Taking a New Look at the Unverified Steele Dossier by Publius Tacitus

Tacitus01

The  revelations following the release last Saturday of the FISA application, requires an update to a piece I wrote last December on the so-called Steele Dossier. I am going to focus on those reports that were generated by Christopher Steele prior to the submission of the first FISA application. The key thing you should be asking is whether or not the information was verified. (I would encourage you to read Andy McCarthy's outstanding review of this matter.) The FBI had a duty and an obligation to only use VERIFIED information in the application. The FBI failed to do so.

There now is no doubt that FBI and DOJ officials collaborated with the Intelligence Community, which was led by Jim Clapper at the time, in misleading members of Congress and feeding the media about alleged collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and the Russians. With the publication of the FISA applications, we now know for certain that the FISA judges were informed that a significant source of the evidence claiming that Carter Page was a Russian agent came from information gathered by a former British intelligence officer who had by hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign. How those judges could acquiesce to such blatant partisan bullshit is grist for another day.  

There also is no dispute that the Clinton campaign, using intermediaries, hired a foreign intelligence operative to target Donald Trump. The Washington Post reported in October 2016 that:  

Marc Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C., firm, to conduct the research. Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community.

Elias and his law firm, Seattle-based Perkins Coie, retained the firm in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’ research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’ research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

The partisan effort to take out Trump spilled over into the Department of Justice.  Nellie Ohr, the wife of a senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr,  had worked for the CIA and was working with Fusion GPS on Russian matters related to Trump at the same time as Steele. We learned from Peter Strzok in recent testimony before the House that Bruce Ohr gave the Steele dossier to the FBI. Which is very odd given the fact that Strzok swore under oath in the FISA warrant application that Steele gave the report to the FBI. Nothing was said of Ohr in that application. 

The final report (which was passed to Senator John McCain) was commissioned by Daniel J. Jones, head of the Penn Quarter Group (PQG) and a former Democrat Senate staffer on the Intelligence Committee. (See footnotes on p. 113 of https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/final_russia_investigation_report.pdf)

The dossier was created for one purpose–portray Donald Trump as a collaborator of the Russians and Vladimir Putin. I am sure you have heard some claim that the dossier has been validated as "true." That is a lie. You do not have to rely on my opinion. Instead, I am going to take you through the 17 reports chronologically, you can read for yourself and see the most egregious errors and disinformation with your own eyes.

Let's start with a broad overview. There are 17 reports that comprise the dossier. Report 2016/86 carries the date "26 July 2016." I believe that is a mistake. The author of the report should have written June instead of July. Report 2016/95 does not have a date, but was produced between 19 July and 30 July:

2016/80–20 June 2016— US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP'S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN

2016/86–26 July 2015 (sic)– RUSSIA/CYBER CRIME: A SYNOPSIS OF RUSSIAN STATE SPONSORED AND OTHER CYBER OFFENSIVE (CRIMINAL) OPERATIONS

2016/94–19 July 2016— RUSSIA: SECRET KREMLIN MEETINGS ATTENDED BY TRUMP ADVISOR, CARTER PAGE IN MOSCOW

2016/95–(UNDATED)— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER INDICATIONS OF EXTENSIVE CONSPIRACY BETWEEN TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN TEAM AND THE KREMLIN

2016/97–30 July 2016— RUSSIA-US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN CONCERN THAT POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM DNC E-MAIL HACKING AFFAIR SPIRALLING OUT OF CONTROL

2016/100–5 August 2016— RUSSIA/USA: GROWING BACKLASH IN KREMLIN TO DNC HACKING AND TRUMP SUPPORT OPERATIONS

2016/101–10 August 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: SENIOR KREMLIN FIGURE OUTLlNES EVOLVING RUSSIAN TACTICS IN PRO-TRUMP, ANTI-CLINTON OPERATION

2016/102–10 August 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REACTION IN TRUMP CAMP TO RECENT NEGATIVE PUBLICITY ABOUT RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE AND LIKELY RESULTING TACTICS GOING FORWARD

2016/105–22 AUGUST 2016— RUSSIA/UKRAINE: THE DEMISE OF TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT

2016/111–14 September 2016— RUSSIA/ US: KREMLIN FALLOUT FROM MEDIA EXPOSURE OF MOSCOW'S INTERFERENCE IN THE US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

