Below are 12 points of corroboration of the Steele dossier, some from latest intelligence leaks. (As the author of the New York Times best seller, Contract on America, Trump’s Russian Mob ties, noted below, are also of particular interest to me.).
The former head of M16’s Moscow desk detailed meetings between top Trump and Putin aides, named, to arrange:
· Trump would soften US policy on Ukraine. In exchange, Russia would hack and release material damaging to Clinton.1
· Trump would work to remove sanctions against Russia if elected president.2
· Putin would help elect Trump, and Trump would receive a 19% stake in Rosneft, the Russian oil conglomerate.3 The point person for this deal was Putin ally IGOR SECHIN, head of Rosneft, who met repeatedly with a Trump advisor.4
The allegations of that 35-page intelligence dossier have been broadly supported by these developments:
1. The dossier’s source was identified in January as Christopher Steele, the former head of the British M16’s Moscow bureau and a spy of impeccable credentials. He drew upon his “gold-plated” Moscow contacts for this dossier.5
2. July 2016. In Moscow on July 7, Trump advisor Carter Page refuses to discuss Russian contacts on his trip.6 This aligns with the dossier report that he met then with SECHIN and Igor Diveykin.7 Diveykin’s portfolio includes US elections.8
3. July. Trump reps soften an RNC platform plank on Ukraine. Days later, WikiLeaks releases hacked DNC emails.9
4. Aug. 19. Paul Manafort resigns as Trump chair after news reports confirm Russian contacts and payoffs in the dossier.10
5. Dec. 7. 19.5% of Rosneft is sold to two shell companies with untraceable ownership, one just formed on Dec. 5.11
6. Dec. 8. Carter Page, the Trump advisor named in the dossier as brokering the 19% Rosneft deal, speaks to TASS while in Moscow. He admits meeting Rosneft executives there to talk about this sale of 19.5% of Rosneft.12
7. Dec. 26. An ex-KGB chief, Oleg Erovinkin, a key liaison between Putin and SECHIN, is found murdered in the back of a car in Moscow. Erovinkin was believed to be a source for the dossier’s reports on Sechin meetings.13
8. Jan. 2017. Four other believed sources for Steele, tied to US election hacking, are arrested by Russia for treason.14
9. Feb. 10. Multiple US law enforcement and intelligence officials corroborate items of the Steele dossier to CNN.15
10. Feb. 14. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after, contrary to his denials, leaks expose his phone calls in December 2016 with Russia’s US ambassador about sanctions relief.16 His Russian contacts were noted in the dossier.
11. Feb. 14. Explosive reports by the NY Times and CNN of close ties between Trump aides and Russians throughout 2016.17 Top Trump aides “were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.”18
12. Feb 10-15. Media reports detail cover-ups by Trump spokespeople on Russian contacts by Flynn, other Trump aides.19
Pushback by Trump and aides on the allegations in the Steele Dossier:
· At his first news conference on Jan. 12, Sean Spicer said that Trump “does not know” Carter Page.20 But Trump in March 2016 had named Page second among a select set of advisors,21 and Page reported several meetings with Trump.22
· The dossier alleged that Trump’s lawyer and right-hand man, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin envoys in Prague in the last week of August or first week of September 2016 to coordinate Trump-Russian efforts.23 Cohen vehemently denied this.24 In view of the daily unraveling of lies about other Trump Russian contacts, his alibis are dubious:
o Curiously, Cohen authenticated a late August trip to California, but offered no such specifics for early September.25
o In a videochat session, Cohen flashed pages of his passport to a reporter but did not allow scrutiny of it.26 That videochat showed trips summer/fall 2016 to Paris and elsewhere within the 26 Schengen countries that allow free internal travel, i.e. to Prague.27 In my encounters, those waving pages at me without allowing review were frauds.
o Cohen gained notoriety in 2016 for spinning two outrageous lies28 and for obscene and violent rants to reporters.29
o Cohen has offered four contradictory stories within days regarding the recent New York Times report of his dealing with a notorious Russian Mob-linked multiple felon also close to Trump on a Ukrainian proposal delivered to Michael Flynn (Washington Monthly, Feb 23, 2017, “Mobbed Up?”, http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/02/23/mobbed-up/; Business Insider, Feb 21, 2017, “Trump's lawyer has told 4 different stories about the Russia-Ukraine 'peace plan' debacle,” http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-russia-ukraine-peace-plan-2017-2.)
o As lies about Trump-Russia contacts unravel, the unsourced rumor that some other Michael Cohen of his same birth year went to Prague per the dossier30 is increasingly fishy. Surely then fronting for some other Donald Trump!
o Konstanin Kosachev was named in the dossier as a likely contact of Cohen in Prague.31 A Russian senator close to Putin, he had in fact made pointed statements to Russian media critical of Obama and supportive of Trump.32
Trump’s longstanding ties to Russian money and the Russian underworld.
