Democrats spread false Rus­sian data on Trump

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY ROWAN SCAR­BOR­OUGH

While the lib­eral news me­dia hunts for ev­i­dence of Trump-Rus­sia col­lu­sion, the pub­lic record shows that Democrats have will­fully used Mos­cow dis­in­for­ma­tion to in­flu­ence the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion against Don­ald Trump and at­tack his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The dis­in­for­ma­tion came in the form of a Rus­sian-fed dossier writ­ten by former Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence agent Christo­pher Steele. It con­tains a series of un­ver­i­fied crim­i­nal charges against Mr. Trump’s cam­paign aides, such as co­or­di­nat­ing Mos­cow’s hack­ing of Demo­cratic Party com­put­ers.

Some Democrats have widely cir­cu­lated the dis­cred­ited in­for­ma­tion. Mr. Steele was paid by the Demo­crat-funded op­po­si­tion re­search firm Fu­sion GPS with money from a Hil­lary Clin­ton backer. Fu­sion GPS dis­trib­uted the dossier among Democrats and jour­nal­ists. The in­for­ma­tion fell into the hands of the FBI, which used it in part to in­ves­ti­gate Mr. Trump’s cam­paign aides.

Mr. Steele makes clear that his un­proven charges came al­most ex­clu­sively from sources linked to the Krem­lin and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. He iden­ti­fied his sources as “a se­nior Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry fig­ure,” a former “top level Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer ac­tive in­side the Krem­lin,” a “se­nior Krem­lin of­fi­cial” and a “se­nior Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial.”

The same Democrats who have con­demned Rus­sia’s elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence via ply­ing fake news and hack­ing email servers have quoted freely from the Steele an­tiTrump memos de­rived from crea­tures of the Krem­lin.

In other words, there is pub­lic ev­i­dence of sig­nif­i­cant, in­di­rect col­lu­sion be­tween Democrats and Rus­sian dis­in­for­ma­tion, a Trump sup­porter said.

“If any­one col­luded with the Rus­sians, it was the Democrats,” said a former Trump cam­paign ad­viser who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause of the pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “After all, they’ve rou­tinely shopped around false claims from the de­bunked Steele dossier, which listed sources in­clud­ing se­nior Krem­lin of­fi­cials. If any­one should be in­ves­ti­gated in Wash­ing­ton, it ought to be Adam Schiff, Eric Swal­well, Mark Warner and their staffers.”

That is a ref­er­ence to Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Cal­i­for­nia, the top Demo­crat on the House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence; Sen. Mark R. Warner, Vir­ginia Demo­crat and vice chair­man of the Se­nate Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence; and Rep. Eric Swal­well, a Cal­i­for­nia, Demo­crat on the House in­tel­li­gence panel.

By his own ad­mis­sion, Mr. Steele’s work has proved un­re­li­able.

As first re­ported by The Wash­ing­ton Times on April 25, Mr. Steele filed a doc­u­ment in a sealed court case in Lon­don ac­knowl­edg­ing that a ma­jor dossier charge about hack­ing Democrats’ com­put­ers was un­ver­i­fied. The en­tire dossier never should have been made pub­lic and Fu­sion GPS should not have passed it around, Mr. Steele said in a fil­ing de­fend­ing him­self against a li­bel charge.

About Carter Page

Other dossier tar­gets ve­he­mently deny the dirt thrown by the Krem­lin sources.

Mr. Steele’s Rus­sian sources ac­cused Mr. Trump’s at­tor­ney, Michael Co­hen, of at­tend­ing a meet­ing with Rus­sian agents in Prague to cover up their role in Mos­cow’s hack­ing. Mr. Co­hen has said he has never been to Prague and was in Cal­i­for­nia at the time.

One of the main tar­gets of Mr. Steele’s Rus­sian sources is Carter Page, who lived and worked in Mos­cow as a Mer­rill Lynch in­vestor. He had loose ties to the Trump cam­paign as a for­eign pol­icy ad­viser and sur­ro­gate.

Mr. Steele’s Rus­sian sources ac­cused Mr. Page of a series of crimes: team­ing up with former Trump cam­paign man­ager Paul Manafort to help Rus­sia hack Demo­cratic com­put­ers, meet­ing in Mos­cow with two Putin cronies to plot against Mrs. Clin­ton and work­ing out a shady bro­ker­age deal with a Rus­sian oli­garch.

Mr. Page told The Wash­ing­ton Times that he has never met Mr. Manafort, knew noth­ing about Rus­sian hack­ing when it was hap­pen­ing, never met the two Rus­sians named by Mr. Steele and never com­pleted the sup­posed in­vest­ment deal.

The dossier ac­cu­sa­tions against Mr. Page sur­faced dur­ing the cam­paign in a Ya­hoo News story, cit­ing not Mr. Steele but in­tel­li­gence sources. It then went out on the U.S. gov­ern­ment’s Voice of Amer­ica.