2016/112–14 September 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN-ALPHA GROUP CO­OPERATION

2016/113–14 September 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION- REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TRUMP'S PRIOR ACTIVITIES IN ST PETERSBURG

2016/130–12 October 2016— RUSSIA: KREMLIN ASSESSMENT OF TRUMP AND RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

2016/134–18 October 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER DETAILS OF KREMLIN LIAISON WITH TRUMP CAMPAIGN 

2016/135–19 October 2016– RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF TRUMP LAWYER, COHEN IN CAMPAIGN'S SECRET LIAISON WITH THE KREMLIN

2016/136–19 October 2016–US/RUSSIA: FURTHER DETAILS OF SECRET DIALOGUE BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN TEAM, KREMLIN AND ASSOCIATED HACKERS IN PRAGUE

2016/166–13 December 2016— US/RUSSIA: FURTHER DETAILS OF SECRET DIALOGUE BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN TEAM, KREMLIN AND ASSOCIATED HACKERS IN PRAGUE

Now for the details:

Let us start at the beginning. The first report is a deliberate blockbuster. It clearly was intended to provide the foundation for constructing the lie that Trump was under the control of Vladimir Putin. How could you read this report without being both shocked and alarmed?

2016/80–20 June 2016— US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP'S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN

Source A a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure,  

Source B a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin,

Source C senior Russian financial official,

Source D a close associate of TRUMP who had organized and managed his recent trips to Moscow,

Source E (unknown),

Source F Female staffer at the Ritz,

Source "8" (sic),

Source G a senior Kremlin official

Summary

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.

So far TRUMP has declined various sweetener real estate business deals offered him in Russia in order to further the Kremlin's cultivation of him. However he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals

Former top Russian intelligence officer claims FSB has compromised TRUMP through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him. According to several knowledgeable sources, his conduct in Moscow has included perverted sexual acts which have been arranged/monitored by the FSB

A dossier of compromising material on Hillary CLINTON has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls rather than any embarrassing conduct. The dossier is controlled by Kremlin spokesman, PESKOV, directly on PUTIN's orders. However it has not as yet been distributed abroad, including to TRUMP. Russian intentions for its deployment still unclear

I would like you to look at the substance of the report like an intel analyst would. You should start by asking key questions–does the information ring true? Do the sources have the access they claim? Next, you look for corroborating evidence. Are there other reports that have made similar claims? Finally, you subject

The first scent of bullshit comes from the assertion that Moscow had been cultivating and assisting Trump for five years. Unless a clandestine means of communication was established between Trump and the Russians, there should have been some open communication (i.e., emails or phone calls) that would provided corroborating evidence of such a courtship. Given Trump's proclivity to say almost anything that enters his brain, I find it difficult to believe that such a relationship could have been in place and he would have said nothing about it. I have yet to hear anyone describe Donald Trump as "tight lipped."

How about assistance? Are there any unexplained sources of income flowing into Trump's coffers since 2011? That would be easy for a law enforcement agency to investigate and for an intelligence organization to corroborate. 

We also are being asked to believe that the Russians were so prescient that they knew that Trump would be the Republican candidate for President years before he decided to run. Do the Russians really have that kind of predictive ability (or ability to manipulate the future)? If so, they should have foresaw the break up of the Soviet Union? But they did not.

Another curiosity–multiple sources in this report claim the Kremlin was giving Trump and his team "valuable intelligence" on his opponents for SEVERAL YEARS. How can you pass intel on opponents that do not yet exist? That is the kind of question a serious analyst should ask when confronted with these audacious claims. 

Then we have the compromising material claim. Multiple sources insist Donald Trump is a sexual pervert who got his jollies from "golden showers" with hookers at a non-Trump hotel. This first report also introduces the claim that there is compromising video of Donald Trump with hookers and urine. But nothing juicy on Hillary. Just tapes of her conversations (probably discussing weddings and yoga).

How is the ostensible Russian plan to blackmail Trump working out for Putin (assuming it exists)? Instead of forcing Trump to drop sanctions he is adding to them. Instead of ending U.S. military exercises along Russia's border, he is pressing on. Those facts strongly suggest that the Russians are either the most inept blackmailers in the world or that no such material exists.

