You may recall back in January, when BuzzFeed reported on an unverified dossier which allegedly showed that Donald Trump had deep connections with Russia, and Russia had “blackmail material” on Trump. At the time, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the release and reporting of this dossier, which was written by British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Over time though, more and more of the information alleged in the dossier seems to have come very close to being corroborated by other sources, including leaked US intelligence. This has given more credence to these documents.
Today comes breaking news, reported by CNN, that US Intelligence had intercepted conversations between Russian officials prior to the election in which the Russians had discussed having in their possession “derogatory” information on then Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. There are apparently three sources that corroborate this information, including two former intelligence officials and one congressional source (most likely a congressman).
One source said that it was discussed that “they (the Russians) had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information.”
At face value this would certainly seem to corroborate more of Steele’s dossier report which also suggested that Russia held blackmail material on Trump and his administration. It would be one of many apparent corroborations between this stunning document and other intelligence sources.
Of course the White House is denying allegations of such, in telling CNN: “This is yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the President. The reality is, a review of the President’s income from the last ten years showed he had virtually no financial ties at all. There appears to be no limit to which the President’s political opponents will go to perpetuate this false narrative, including illegally leaking classified material. All this does is play into the hands of our adversaries and put our country at risk.”
If these leaks are in fact true, and the Russians do have derogatory information about the Trump administration, this opens the door for potential blackmail. If Trump decides to side against Russia, will Putin release information that could be damaging to Trump, his administration and perhaps his family? If so, this means that our government is being held hostage, in a sense, by Russia.
Coincidentally, just last week, a Russian bank called Alfa Bank filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier. It is doubtful that BuzzFeed will be held liable, as the First Amendment should protect their rights to publish free speech of a third party. It’ll be interesting to follow this story as more information is released and/or leaked.