In the mean­time, the Clin­ton cam­paign used the Ya­hoo story to at­tack Mr. Trump: “Hil­lary for Amer­ica State­ment on Bomb­shell Re­port About Trump Aide’s Chill­ing Ties to Krem­lin,” blared the Clin­ton cam­paign’s Sept. 23 press re­lease.

Since the dossier was cir­cu­lated widely among Democrats, Mr. Carter said, he be­lieves the Clin­ton team pos­sessed it and re­lied on it based on what some of Mrs. Clin­ton’s sur­ro­gates said pub­licly.

“After the re­port by Ya­hoo News, the Clin­ton cam­paign put out an equally false press re­lease just min­utes after the ar­ti­cle was re­leased that af­ter­noon,” said Mr. Carter, who has tracked what he be­lieves is a series of in­ac­cu­rate sto­ries and ac­cu­sa­tions against him.

“Of course the [Clin­ton cam­paign rep­re­sen­ta­tives] were ly­ing about it with the me­dia non­stop for many months, and they’ve con­tin­ued un­til this day,” Mr. Carter said. “Both in­di­rectly as they planted ar­ti­cles in the press and di­rectly with many TV ap­pear­ances.”

Democrats cite Rus­sia’s dirt

Even be­fore the Ya­hoo story, then-Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid, Ne­vada Demo­crat, was us­ing the Rus­sian-sourced dossier.

On Aug. 27, with the cam­paign in high gear and knowl­edge that Rus­sian hack­ers had pen­e­trated Clin­ton cam­paign com­put­ers in the pub­lic do­main, Mr. Reid re­leased a let­ter to then-FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey.

Mr. Reid called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mr. Carter’s trip to Mos­cow, where he sup­pos­edly “met with high-rank­ing sanc­tioned in­di­vid­u­als. … Any such meet­ings should be in­ves­ti­gated and made part of the pub­lic record.”

Mr. Reid’s ev­i­dence surely came from the dossier and its Rus­sian sources.

In the dossier, Mr. Steele clearly states that his anti-Trump ac­cu­sa­tions are from the Krem­lin, which means some Democrats have been will­ingly re­peat­ing Mos­cow pro­pa­ganda for pub­lic con­sump­tion in Wash­ing­ton.

No Democrats have em­braced the Rus­sian-sourced dossier more than mem­bers of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing Mos­cow’s in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion.

Mr. Schiff read from the dossier ex­ten­sively at a March hear­ing fea­tur­ing Mr. Comey and Navy Adm. Michael Rogers, who leads the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency.

As Mr. Schiff and other Democrats were be­moan­ing Krem­lin ac­tiv­i­ties against Mrs. Clin­ton, they were more than will­ing to quote Krem­lin sources at­tack­ing Mr. Trump dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

Mr. Schiff lauded Mr. Steele for dis­clos­ing that Ros­neft, a Rus­sian-owned gas and oil com­pany, planned to sell a 19.5 per­cent share to an in­vestor and that Mr. Page was of­fered a bro­ker­age fee.

Trou­ble is, the 19.5 per­cent share was an­nounced pub­licly by Mos­cow be­fore Mr. Steele wrote that memo. Mr. Page said he was never in­volved in any talk about a com­mis­sion.

Mr. Schiff was more than will­ing to quote Krem­lin sources.

“Ac­cord­ing to Steele’s Rus­sian sources, the cam­paign has of­fered doc­u­ments dam­ag­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton, which the Rus­sians would pub­lish through an out­let that gives them de­ni­a­bil­ity like Wik­iLeaks,” he said.

Mr. Schiff also said: “Ac­cord­ing to Christo­pher Steele, a former Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer, who is re­port­edly held in high re­gard by U.S. in­tel­li­gence, Rus­sian sources tell him that Page has also had a se­cret meet­ing with Igor Sechin, CEO of the Rus­sian gas gi­ant, Ros­neft. Sechin is re­ported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s.”

Mr. Page has said re­peat­edly that he does not know Mr. Sechin and did not meet with him in Mos­cow.

Mean­while, Rep. Joaquin Cas­tro of Texas, an­other Demo­crat on the House com­mit­tee, lauded Mr. Steele’s Krem­lin sourc­ing.

“I want to take a mo­ment to turn to the Christo­pher Steele dossier, which was first men­tioned in the me­dia just be­fore the elec­tion and pub­lished in full by me­dia out­lets in Jan­uary,” Mr. Cas­tro said. “My fo­cus to­day is to ex­plore how many claims within Steele’s dossier are look­ing more and more likely, as though they are ac­cu­rate.

“This is not some­one who doesn’t know how to run a source and not some­one with­out con­tacts. The al­le­ga­tions it raises about Pres­i­dent Trump’s cam­paign aides’ con­nec­tions to Rus­sians, when over­laid with known es­tab­lished facts and time­lines from the 2016 cam­paign, are very re­veal­ing,” he said.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Christo­pher Steele, a former Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer, com­piled an ex­plo­sive and un­proven dossier on Don­ald Trump’s pur­ported ac­tiv­i­ties in Rus­sia. Democrats who have con­demned Rus­sia’s elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence have quoted freely from his Mos­cow memos.

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