The second report provided by Steele breaks no new ground. It simply feeds the meme of Russian hacking:

2016/86–26 July 2015 (sic)— RUSSIA/CYBER CRIME: A SYNOPSIS OF RUSSIAN STATE SPONSORED AND OTHER CYBER OFFENSIVE (CRIMINAL) OPERATIONS

Source A former senior intelligence officer,

Source B a Russian IT specialist with direct knowledge

Russia has extensive programme of state-sponsored offensive cyber operations . External targets include foreign governments and big corporations, especially banks. FSB leads on cyber within Russian apparatus. Limited success in attacking top foreign targets like G7 governments, security services and !Fis but much more on second tier ones through IT back doors, using corporate and other visitors to Russia

FSB often uses coercion and blackmail to recruit most capable cyber operatives in Russia into its state-sponsored programmes. Problems however for Russian authorities themselves in countering local hackers and cyber criminals, operating outside state control.

This report could have been written by Captain Obvious and titled, No Shit Analysis. It provides no information not already in the public record. But it does conveniently shows up about a month after Wikileaks unleashed leaked/hacked emails from the DNC. Hillary and her team were quick to blame the Russians (claiming the FBI told them so). Odd. The FBI did not have access to the computers or servers of the DNC. Yet, somehow, they were able to conduct a quickie investigation and conclude that it was Russia.

The third report is the most important of the 17 because it provides alleged intel directly linking a Trump advisor to Russian intelligence operations:

2016/94–19 July 2016— RUSSIA: SECRET KREMLIN MEETINGS ATTENDED BY TRUMP ADVISOR, CARTER PAGE IN MOSCOW

(1) A Russian source close to Rosneft President Igor SECHIN,

(2) An official close to Presidential Administration Head S. IVANOV

TRUMP advisor Carter PAGE holds secret meetings in Moscow with SECHIN and senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN

SECHIN raises issues of future bilateral US-Russia energy co-operation and associated lifting of western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. PAGE non-committal in response

DIVEYKIN discusses release of Russian dossier of 'kompromat' on TRUMP's opponent, Hillary CLINTON, but also hints at Kremlin possession of such material on TRUMP

The bullshit alarms should have been blaring at full volume with this report because Carter Page is described as a "Foreign Affairs Advisor" to Trump. If you are an FBI agent your very first action, upon getting this kind of report, is to verify Page's status with the Trump campaign. Just basic fact checking would have revealed that Carter Page had never met with Donald Trump and was not someone regularly asked for advice that was passed on to the Presidential candidate. He was not someone who had Donald Trump's phone number and never had any personal conversations with the candidate.

This report is a classic example of creating the illusion of guilt by declaring relationships that are unverified. A classic case of disinformation in a covert action campaign in my view. 

The fourth report in the dossier tries to put a stake in the heart of the Trump campaign and "prove" that Trump and Putin are doing everything but exchanging bodily fluids. The report is undated but, given the report number, i.e. 2016/95, it was delivered between 19 and 30 July 2016. To someone not accustomed to reading intelligence, the alleged facts in this are alarming:

2016/95–(UNDATED)— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER INDICATIONS OF EXTENSIVE CONSPIRACY BETWEEN TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN TEAM AND THE KREMLIN

Source E an ethnic Russian close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP

  • Further evidence of extensive conspiracy between TRUMP's campaign team and Kremlin, sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US
  • TRUMP associate admits Kremlin behind recent appearance of DNC e­ mails on WikiLeaks, as means of maintaining plausible deniability
  • Agreed exchange of information established in both directions . TRUMP's team using moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia. PUTIN motivated by fear and hatred of Hillary CLINTON.
  • Russians receiving intel from TRUMP's team on Russian oligarchs and their families in US.
  • Mechanism for transmitting this intelligence involves "pension" disbursements to Russian emigres living in US as cover, using consular officials in New York, DC and Miami
  • Suggestion from source close to TRUMP and MANAFORT that Republican campaign team happy to have Russia as media bogeyman to mask more extensive corrupt business ties to China and other emerging countries.

The report kicks off by claiming that Paul Manafort was coordinating a "well developed conspiracy of cooperation" with the Russians (no indication who on the Russian side) and was using Carter Page as his gofer. It was known within the Trump campaign that Carter Page's main contact was the chubby, jovial Sam Clovis. Sam Clovis was not a buddy of Paul Manafort and there was no evidence of any prior contact or relationship between Manafort and Page. How in the world does someone like Manafort  run a Russian conspiracy by relying on someone he does not know? The absurdity of this claim would have crinkled the nose of a competent FBI agent.

