WTF Community

The Steele Dossier Considered Post-Mueller

I was searching for an analysis of how the Steele memoranda were holding up in light of more recent events, including the Mueller Report (still redacted). I found this, which makes interesting reading:


I’ll bite and help you give weight to this.

Behold the Origins of the Steele Dossier, not be confused with the Mueller Report.

The story began in September 2015, when a wealthy Republican donor who strongly opposed Mr. Trump put up the money to hire a Washington research firm run by former journalists, Fusion GPS, to compile a dossier about the real estate magnate’s past scandals and weaknesses, according to a person familiar with the effort. The person described the opposition research work on condition of anonymity, citing the volatile nature of the story and the likelihood of future legal disputes. The identity of the donor is unclear.


Thank you…I found this interesting too. A lot of the Steele Dossier has not been dispproved, and the 73 % confirm partially or wholly is interesting. Just the obvious one…the P tape, I can let that one go…it boggles my mind to have to consider it.

compare Steele’s dossier with Mueller’s report and press reports which indicate that about 73 percent of his allegations have been either fully or partially confirmed

The first fact that needs to be admitted is that special Counsel Robert Mueller did not try to prove or disprove the allegations of the Steele memos. His focus was on identifying prosecutable crimes, and the counter-intelligence portion of the investigation largely remained within the normal FBI rather than part of his efforts. Therefore, there isn’t perfect correlation between the two reports, but there is quite a bit of overlap


True. And another point is that not every assertion in the Steele stuff can be confirmed or refuted at all–e.g. speculation regarding what a person was thinking at a particular time.

What I find most interesting is that while Trump was lying about his Russian business ties, Steele–or his contacts–were getting it mostly right.

The idea that the Steele Dossier was a work of fiction bought and paid for by HRC (the early conservative client notwithstanding) is the lynch pin of this whole “coup” narrative Trump has begun.


I’m not sure if you’ve read Lawfare Blog’s analysis yet but here’s a link to all their essays. It’s really good reading.


Thanks @Turingtest for making inquiries as to the validity of any Trump/Republican argument now…that this was all just a ‘coup’ attempt. I agree it is absurd and looking for far-right arguments on Mueller etc. to understand what they are driving home.

And also reminding us that ‘confirmation bias’ - which basically says we believe our argument, no matter what will continue to work in T’s favor…because no matter what his base is going to believe him.

I agree that the spun narrative coming out of Team T - including as his Number One accessory -Atty Gen. Barr continues to be - T never did what so many on the left accused him of - colluding w/ Russians, in the tank with Russia/Putin and that this attempted ‘coup’ which began w/ a counterintelligence mission as @Pet_Proletariat points out started by the ‘deep state’ (all intel agencies) before the election. The main point T always wanted to be that he won the election fairly. And that T would not obstruct justice because he was unfairly pursued by Intel, the Press…and there was NO COLLUSION/

AG Barr captured the narrative and placed little doubt in the majority of T voters that T was not guilty, which the rest of the thinking world thought otherwise.

So the theory might be from T 'n Co that given that the CIA, FBI, DNI (Brennan, Comey and Clapper then Coats) were in cahoots with one another and stirred up the Russian issue prior to the election.

I began to read what counter-arguments might be from Breitbart, Fox sources and I came across the intel document that the Right is taking issue with - namely this group of ‘treasonous’ intel people. Brennan, who was appointed by Obama to replace Petraeus and I believe resigned from CIA has been attacked via taking away his security clearance, Comey fired and Dan Coats has been holding steady to his job, but is a target of T’s ire.

They are looking at the origins of the Russia Investigation and starting with the predicate…well, the Intelligence agencies were out to get T…and Barr is going to find out how/why.

This is the report they (T/Barr) want to shred, as well as continue down the path of the 19 angry prosecutors, Strzok…etc. (correct!)

For reference ONLY…and to determine how the arguments are being made. I know we do not use these sources because they are non-factual…BUT worth a look.

  • Deep inside a 7,700-plus word Washington Post article published June 23, 2017, the newspaper detailed the highly compartmentalized nature of the original Russia interference investigation and the manner in which other U.S. intelligence agencies were deliberately kept in the dark.

  • According to the newspaper, in the summer of 2016, CIA Director John Brennan convened a “secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.”

  • The Post described the unit as so secretive it functioned as a “sealed compartment” hidden even from the rest of the U.S. intelligence community; a unit whose workers were all made to sign additional non-disclosure forms.

The usual suspects - Brennan, Clapper, AG Loretta Lynn and Comey and their secretive mission.

The number of Obama administration officials who were allowed access to the Russia intelligence was also highly limited, The Post reported. At first only four senior officials were involved: Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey. Their aides were all barred from attending the initial meetings, The Post stated.

And then, by extension, T can order up Barr to delve into the Intelligence agencies Intel to conjure up any argument he wants. And of course this is meant to be disruptive and to undermine the power and authority of the Intel agencies.