· In 2008, Trump’s son Donald Jr. told a real estate conference, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”34 He added, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”33 Sources on the longstanding role of Russian money, some underworld linked, in Trump businesses are cited at campaignwatch.org.
· Notable was Trump’s close association through 2010 with Felix Sater, who dropped in at Trump Tower in July 2016 for a “confidential” visit.35 At a 2007 property opening, Trump stood on the dais with Sater, a partner in the project.36 In 2010, Sater had an office in Trump tower and a business card listing him as a “senior advisor to Donald Trump.”37 They traveled together with family members in Colorado and Moscow.38 Sater, the son of a reputed Russian Mob boss, was jailed for stabbing a broken glass into a commodity broker’s face.39 Another felony conviction was for a $40 million, Mafia-linked stock fraud and money laundering scheme.40 Forbes recently uncovered emails and sworn statements “that indicate Sater was closer to Trump, his organization and his children than previously revealed.”41
· But as with Russian liaison Carter Page, for example, who Trump named as an advisor in 2016 but did “not know” in 2017,42 Trump suffered strange memory loss about the Mob-linked felon Sater. Trump repeatedly testified in court and told the press in recent years that he barely remembers Sater.43 In sworn testimony in 2013, Trump said he wouldn’t recognize him in the same room, making a similar statement to an AP reporter in 2015.44 The credibility gap between Steele, M16’s former Moscow chief, and Trump, who has consistently lied about Russian connections, is quite stark.
UPDATE: The New York Times reported on Feb. 19 that Trump’s attorney and right-hand man, Michael Cohen, and the Russian-Mob-linked Felix Sater met with a Putin-backed Ukrainian politician, Andrii Artemenko, to advance a proposal, reportedly backed by Putin aides, that could lead to US acceptance of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.45 It landed on the desk of Michael Flynn the week before he resigned.46 It came curiously from Trump business fronts, not diplomatic channels. But dropping US sanctions against Russia in return for releasing the promised 19% share of Rosneft to Trump would be just business. Artemenko is currently under investigation for treason by The Ukraine for his part in this proposal.47
The well-supported allegations of the Steele Dossier, if confirmed, would clearly surpass the standard for impeachable offenses and constitute high treason. The US Congress must act with urgency to conduct a thorough probe of these alleged Trump-Russian dealings. Anything less would put this nation at grave peril.
1 The Steele Intelligence dossier, a 35-page PDF file downloadable, for example, at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984/Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.pdf; pp. 1-2, 7-9, 11, 15, 17, 22-23, 28-29. Comprehensive reviews of the correspondence between the allegations of the Steele dossier and verifiable events are provided in several reports, including Business Insider, Feb11, 2017, “The timeline of Trump's ties with Russia lines up with allegations of conspiracy and misconduct,” http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-russia-ties-michael-flynn-dossier-2017-2, and CNN, Feb 16, 2017, Timeline: What we know about the Trump campaign, his White House and Russia,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/politics/trump-russia-timeline/index.html.
2 Steele dossier, pp. 9, 15, 28-31.
3 On the deal for a 19% stake of Rosneft to Trump, Steele dossier, p. 30. On Russia helping Trump with the election, Steele dossier, pp. 1-2, 7, 11, 15, 17, 28-29.
4 Steel dossier, pp. 9, 30-31.
5 Daily Mail, UK, Jan 14, 2017, “British former MI6 spy was so desperate to get his Trump 'dirty dossier' out 'he worked for nothing,'” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4119814/British-former-MI6-spy-desperate-Trump-dirty-dossier-worked-nothing.html. The Independent, UK, “Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele's frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months,” Jan 14, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-russia-dossier-file-investigation-hacking-christopher-steele-mi6-a7526901.html.
6 Reuters, July 7, 2016. “Trump adviser, on Moscow visit, dodges questions about U.S. policy on Russia.” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-adviser-russia-idUSKCN0ZN294.
7 Steel dossier, pp. 9, 30-31.
8 Yahoo, Sept 23, 2016, “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin,” https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-s-intel-officials-probe-ties-between-trump-adviser-and-kremlin-175046002.html. See Steele dossier, p. 9.
