December 16, 2018 – Michael Isikoff, first to report allegations from the Steele dossier, says the salacious allegation are “likely false”
The investigative reporter who broke the first story based on allegations from Christopher Steele offered a surprising assessment of the former British spy’s infamous dossier, which alleges a vast conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
“Would you agree that a lot of what’s in the Steele dossier has been somewhat vindicated?” Mediaite columnist John Ziegler asked Michael Isikoff, a co-author of the book “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story on Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.”
“No,” Isikoff responded in an interview released Saturday.
“You would not?” asked Ziegler.
“No,” Isikoff repeated.
Isikoff’s views about the dossier are significant because of his central role in advancing the narrative that the Russian government conspired with Trump associates.
Isikoff is the journalist who wrote the Sept. 23, 2016 article at Yahoo! News laying out Steele’s allegations that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page met secretly in Moscow with two Kremlin insiders. Isikoff’s co-author, David Corn, is the only other reporter to have written about Steele’s claims prior to the 2016 election.
Isikoff and Corn are two of a small handful of reporters who met during the campaign with Steele. The former British spy put the dossier together while working for Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that investigated Trump on behalf of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The FBI cited both the dossier and Isikoff’s article in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on Page. Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the FISA process by relying heavily on the unverified Steele dossier and failing to reveal that the Clinton team and DNC funded the salacious report.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/17/2018)
November 16, 2018 – WaPo’s Greg Miller says the FBI, CIA doubted key allegation in Steele dossier
“FBI and CIA sources told a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter that they didn’t believe a key claim contained in the “Steele Dossier,” the document the Obama FBI relied on to obtain a surveillance warrant on a member of the Trump campaign.
The Post‘s Greg Miller told an audience at a [November] event that the FBI and CIA did not believe that former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election to pay off Russia-linked hackers who stole emails from key Democrats, reports the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross.
“We’ve talked to sources at the FBI and the CIA and elsewhere — they don’t believe that ever happened,” said Miller during the October event which aired Saturday on C-SPAN.
“We literally spent weeks and months trying to run down… there’s an assertion in there that Michael Cohen went to Prague to settle payments that were needed at the end of the campaign. We sent reporters to every hotel in Prague, to all over the place trying to – just to try to figure out if he was ever there, and came away empty.” -Greg Miller
Ross notes that WaPo somehow failed to report this information, nor did Miller include this tidbit of narrative-killing information in his recent book, “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy.”
Miller also admits that the dossier’s broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims.
Steele, using Kremlin sources, claimed in his dossier that Cohen and three associates went to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purpose of discussing “deniable cash payments” made in secret so as to cover up “Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team.”
Cohen’s alleged Prague visit captured attention largely because the former Trump fixer has vehemently denied it, and also because it would seem to be one of the easier claims in Steele’s 35-page report to validate or invalidate.
Debate over the salacious document was reignited when McClatchy reported April 15 that special counsel Robert Mueller had evidence Cohen visited Prague. No other news outlets have verified the reporting, and Cohen denied it at the time.
Cohen last denied the dossier’s allegations in late June, a period of time when he was gearing up to cooperate with prosecutors against President Donald Trump. Cohen served as a cooperating witness for prosecutors in both New York and the special counsel’s office. –Daily Caller
Cohen’s attorney and longtime Clinton pal Lanny Davis vehemently denied on August 22, one day after Cohen pleaded guilty in his New York case – that Cohen had never been to Prague, telling Bloomberg “Thirteen references to Mr. Cohen are false in the dossier, but he has never been to Prague in his life.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/16/2018)
February 15, 2017 – McCabe tells Priebus the NYT Russia and Trump campaign story is a “bunch of BS”
CNN framed a story of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asking the FBI to rebuke an earlier story, based on anonymous leaks, of Trump campaign contacts with Russia. According to the agenda, CNN wanted to make it look like the administration was pressuring the FBI to provide the White House political cover.
However, the truth behind the entire episode shows an entirely different story than the false narrative created by CNN.
On February 15th while discussing another issue FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe asked Reince for 5 minutes alone after the meeting. At the one-on-one McCabe told Priebus the New York Times Russia and Trump campaign story was a “bunch of BS”.
Priebus asked McCabe if McCabe would be able to say that publicly. McCabe said he would check. Later, McCabe called back and said he couldn’t issue a statement about it. (See Screengrab)
So the entire construct by CNN of the White House (via Priebus) trying to pressure the FBI is complete nonsense. Very Fake News…aka a false narrative. It was the FBI who approached Priebus and wanted to clear the record.
Priebus is simply asking the FBI to make the same disclosure public that they were making to him in private. Reince Priebus is asking for transparency, for truth, for openness.
President Trump goes to twitter to call out two issues. First, the media constructing fake news:
However, perhaps more important, it’s the leaks within the FBI, to CNN which aid in the construction of the false narrative, that are now becoming more concerning to President Trump.
August 21, 2016 – Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook, pushes Russiagate false narrative on ABC News
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager said Sunday there are serious questions about whether Donald Trump is a “puppet” for Russia.
“We now need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his own campaign,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on ABC’s This Week. “There’s a web of financial interests that have not been disclosed. And there are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race.”
Mook said that the departure of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from the campaign last week “doesn’t mean that the Russians have been pushed out of this campaign.”
Manafort resigned Friday amid reports about his business dealings with Ukrainian leaders aligned with Russia. Those reports involved allegations of millions of dollars in cash payments and secret lobbying efforts in the U.S. Manafort has denied the allegations.
“The hand of the Kremlin has been at work in this (Trump’s) campaign for some time,” Mook said. “It’s clear that they are supporting Donald Trump.” (Read more: USA Today, 8/21/2016)
June 21, 2016 – Bloomberg reports, “If the Democrats can show the hidden hand of Russian intelligence agencies, they believe that voter outrage will probably outweigh any embarrassing revelations”
Bloomberg News reports, “If the Democrats can show the hidden hand of Russian intelligence agencies, they believe that voter outrage will probably outweigh any embarrassing revelations [in Wikileaks pending release of DNC and Podesta emails], a person familiar with the party’s thinking said.”
In the same article, Clinton spokesperson Glen Caplin refuses to comment on details about recent hacking attacks or confirm if any of Clinton’s campaign staff got successfully hacked. However, Caplin does say, “What appears evident is that the Russian groups responsible for the DNC hack are intent on attempting to influence the outcome of this election.”
The DNC [Democratic National Committee] similarly won’t comment on details or confirm reports of successful attacks. However, the DNC issues a written statement that it believes recent leaks by Guccifer 2.0 are “part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians.”
The Russian government has denied any involvement. Bloomberg News, 6/21/2016)