Not sure I am making any other point aside from the PR strategy and legal one from T and Barr is to present any intel to refute any claim that T is guilty of any crime and continue to ignore the Russian interference in elections because that hits to close to T’s legitimacy as a president who won fairly.


Well, I read all of it. The intelligence re: Russia came from where intelligence is supposed to come from, “the intelligence community,” specifically from Brennan, then-CIA director, in August 2016. Obama, sensibly, ordered that Brennan get consensus, not, apparently, of 17 agencies, as has often been reported (all under the Director of National Intelligence), but of the FBI and NSA as well as the CIA. He also ordered that an assessment be made of vulnerabilities, which would regard potential threat, not factual harm. And he directed that staff seek b-partisan support for confronting Moscow.

It took a long time for the NSA to buy in, and in the end they weighed in at only “moderate confidence,” due to the fact that some critical information had come from other governments, presumably the five foreign countries relaying signals intelligence re: Team Trump and Russians and/or Australia. The attempt at a bi-partisan agreement to confront Russia failed, because, predictably, the GOP reps suspected a political stunt. In the end, Obama did not rock the boat prior to the election. In retrospect, maybe he wishes he had, but that would likely have just put is in another kettle of hot water than the one we’re in now, regardless of who won. Finally, in late December, Obama acted.

The fundamental problem is that intelligence conclusions minus “method and means” reads a whole like a possible fiction. Why did Brennan go to Obama in August? Uh, because staff came to him first. What staff, and what did they tell him? Sorry, that’s classified.

Looking at the most liked comments at Breitbart, it boils down for them to Obama dreaming it all up and SAYING Brennan had come to him, for political gain. When confronted with the fact that none of this was made public prior to the election, the answer is: 1) that Obama, like many people, thought HRC would prevail; and 2) that once she did not prevail, the phony Russia story would be the kind of “insurance” that Strozck (sp?) spoke of in one of his texts.

It’s hilarious that evidence of secret agencies being ultra-secret about an ultra-sensitive matter–cutting the video, not including any of it in the daily intelligence briefing, counts as evidence not of caution but of treachery.

Short of just throwing open the entire national intelligence apparatus, the only remedy I can see is treating the matter like any other conspiracy: ask what would also have to be true if there were the conspiracy, and see if it IS true; and ask how many people would have had to be involved–"in on it–for the conspiracy to get off the ground. This latter often reduces the idea of a conspiracy to absurdity. E.g., From Facebook, Twitter, and Google, there has emerged evidence regarding phony accounts traceable to Russia. In order for this evidence to be part of a false narrative, many employees of all three of these companies would have to be in on the plot, which is absurd. AND, when Steele’s “false” narrative, bought and paid for by HRC, turns out to be largely confirmed by the life-long Republican Mueller investigation, you need to have Mueller and all his lawyers “in on it.”

But as we know, there are die-hard adherents of virtually every conspiracy theory, including ones more irrational than this one.


Thanks for wading in on what the Intel agencies did, and thought, what Obama didn’t or couldn’t do regarding revealing Russian activity prior to the election…and pouring over the various what ifs.

It now does feel like an official spy v. spy T-Russia-IntelliSpygate Mad magazine edition 2019.

Appreciate your separating what the possible arguments could be from the right -

And that the Intel agencies did a supersecret, secret-beyond-secret mini lab to do a fake “Russia interfered” report can be detailed and verified that it was a purposeful pursuit of the facts that Russia had shown interested and WAS interfering in what voters were thinking about.

When you also look at whatever loosely built argument from the House Republican report, and said NO Russian influence, period you see more GOP railroading the argument…no collusion, you guys dreamed this up.

Just pulled up this NPR piece on what can be confirmed or refuted from Obama’s end as far as taking action against the Russians before (Obama privately said to Putin - knock it off) and McConnell would not allow the warning Obama wanted to give on Russian meddling.

Private warnings

Among other things, top U.S. intelligence officials — including then-CIA Director John Brennan — privately warned their Russian counterparts not to persist with their active measures. Obama himself told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to interfere in the election. These warnings did not work.


Obama administration officials also told reporters on background that Russian intelligence operatives were behind the cyberattacks that led to the release of emails stolen from political figures and institutions. Later, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson formally blamed the Russian government in an official statement.

Although it wasn’t universally accepted, the active measures campaign became a part of the political campaign itself. Trump and opponent Hillary Clinton traded barbs about the Russian interference during their debates.

Diplomatic response

After Election Day, Obama ordered the U.S. intelligence community to issue a public report about the Russian scheme. Once it had — and concluded Russia’s attack was aimed at helping Trump and hurting Clinton — the United States imposed a slate of punitive measures against Moscow. In addition to imposing new sanctions, Washington also expelled a number of Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York.