9 Business Insider, Feb 11, 2017, “The timeline of Trump's ties with Russia lines up with allegations of conspiracy and misconduct,” http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-russia-ties-michael-flynn-dossier-2017-2.
10 CNN, Feb 16, 2017, Timeline: What we know about the Trump campaign, his White House and Russia,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/politics/trump-russia-timeline/index.html; Steel dossier, pp. 7, 18-21, 32-35.
1 Reuters, Jan 25, 2017, “How Russia sold its oil jewel: without saying who bought it,” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-rosneft-privatisation-insight-idUSKBN1582OH.
12 TASS, Moscow, Dec 12, 2017, “Former adviser to Trump met with top managers of "Rosneft" in Moscow,” http://tass.ru/ekonomika/3866013.
13 The Telegraph, UK, Jan 27, 2017, “Mystery death of ex-KGB chief linked to MI6 spy's dossier on Donald Trump,” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/27/mystery-death-ex-kgb-chief-linked-mi6-spys-dossier-donald-trump/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw.
14 NY Times, Jan 24, 2017, “Russians Charged With Treason Worked in Office Linked to Election Hacking,” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/world/europe/russia-hacking-us-election.html?_r=1.
15 CNN, Feb 10, 2017, “US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/10/politics/russia-dossier-update/?iid=ob_homepage_deskrecommended_pool.
16 Washington Post, Feb 9, 2017, “National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/national-security-adviser-flynn-discussed-sanctions-with-russian-ambassador-despite-denials-officials-say/2017/02/09/f85b29d6-ee11-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_usrussia-%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.a181b67ffb0d. NY Times, Feb 14, 2017, “The Missing Pieces in the Flynn Story,” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/opinion/the-missing-pieces-in-the-flynn-story.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region. CNN, Feb 16, 2017, Timeline: What we know about the Trump campaign, his White House and Russia,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/politics/trump-russia-timeline/index.html.
17 NY Times, Feb 14, 2017, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence,” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/russia-intelligence-communications-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0; CNN Feb 15, 2017, “Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/donald-trump-aides-russians-campaign/index.html.
18 CNN, Feb 15, 2017, as cited in the prior note.
19 Huffington Post, Feb 14, 2017, “Trump Administration Caught In Lie About Campaign Contacts With Russians,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-campaign-russia_us_58a3ca36e4b03df370dba994?vfn8felgioeuvunmi&; CNN Feb 15, 2017, “Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/donald-trump-aides-russians-campaign/index.html.
20 CNN, Jan 12, 2017, “Trump news conference: CNN's Reality Check team vets the claims,” http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/11/politics/donald-trump-news-conference-fact-check/.
21 Washington Post, March 21, 2016, “A transcript of Donald Trump’s meeting with The Washington Post editorial board,”
22 CNN, Dec. 13, 2016, “Fired Trump Adviser Tells Moscow Audience How Great Exxon CEO Would Be For Russia,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rex-tillerson-secretary-state-russia-carter-page_us_584f70ede4b0bd9c3dfe7991.
23 Steele dossier, pp. 18, 30-32, 34; page 34 has the most precise dating of the meeting as the last week of August or first of September, 2016.
24 The Atlantic, Jan 10, 2017, “It Is Fake News Meant to Malign Mr. Trump,” https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/michael-cohen-it-is-fake-news-meant-to-malign-mr-trump/512762/. Also Buzzfeed, Jan 11, 2017, “Kremlin Says Trump Claims Are ‘Fake’ While Trump Slams ‘Political Witch Hunt,’” https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosebuchanan/kremlin-says-trump-claims-fake-and-aimed-at-damaging-us-russ?utm_term=.miwWBBeXk3#.mhJ5ggbXED.
25 The Atlantic, Jan 10, 2017, cited above. Cohen provided several other postings and photos to the media documenting his trip to California at the end of August, but only the general statement that he was in New York in September.
26 Yahoo, Jan 11, 2017, “Trump Attorney Michael Cohen, ‘I have no Kremlin Connections,’” https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-attorney-michael-cohen-i-have-no-russian-kremlin-connections-071908867.html
27 Yahoo, Jan 11, 2017, as cited above. Yahoo’s reporter wrote, “Based on the passport pages he showed to Yahoo News, Cohen made multiple visits to Schengen countries, from which he could have traveled on to the Czech Republic, including a trip to Paris last year.” Given the dossier’s specific allegation of a visit by Cohen to Prague in August or early September, the only relevant trips are those in that time period.