The report then insists that the DNC hack and dump to Wikileaks was a Russian operation carried out with the full knowledge of the Trump campaign:

In return 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.

Manafort only started as an advisor at the end of March 2016. He did not become Campaign Chairman until 19 May 2016. Yet, magically, he is able to suddenly start conspiring with the Russians on behalf of Trump. It does not require a big leap in logic to believe that linking Manafort to the DNC leaks was a deliberate ploy to suggest that Manafort became the Chair of Trump's campaign at the direction of his Russian handlers.

This report also introduces the Trump's policy views on the Ukraine as the principal motive driving Russia's alleged manipulation of the campaign:

[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.

In case you forgot, Josh Rogin of the Washington Post published a piece on 18 July 2016 accusing the Trump campaign of trying to sell out traditional Republican policy on the Ukraine:

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

I do not believe in coincidence. And it is no coincidence that Steele's late July report comes right on the heels of the Rogin article and is designed to paint Trump as carrying out the foreign policy of Vladimir Putin. If you plant multiple stories on the same topic you can disingenuously claim that you are reporting a fact based on multiple sources when you are the one who created the "fact."

The final curiosity in this report is the backhanded acknowledgement that Trump was never corrupted financially by the Russians. The explanation? He was too busy banging Russian hookers. If you are a competent law enforcement or intelligence officer and you have an informant feeding you this kind of salacious material you would demand some sort of corroborating evidence. None provided in the Steele dossier.

The fifth report tries to paint the picture of the Russians acting like a cad who has awoken in bed after a night of debauchery with a naked, ugly girl:

2016/97–30 July 2016— RUSSIA-US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN CONCERN THAT POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM DNC E-MAIL HACKING AFFAIR SPIRALLING OUT OF CONTROL

SOURCE: (1) A Russian emigre figure close to the Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP's campaign team,

Kremlin concerned that political fallout from DNC e-mail hacking operation is spiralling out of control. Extreme nervousness among TRUMP's associates as result of negative media attention/accusations

Russians meanwhile keen to cool situation and maintain 'plausible deniability' of existing /ongoing pro-TRUMP and anti-CLINTON operations. Therefore unlikely to be any ratcheting up offensive plays in immediate future

Source close to TRUMP campaign however confirms regular exchange with Kremlin has existed for at least 8 years, including intelligence fed back to Russia on oligarchs' activities in US

Russians apparently have promised not to use 'kompromat' they hold on TRUMP as leverage, given high levels of voluntary co-operation forthcoming from his team

This report is provided at the end of July and introduces the new alleged fact that Trump has been working for Russian intelligence since 2008. What??!! How and why would the Russians recruit Trump in 2008? Ostensibly because he was in close contact with Russian oligarchs who had fled Russia and was now willing to rat them out. Dropping this nuclear bomb of a fact in the middle of this report should have provoked some intense questioning by the FBI agents when they got their hands on the dossier.

We know, thanks to the classified material leaked by Edward Snowden, that the U.S. intelligence community has/had in its archives phone calls and emails from U.S. citizens. This would include Donald Trump. If this report was true then it would have been pretty easy to corroborate contacts between the Russians and the Trump people starting in 2008. The failure to find any corroborating evidence of such a relationship with the Russians is prima facia evidence that this dossier is a total fraud.

It is important to understand that the material in the Steele dossier was being provided to the Clinton campaign. Glen Simpson was not sitting on this information. The Clinton campaign received it. Understanding this point let's take a quick look at the press coverage towards the end of July to see if any of the themes identified by Steele were surfacing in the public. 

Here is a sampling of articles from major media outlets:

 

Is Trump a Russian Stooge? (Foreign Policy 25 July 2016)

Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton's Missing Emails (NY Times 27 July 2016)

Trump invites Russia to meddle in the U.S. presidential race with Clinton’s emails (Washington Post 27 July 2016)

Donald Trump's Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia (Time 2 August 2016)

 When all of the major media is pushing the same story line one must realize, especially if you are a super sleuth like Peter Strzok or James Comey, that political ax grinding is going on in a very prominent way.