A partisan tightrope

Former Vice President Joe Biden also has complained that the White House wanted Republicans to join in a bipartisan statement announcing and condemning the interference campaign. In Biden’s telling, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wouldn’t go along.

But that didn’t stop then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., from alluding publicly to the Russian campaign in a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey. And Comey reportedly wanted to announce the active measures in an op-ed column, as Newsweek reported in March 2017. Two sources with knowledge about the matter told Newsweek that Obama administration officials blocked the effort.

This constant revision of the facts and respinning them to meet their objections is frightening - Make Russiagate go away…let’s try Spygate instead. The fact that T has power as does Barr makes it even scarier.

It should not be so difficult to identify and agree on the truth…when it comes to some of the fundamentals. Obviously norm-busting is the way now. :astonished:


Excellent conversation.

In my rereading of this thread I realized we learned something new this week about Brennan. Trump never actually went through with revoking his security clearance. He just said he did.

The White House said a month later that the president was ordering the revocation of Mr. Brennan’s clearance. But the White House never followed through with the complex bureaucratic work it would have taken to strip the clearance, according to a person familiar with the process.

How do you all think this will impact the other-side’s argument?


The trouble is that people who steadfastly refuse to even read the report of the Special Counsel just will not accept anything that appears in NPR, or, for that matter, in any of the rest of the normal media.

By the way, FOX has discontinued comments, and breitbart has declined in prominence. The new hotbed of lunacy online is the website of the Federal Society, of all things…

Once known for taking an interest in Supreme Court nominations (their right), and having members like George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband and currently fierce Trump critic; and Ted Olsen, Bush’s lawyer in Bush v. Gore, but also litigator in support of gay marriage, it now reads a lot like Infowars, with comments that are genuinely unhinged.


Two things to be thankful for, a POTUS that has a serious follow-through deficiency and a staff that has no problem just shining on his dumbest ideas.

As to why this is a story now, I don’t know…


Thx for the tip…yes the all-powerful Federalist Society which brought us Gorsuch and Kavanaugh…

A mecca for Righties…

Question- Isn’t George Conway Iii going a little rogue (or face saving)from his ‘alt right’ brethren - forming a group called the Checks and Balances group…some of whom are also Federalist Socity members? Not quite within the purview of the Federalists…but just to the side.


Yep. Conway’s going a lot rogue. Checks and Balances is a splinter group of the Federalist Society, formed on the eve of their last convention. Checks and Balances is specific for the purpose of pushing back against Trump.

On another related front, the staff of the now-defunct Weekly Standard–and some others–have formed a blog-podcast called “The Bulwark.” It is under the aegis of something called “Defending Democracy Together.” The goals of the latter conform pretty well with those of Checks and Balances.

I highly recommend "The Bulwark,"although, being that I’m not conservative, there are a few cringe-worth moments. One thing’s for sure: they are vehemently anti-Trump. They also advocate for a sane resolution to the immigration puzzle.

In my view, it is these rogue Republicans who will win the day for us.

1 Like

It’s amazing how many Right-leaning people believe Steele’s stuff is 100% fiction; even people who, reading on and between the lines, fancy themselves to be rationalists.

Thinking back, the biggest “hit” on the dossier–besides Cohen and Prague–has been the “salacious” part; as if there is some logical contradiction to “salacious” and “trump” appearing in the same sentence. In my view, the hookers and water sports meant Steele was onto something.


It doesn’t get more Reality TV than this…Hannity can amp up the (false) outrage and point to the (missing) facts. Yes, very true - salacious = smarmy = Trump.

Hannity is pablum for the ‘idiot’s delight’ meal, and wrapped in self-righteous anger about it. No facts necessary.

I think it just comes down to Pin the Tail on the Donkey…the children’s game where you must affix the blame onto someone, so it must be Steele. :carousel_horse:


Good find. I read most of the comparison and agree with the author. I am of the opinion of what Prof. Lawrence Tribe said on MSNBC rrecently, ÖPEN AN INQUIRY ALREADY Congress! The GOP reps in both houses will not support an Impeachment Inquiry or a hearing in the Senate. N
ow… If Trump keeps stepping on his dick in public statements like he did with the recent ABC interview and the poll numbers keeping dropping (the economy could slide toward recession - that will scare everyone…) maybe enough GOP Senators will do the right thing. I suppose that is wishful thinking especially since there is enough Russian money floating around to keep them all on board with the lie.


I wonder if the Trump-effect will lessen even with some of the base? I think if the tav returns and money laundering were made public by hearings in Congress - no more hiding behind the great unknown. Trump’s balloon is losing air. I think it is possible that even FOX talking heads will not be enough to keep the lie going. I sure hope do and will do what I can to help turn the tide.


There is also ~RepublicansForTheRuleofLaw.comn



Charlie Sykes of The Bulwark and George Will were on Bill Maher’s show on Friday. I haven’t watched it yet, but it could be interesting.

1 Like