The discredited Steele dossier doesn’t provide direct evidence against Donald Trump. But it doesn’t provide direct evidence for Trump.
It doesn’t provide direct evidence that Russia did the hacking of the DNC that supposedly shows Russian interference in the 2016 election either.
And it doesn’t provide direct evidence that Trump was involved in any such effort.
That’s what the entire Steele dossier, as spun by the Senate Intelligence Committee in October, was, in my view. That’s what matters. And that’s why it’s not really relevant as far as the investigation is concerned. It doesn’t hurt the investigation. What it does do is fatally undermine Michael Cohen’s credibility and, I believe, Mueller’s ability to use the dossier to make an assertion that the president is an agent of a foreign power.
All the documents on the Steele dossier are in the hands of the Senate Intelligence Committee because they were provided in confidence by George Papadopoulos — also an important witness to the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos was one of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisors who had a firsthand insight into how Trump tried to curry favor with Russian leaders and how the Trump campaign in turn played fast and loose with the truth.
The Trump campaign, in turn, lied about their foreign policy efforts. And the committee appears to have concluded that this undercuts the credibility of the dossier’s authors and their credibility in every investigative proceeding.
Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, and now George Papadopoulos have provided overwhelming evidence that there is no basis for Trump being an agent of Russia. They are all fully cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation.
The committee, I trust, will conclude that there is no basis for the allegations in the dossier either. There is no need to obtain the dossier’s author’s testimony. No purpose would be served in obtaining his testimony at this time. And, contrary to the Steele dossier author’s claims, congressional subpoena of the dossier author would not be necessary, would not be appropriate, and would not serve the interests of our democracy.
This means that these documents won’t get any attention in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. It doesn’t hurt Mueller.
The committee’s bombshell decision not to release the dossier’s findings is likely just the tip of the iceberg, by the way. There have been reports that the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee are trying to determine how effective the dossier was at generating leads and leaks about Russia, even to the media, and could therefore revise the dossier’s findings to point the finger at other components of the Trump campaign.
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