Of late, a particular document that’s been in the news on and off since January— the so-called “Dirty Dossier” compiled on President Trump by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele for his firm Orbis Business Intelligence.
Among many other spurious and unsubstantiated claims, the Dossier stated that Trump hired prostitutes in Moscow to urinate on a hotel bed once slept in by ex-President Barack Obama. It also stated that Michael Cohen, a personal attorney for Trump, had meetings in Russia and Prague with Russian officials. (Since the Dossier’s release, Cohen has denied he’s been in either place in his life.)
The Dirty Dossier was originally funded by conservative website The Washington Free Beacon, in conjunction with an anonymous Republican donor, to gather previously unknown information on all Republican candidates for president. The Beacon, in turn, hired a research firm called Fusion GPS, and it dug up what it could on Trump and the other Republican candidates who ran against him.
When Trump became the Republican Party nominee for president, this research ended. However, Fusion GPS likely saw an opportunity to continue making money from this project, so in April 2016, it turned to Marc Elias, the attorney for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), both of which paid Elias’ law firm for Fusion GPS’ continued efforts. It’s since been revealed that this law firm, Perkins Coie, received $9 million from the Clinton campaign and from the DNC, but it’s unknown how much of this money went to funding the Dossier.
In June of 2016, the DNC claimed its computers had been broken into by Russian hackers; embarrassing DNC emails were posted by whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Because of the alleged Russian connection, Fusion GPS turned to Orbis Intelligence in England because Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele once headed the Russia desk at English spy agency MI6 — the British agency charged with external espionage, similar to the CIA in America.
Steele soon claimed that he’d uncovered significant connections between Trump and members of the Russian government. As Steele later told liberal magazine Mother Jones, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.'” Steele said it was “an extraordinary situation” that was “sufficiently serious” enough to warrant sharing the information with the FBI in the United States, an act he engaged in while keeping Fusion GPS in the dark about this other recipient of his information (according to Steele).
At some point, the FBI began paying Steele for his reports. From June until December of 2016, Steele shared his information with both Fusion and the FBI. Even after Trump was elected in November, Steele continued compiling more data on the president-elect. The DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign stopped paying for this data as of Election Day, but Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, started putting his own money into the research.
In the meantime, Steele was getting frustrated that the FBI seemed not to care too much about the information he had passed along. He suspected that the FBI’s New York office was “compromised” regarding Trump because of close ties it had with former New York City mayor-turned-security consultant (and close Trump friend) Rudy Giuliani.
In December 2016, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona met with former British ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood. Wood told McCain about the Dossier’s existence and arranged for McCain to get a copy to give directly to FBI Director James Comey, bypassing the FBI’s office in New York. McCain used David Kramer, one of the directors of the McCain Institute — a globalist Washington, D.C. think tank — to hand the Dossier to Comey. Kramer, in addition to being a one-time fellow of the 9/11-related Project for a New American Century, is an expert on Russia (formerly lecturing at Harvard about the subject) who set up a Moscow office for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
After Comey received the Dossier, both former President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were briefed about its existence. In January, website Buzzfeed published a leaked copy of the Dossier, which was widely reported on CNN and other outlets. Immediately, the sources for Steele’s information were attacked for their lack of credibility. Although Steele’s name was not initially revealed, he and his family went into hiding because he feared possible retribution from the Russian government.
Around the New Year, a former KGB general, Oleg Erovinkin, was found dead of undeclared causes in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key intermediary between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state oil company Rosneft. Steele admitted that much of the Dossier’s information came from sources close to Sechin.
In June 2016, Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort met at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who claimed to have incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. However, when the group got together, Veselnitskaya did not have information to share about Clinton, but instead wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act.
The Magnitsky Act is American legislation that banned certain Russian government officials from entering the United States and using American financial institutions in the wake of a Russian tax scandal involving an American businessman named Bill Browder in Russia. Browder’s firm, Hermitage Capital Management, lost many millions of dollars that were later determined to have been stolen by Russian tax authorities.
As it turns out, Fusion GPS has done much lobbying work trying to get the Magnitsky Act overturned on behalf of Russian clients — one of whom is Rinat Akmetshin, who’s one of the people who came to the Trump Tower meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Thus, the “Russian collusion” that the Democrats and the press have been going on about for nearly a year is in many ways tied to a research firm that’s been given unknown sums by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats themselves.
Although Fusion GPS founder Simpson was grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours this past August, that hearing was held behind closed doors, so it’s not known what valuable information was disclosed, if any. But certainly, the connections between Fusion and Clinton, the DNC and the administration of former President Obama should most likely be examined in much further detail, because if there’s any “Russian collusion” at all to be found, it likely lies here.