Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer in London Tuesday March 7, 2017 where he has spoken to the media for the first time . Steele who compiled an explosive and unproven dossier on President Donald Trump’s purported activities in Russia has returned to work. Christopher Steele said Tuesday he is “really pleased” to be back at work in London after a prolonged period out of public view. He went into hiding in January. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
Michael Isikoff (Newsweek) and David Corn (Mother Jones) are milking the Trump dossier story for just about everything it is worth. Not only did they push the story when it was pitched to them by Fusion GPS (Isikoff’s story based on his interview with Christopher Steele was actually used as corroborating evidence by the FBI when they went to the FISA court) and probably got paid by Fusion GPS for their efforts, they now have a book out on the Russia collusion narrative emanating from the 2016 election. Last week I posted on an excerpt that ran in Mother Jones detailing how Susan Rice directed that the intelligence community not do anything to prevent Russian antics during the election.
Now a new round of excerpts has come out courtesy of the Daily Caller:
Christopher Steele is not convinced that the most salacious claim in his infamous dossier is accurate.
Steele’s business partner at their private intelligence firm is even less certain, and the founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, also has his doubts.
That’s according to a deeply reported section of “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” a new book by veteran investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn.
“Steele’s confidence in the sensational sex claim would fade over time,” reads the book, which hit shelves Tuesday.
“As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s fifty-fifty,’” it continues.
Ya don’t say.
Steele’s business partner, Christopher Burrows, immediately questioned Steele’s report, according to the book.
“What the fuck!” Burrows said to Steele during what the authors describe as a heated exchange.
“Burrows feared Steele was sensationalizing his material,” the book reads, which reports that Burrows “later privately described the report as akin to preliminary intelligence reporting — information not analyzed, vetted, or ready for distribution.”
“This was not gospel. It was raw product,” Burrows would say.
Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele, also questioned Steele’s shocking report. The book reveals that Steele told Simpson the identity of the primary source for the “golden showers” allegation: a Belarus-American businessman named Sergei Millian who has claimed to have partnered with Trump’s real estate firm in the past.
We’ve discussed Sergei Millian before. He was involved in the George Papadopoulos story and is cited in Mueller’s indictment of that hapless naif.
But Millian, as a source, particularly as a source that has been “vetted” before their testimony can be used in a FISA proceeding has his own issues. This is from the book:
The memo had described Millian as a Trump intimate, but there was no public evidence he was close to the mogul at that time or was in Moscow during the Miss Universe event. Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker.
So one of Steele’s sources might not even have been in Russia during the time of the events he was describing. And yet, here we are…
So to review the bidding. Steele didn’t believe some of the stuff that he sold to Fusion GPS. Steele’s partner didn’t believe it. Glenn Simpson didn’t believe it. Two guys who flogged the story don’t seem like they believe it. On the other hand, James Comey did believe it. Andrew McCabe believed it. Bruce Ohr believed it. Sally Yates seems to have believed it. Most of Never Trump world believed it.
I’d love to play some poker with that last bunch.