The sixth report claims that the Russians are having more morning after regrets. For a bunch of stone cold killers this report makes the Russian operatives appear like a group of nervous old ladies.

2016/100–5 August 2016— RUSSIA/USA: GROWING BACKLASH IN KREMLIN TO DNC HACKING AND TRUMP SUPPORT OPERATIONS

SOURCE: (1) Two well-placed and established Kremlin sources,

(2) a second source, close to premier Dmitriy MEDVEDEV

Head of PA IVANOV laments Russian intervention in US presidential election and black PR against CLINTON and the DNC. Vows not to supply intelligence to Kremlin PR operatives again. Advocates now sitting tight and denying everything

Presidential spokesman PESKOV the main protagonist in Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON . He is now scared and fears being made scapegoat by leadership for backlash in US. Problem compounded by his botched intervention in recent Turkish crisis

Premier MEDVEDEV's office furious over DNC hacking and associated anti-Russian publicity. Want good relations with US and ability to travel there. Refusing to support or help cover up after PESKOV

Talk now in Kremlin of TRUMP withdrawing from presidential race altogether, but this still largely wishful thinking by more liberal elements in Moscow

We now enter bat-shit crazy territory. This report claims that the mastermind of the hacking of the DNC is none other the Vladimir Putin's press spokesman, Dimitri Peskov. What? Put yourself in the position of the FBI people who are reading this crap for the first time. You want to believe that these are reliable sources. But you are now confronted with the claim that Vladimir Putin's version of Sarah Huckabee Sanders was the one who cooked up and executed the hack of the DNC. Who within the U.S. intel community would vouch for such an insane claim? I doubt there are many who would sign on to such absurdity. But Peter Strzok and Jim Comey did. They affirmed to the judge that Steele was providing verified information.

The seventh report is a mess of contradictory "facts" and bizarre claims. For example, the Russians were going to focus on spreading "rumors and misinformation" about the DNC emails. How does one spread rumors and misinformation about actual documents that are posted on line and can be read by anyone with an internet connection?

2016/101–10 August 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: SENIOR KREMLIN FIGURE OUTLlNES EVOLVING RUSSIAN TACTICS IN PRO-TRUMP, ANTI-CLINTON OPERATION

SOURCES: (1) An official close to Presidential Administration Head S. IVANOV,

(2) a Kremlin official involved in US relations

Head of PA, IVANOV assesses Kremlin intervention in US presidential election and outlines leadership thinking on operational way forward

No new leaks envisaged, as too politically risky, but rather further exploitation of (WikiLeaks) material already disseminated to exacerbate divisions

Educated US youth to be targeted as protest (against CLINTON) and swing vote in attempt to turn them over to TRUMP

Russian leadership, including PUTIN, celebrating perceived success to date in splitting US hawks and elite

Kremlin engaging with several high profile US players, including STEIN, PAGE and (former DIA Director Michael Flynn), and funding their recent visits to Moscow

This report comes off like the scribblings of a failed Hollywood script writer. Got to have a villain. Enter, stage right, Boris the Russian. And how do Russians force feeble, weak-minded foreigners to heel? Kompromat, i.e., you black mail them. The Russian's had three goals in their operation:

asking sympathetic US actors how Moscow could help them; gathering relevant intelligence; and creating and disseminating compromising information ('kompromat').

This had involved the Kremlin supporting various US political figures, including funding indirectly their recent visits to Moscow. S/he named a delegation from Lyndon LAROUCHE; presidential candidate Jill STEIN of the Green Party; TRUMP foreign policy adviser Carter PAGE; and former DIA Director Michael Flynn, in this regard and as successful in terms of perceived outcomes.

Do you remember all of the compromising information that was disseminated by against Stein, Page and Flynn? Neither do I. But it must be true because it was written in a report provided by a former British intelligence officer.

Report number eight claims to have all sorts of insider information on the Trump campaign. But there is no direct Russian connection. Nope, just an "insider" who was an ethnic Russian.