28 On August 17, when Trump’s trailing position in the national polls was pointed out by a CNN anchor--he was down 7.5 points at the time, prior to the Comey announcement of a new investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails--Cohen retorted “Says who,” repeating “says who,” and then adding, “which polls?” (CNN, Aug. 18, 2016, “Trump's lawyer asks 'says who' when told Trump is losing.” http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/17/politics/donald-trump-michael-cohen-polls/). Cohen told CNN on October 18 that allegations of sexual assault by Trump were “nonsense” because the women alleging them were too unattractive for Trump’s advances (NY Magazine, Oct. 19, 2016, “Donald Trump’s Attorney Says Trump’s Accusers ‘Aren’t Women He’d Be Attracted To’,” http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/10/trumps-lawyer-accusers-arent-women-hed-be-attracted-to.html).
29 Cohen has repeatedly used violent and threatening language against reporters, retweeting, for example, “let’s gut her” about Megan Kelly (Slate, Nov 17, 2016, “Megyn Kelly: Fox News Had to Explain to Trump Lawyer Why It Would Be Bad if I Were Killed,” http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/11/17/megyn_kelly_trump_s_lawyer_threatened_me_seemed_ok_with_me_getting_physically.html). In an extended, obscene diatribe to Daily Beast reporters, Cohen told them that if they wrote a story using the word “rape” with reference to Trump, “what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting,” adding “I’m going to mess your life up” (Slate, ibid.)
30 Buzzfeed, Jan 11, 2017, “Kremlin Says Trump Claims Are ‘Fake’ While Trump Slams ‘Political Witch Hunt,’” https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosebuchanan/kremlin-says-trump-claims-fake-and-aimed-at-damaging-us-russ?utm_term=.miwWBBeXk3#.mhJ5ggbXED.
31 Steele dossier, p. 18.
32 Washington Monthly, Jan 11, 2017, “Alleged Russian Liaison to Trump Campaign Was In News Yesterday Hyping Trump and Talking Trash,” http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/01/11/alleged-russian-liaison-to-trump-campaign-was-in-news-yesterday-hyping-trump-and-talking-trash/.
33 Washington Post, June 17, 2016, “Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-financial-ties-to-russia-and-his-unusual-flattery-of-vladimir-putin/2016/06/17/dbdcaac8-31a6-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html.
34 Washington Post, June 17, 2016, as cited above.
35 Politico, Aug 26, 2016, “Trump’s mob-linked ex-associate gives $5,400 to campaign,” http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-russia-felix-sater-227434.
36 New York Times, Apr. 5, 2016, “Donald Trump Settled a Real Estate Lawsuit, and a Criminal Case Was Closed,” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/politics/donald-trump-soho-settlement.html. See several other additional sources cited for Trump’s partnership with Sater in this project and his featured role up with Trump and other partner on the dais at its opening at campaignwatch.org .
37 Forbes, Oct 3, 2016, “Donald Trump And The Felon: Inside His Business Dealings With A Mob-Connected Hustler,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardbehar/2016/10/03/donald-trump-and-the-felon-inside-his-business-dealings-with-a-mob-connected-hustler/#196649ae1e02; Washington Post, May 17, 2016, “Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-mafia-linked-figure-describes-association-with-trump/2016/05/17/cec6c2c6-16d3-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html. See addition sources cited at campaignwatch.org .
38 Washington Post, May 17, 2016, as cited above. See addition sources cited at campaignwatch.org .
39 Washington Post, May 17, 2016, as cited above. See addition sources cited at campaignwatch.org .
40 Washington Post, May 17, 2016, as cited above. See addition sources cited at campaignwatch.org .
41 Forbes, Oct 3, 2016, “Donald Trump And The Felon: Inside His Business Dealings With A Mob-Connected Hustler,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardbehar/2016/10/03/donald-trump-and-the-felon-inside-his-business-dealings-with-a-mob-connected-hustler/#196649ae1e02.
42 See above.
43 Washington Post, May 17, 2016, “Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-mafia-linked-figure-describes-association-with-trump/2016/05/17/cec6c2c6-16d3-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html.
44 Washington Post, May 17, 2016, as cited above.
45 New York Times, Feb. 19, 2017, “A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates,” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/us/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-russia.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0.
47 New York Times, Feb. 21, 2017, “Ukraine Lawmaker Who Aided Trump Associates on Pact Faces Treason Inquiry,” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/world/europe/andrii-artemenko-ukraine-russia.html.