and I think that’s an important point. He made allegations.”[239]

In April 2018, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) gave The Merriman Smith Memorial Award to CNN reporters Evan Perez, Jim SciuttoJake Tapper and Carl Bernstein. In January 2017, they reported that the intelligence community had briefed Obama and Trump of allegations that Russians claimed to have “compromising personal and financial information” on then-President elect Donald Trump.[62][240] WHCA noted that “[t]hanks to this CNN investigation, ‘the dossier’ is now part of the lexicon”.[241]

Circumstances surrounding the death of Oleg Erovinkin

On December 26, 2016, Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB/FSB general, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key liaison between Sechin and Putin. Steele claimed much of the information came from a source close to Sechin. According to Christo Grozev, a journalist at Risk Management Lab, a think tank based in Bulgaria, the circumstances of Erovinkin’s death were “mysterious”. Grozev suspected Erovinkin helped Steele compile the dossier on Trump and suggests the hypothesis that the death may have been part of a cover-up by the Russian government.[242][243] Experts expressed skepticism about the theory. “As a rule, people like Gen Yerovinkin don’t tend to die in airport thriller murders,” said Mark Galeotti, an expert on the Russian security services.[242]


Against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS

On February 3, 2017, Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court, centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnetsand porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership”.[244][245] In the High Court of Justice, Steele’s lawyers said their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified”.[246] In response to the lawsuit, BuzzFeed hired the business advisory firm FTI Consulting to investigate the dossier’s allegations.[247] BuzzFeed has sued the DNC in an attempt to force the disclosure of information it believes will bolster its defense against libel allegations.[248] Fusion GPS “has claimed that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed.”[249]

In connection with the libel suit against them by Gubarev, on June 30, 2017, BuzzFeed subpoenaed the CIA, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They also sought “testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, as well as former DNI James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan”. They were interested in using the discovery process to get information about the distribution of the dossier, how it had circulated among government officials, and the “existence and scope of the federal government’s investigation into the dossier”. They hoped “the information could bolster BuzzFeed’s claim that publication of the document was protected by the fair report privilege, which can immunize reports based on official government records.”[250] On June 4, 2018, Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed could claim “fair report privilege” for the publication of the dossier and its accompanying article, bolstering BuzzFeed’s defense.[251]

In May 2017, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier,[252][253] which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[254][255] In October 2017, Fridman, Aven, and Khan also filed a libel suit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, for circulating the dossier among journalists and allowing it to be published.[256]

On January 9, 2018, Michael Cohen sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS for defamation over allegations about him in the dossier.[257] On April 19, 2018, ten days after his home, office and hotel room were raided by the FBI as part of a criminal investigation, Cohen filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the suit.[258][259][260]

Against Christopher Steele

In April 2018, Alfa Bank owners Fridman, Aven, and Khan filed a libel suit against Steele,[261] since the dossier alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[254][255] The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C., and since none of the parties to the lawsuit are based in D.C., it is possible the lawsuit may not be able to move forward in that court.[261] Steele’s lawyers have filed two motions to dismiss the case, accusing the three men of intimidation.[262]

See also


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Small business optimism hits second-highest level in 45 years: NFIB

NFIB Small Business Survey: ‘Small Business Optimism Index Nears Survey High In July’



The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for July came in at 107.9, up 0.7 from the previous month and its second highest of all time. The index is at the 100th percentile in this series. Today’s number came in above the forecast of 106.9.

Here is an excerpt from the opening summary of the news release.

The Small Business Optimism Index marked its second highest level in the survey’s 45-year history at 107.9, rising to within 0.1 point of the July 1983 record-high of 108. The July 2018 report also set new records in terms of owners reporting job creation plans and those with job openings. A seasonally-adjusted net 23 percent are planning to create new jobs, up three points from June. Thirty-seven percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, a one-point increase from June.

“Small business owners are leading this economy and expressing optimism rivaling the highest levels in history,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions.”

The first chart below highlights the 1986 baseline level of 100 and includes some labels to help us visualize that dramatic change in small-business sentiment that accompanied the Great Financial Crisis. Compare, for example, the relative resilience of the index during the 2000-2003 collapse of the Tech Bubble with the far weaker readings following the Great Recession that ended in June 2009.

Here is a closer look at the indicator since the turn of the century. We are now at a post-recession high.


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