2016/102–10 August 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REACTION IN TRUMP CAMP TO RECENT NEGATIVE PUBLICITY ABOUT RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE AND LIKELY RESULTING TACTICS GOING FORWARD

SOURCES: an ethnic Russian associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP

TRUMP campaign insider reports recent DNC e-maiI leaks were aimed at switching SANDERS (protest) voters away from CLINTON and over to TRUMP

Admits Republican campaign underestimated resulting negative reaction from US liberals, elite and media and forced to change course as result

Need now to turn tables on CLINTON’S use of PUTIN as bogeyman in election, although some resentment at Russian president's perceived attempt to undermine USG and system over and above swinging presidential election

I do not know if Christopher Steele was shooting for highbrow humor, but his decision to present the following as a juicy piece of intel is guffaw worthy. The ethnic Russian buddy of Trump's:

assessed that the problem was that the TRUMP campaign had underestimated the strength of the negative reaction from liberals and especially the conservative elite to Russian interference. This was forcing a rethink and a likely change of tactics. The main objective in the short term was to check Democratic candidate Hillary CLINTON's successful exploitation of the PUTIN as bogeyman/Russian interference story to tarnish TRUMP and bolster her own (patriotic) credentials. 

What person who was even vaguely following the 2016 Presidential campaign would want to claim that Trump underestimated the negative reaction from liberals and the conservatives establishment? What campaign was this alleged source watching? Trump was being besieged in the press, as noted above, as a tool or stooge of Russia.

The ninth report directly contradicts the fourth report in the Steele dossier. One of these sources reporting to Steele was a liar and/or fabricator. Remember that the report–2016/95–identified Paul Manafort as the mastermind/coordinator in chief with the Russians of project Make Trump Putin's Puppet. That was then. Now, less than a month later, Manafort is out and the Russians are worried about his historical ties to former Ukrainian President Yanukovych (who was ousted in a non-violent coup in February 2014). If the Russians really were running a broad conspiracy with the cooperation of Trump and the knowledge of Paul Manafort one would think that Putin and company would be worried about many other things than how much ill gotten gain Manafort may have stuffed into foreign banks.

2016/105–22 AUGUST 2016– RUSSIA/UKRAINE: THE DEMISE OF TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT

SOURCES: (1) a well-placed Russian figure,

(2) an American political figure associated with Donald TRUMP

Ex-Ukrainian President YANUKOVYCH confides directly to PUTIN that he authorised kick-back payments to MANAFORT, as alleged in western media. Assures Russian President however there is no documentary evidence/trail

PUTIN and Russian leadership remain worried however and sceptical that YANUKOVYCH has fully covered the traces of these payments to TRUMP's former campaign manager

Close associate of TRUMP explains reasoning behind MANAFORT's recent resignation. Ukraine revelations played part but others wanted MANAFORT out for various reasons, especially LEWANDOWSKI who remains influential

The closing paragraph of this so-called intel report is pathetic in both its content and contradiction. It was not the Ukraine revelations that forced Manafort out. Nope. Corey Lewandowski did not like him and Corey was a big buddy of Trump. But wait. I thought Trump had been in the pocket of the Russians for at least five years or eight years and that Manafort, per Steele's report, was the manager of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between Putin and Trump. This kind of astonishing contradiction demands an explanation. Report nine actually undermines the collusion claim.

The tenth report in the Steele dossier is a real head scratcher and should have given Peter Strzok and James Comey pause in considering the sources reliable and informed. It starts with the claim that Vladimir Putin was really worried about the negative fallout from recent news reports that Russia was intervening in the election in favor of Donald Trump. Negative fallout? Let's look first at the salient points from this report:

2016/111–14 September 2016— RUSSIA/ US: KREMLIN FALLOUT FROM MEDIA EXPOSURE OF MOSCOW'S INTERFERENCE IN THE US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

SOURCES: (1) a senior member of the Russian Presidential Administration, (2 a senior Russian MFA official)

Kremlin orders senior staff to remain silent in media and private on allegations of Russian interference in US presidential campaign

Senior figure however confirms gist of allegations and reports IVANOV

Sacked as Head of Administration on account of giving PUTIN poor advice on issue. VAINO selected as his replacement partly because he was not involved in pro-TRUMP, anti-CLINTON operation/s

Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e -mails) and considering disseminating it after Duma (legislative elections) in late September. Presidential spokesman PESKOV continues to lead on this

However, equally important is Kremlin objective to shift policy consensus favourably to Russia in US post-OBAMA whoever wins. Both presidential candidates' opposition to TPP and TTIP viewed as a result in this respect

