The Rise and Fall of the ‘Steele Dossier’

Donald Trump’s journey in and out of the Oval Office was marked by xenophobia, conspiracy theories – and xenophobic conspiracy theories. Trump started his political career by spreading the “birth lie” about President Obama and then became Obama’s unlikely successor with a presidential campaign against immigrants and Muslims. After losing the White House four years later, Trump blamed his overthrow for a massive election fraud conspiracy that – according to Flunkies Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell – “communist money, “”VenezuelanVoting machines as well as Chinese and Iranian hackers. The right-wing mob that attacked the Capitol last week to thwart the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory was the apotheosis of Trump’s awkward bigotry.

Trump’s troubled coda was apt for another reason: during his tenure, Democratic Party activists and their allies in the media questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 victory with their own xenophobic conspiracy theory. Russia, it was alleged, not only installed Trump in the White House, but did so as part of an elaborate conspiracy with its campaign. While Russiagate did not incite the hatred, violence and harm of Trump’s MAGA and “Stop the Steal” movements, it was not without its own dangerous consequences.

A “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation”

The first rumble from the Manchurian candidates about Trump surfaced in the summer of 2016. But the pivotal incident that turned into an all-consuming Russian mania happened exactly four years ago this month, just days before Trump’s inauguration. On January 10, 2017 BuzzFeed News published the “Steele Dossier,” a collection of DNC-funded reports alleging a high-level conspiracy between Trump and Moscow. The catalyst had come four days earlier when the then FBI director Jim Comey personally informed Trump of the existence of the dossier. Their meeting was then immediately leaked to the media and gave up BuzzFeed the news hook to fully publish the Steele material.

Despite his outlandish claims and partisan origins, Steele’s work product somehow became a roadmap for democratic leaders, media, and most importantly, intelligence officials conducting the Russia investigation.

According to Steele, Trump and the Kremlin have engaged in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation”. Steele claimed Russia had “cultivated, aided, and aided Trump for at least five years,” dating back to when Trump was just the host of Trump The Apprentice. Russia, Steele claimed, gave Trump “a regular flow of information”, including through “political rivals”. The conspiracy allegedly escalated during the 2016 campaign, when then Trump attorney Michael Cohen slipped into Prague for “secret talks with Kremlin officials and associated operators / hackers”.

This alleged conspiracy was based not only on mutually shameful interests but, worse, on outright coercion. Steele claimed the Russians videotaped Trump in a hotel room in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton to watch prostitutes “perform a show of golden showers (urinating)”. These “Kompromat”Meant that the leader of the free world was not only a traitor but also a victim of extortion from his Kremlin leaders.

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