Senior Russian diplomat withdrawn from Washington embassy on account of potential exposure in US presidential election operation/s

Got it? Putin was worried that Russia's hidden hand would be discovered so he ordered everyone to clam up. Got to keep that negative press at bay. And what kind of negative fallout was there in the press in the weeks preceding the 14th of September? Let's start in late August and see if there was an avalanche of negativity:

Democrats ask the FBI to investigate Trump advisers’ Russia ties (30 August 2016 Washington Post)

Why Russians like Trump, but Putin may actually prefer Clinton (31 August 2016 PRI)

If Russia is trying to hack America, it is not to help Donald Trump win (1 September 2016 The Guardian)

Donald Trump Goes On Russian State TV to Defend Vladimir Putin (9 September 2016 Vanity Fair)

For Russia, Donald Trump is a dream come true (9 September 2016 Washington Post)

A bombshell report is raising questions about Trump's business ties to Russia and Iran (14 September 2016 Business Insider)

 Report ten really creates a factual train wreck when it comes to pushing the meme of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Paragraph two of the report is confounding if you were part of the camp pushing the theory that this Russian meddling was part of an elaborate, comprehensive intelligence effort. Nope. There are different factions in the Kremlin the guy running the press department is winning out over the Russian Ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Whatever happened to having a cyber intelligence operation run out of the GRU? That is what we are told now. But in this laughable piece of tripe pushed by Christopher Steele and gobbled up by ignorant FBI officials, the lead player in the Putin circle was his press spokesman. 

One can argue that the Russians are a lot of things. But being total morons, as is suggested in report ten, is not part of their modus operandi. If the Russians were going to carry out a cyber op to disrupt our election then they would sit down and conduct a thorough, comprehensive risk/reward analysis. That is not the picture Christopher Steele is painting. He is like the guy that wrote the worst Hollywood script ever.

The eleventh report in the dossier is not worth your time. It is a throw away. I hope you are sitting down. We learn that Vladimir Putin has relationships and conversations with wealthy businessmen. Shocker.

2016/112–14 Septembe 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN-ALPHA GROUP CO­OPERATION

SOURCES: (1) a top level Russian government official

Top level Russian official confirms current closeness of Alpha Group­ PUTIN relationship. Significant favours continue to be done in both directions and FRIDMAN and AVEN still giving informal advice to PUTIN, especially on the US

Key intermediary in PUTIN-Alpha relationship identified as Oleg GOVORUN, currently Head of a Presidential Administration department but throughout the 1990s, the Alpha executive who delivered illicit cash directly to PUTIN

PUTIN personally unbothered about Alpha's current lack of investment in Russia but under pressure from colleagues over this and able to exploit it as lever over Alpha interlocutors

Number twelve is the last report that Peter Strzok and James Comey could have seen before signing off on the FISA application. We start where we began–unsubstantiated reports of sexual perversion and bribery on the part of Donald Trump. Only this time, it is in St. Petersburg, not Moscow.

2016/113–14 September 2016— RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION- REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TRUMP'S PRIOR ACTIVITIES IN ST PETERSBURG

SOURCES: (1) a political/business elite and

(2) someone involved in the local services and tourist industry

Two knowledgeable St Petersburg sources claim Republican candidate TRUMP has paid bribes and engaged in sexual activities there but key witnesses silenced and evidence hard to obtain

Both believe Azeri business associate of TRUMP, Araz AGALAROV will know the details

Here is the key morsel of this report:

The local business/political elite figure reported that TRUMP had paid bribes there to further his interests but very discreetly and only through affiliated companies, making it very hard to prove. The local services industry source reported that TRUMP had participated in sex parties in the city too, but that all direct witnesses to this recently had been "silenced" i.e. bribed or coerced to disappear.

Claims of illegal activity without any witnesses or evidence. And the FBI accepted this crap as reliable and verifiable.

I apologize for being so pedantic, but I think it is vital that the American people actually read the source material and apply their own common sense. There was nothing in any of the first 12 reports that comprise the Steele dossier that compelled the FBI to lie to a Federal judge. The FBI, as explained in detail by Andy McCarthy (see my first paragraph), were obliged to present facts they had reason to believe were true and could be corroborated. But that was not the case. Strzok and Comey lied. There must be an accounting. 

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