Steele dossier’s main claims ‘likely false,’ admits journalist who helped launch Russiagate

Steele dossier’s main claims ‘likely false,’ admits journalist who helped launch Russiagate
The explosive dossier that fueled Russiagate and served as justification for snooping on a top Trump aide contains numerous claims that are “likely false,” according to one of the first journalists to report on the document.

Michael Isikoff, whose report on alleged Trump-Russia links was cited extensively by the FBI to secure a warrant to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page, has conceded that many of the dossier’s most scandalous allegations have yet to be supported by real evidence.

“When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there's good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false,” Isikoff, who writes for Yahoo News, said in an interview.

Most notably, the dossier alleges that Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, traveled to Prague to help coordinate “collusion” with the Russians. As Isikoff pointed out, Cohen vehemently denied the allegation in congressional testimony – and his recent plea deal for unrelated, non-collusion crimes signals that investigators think the ex-attorney is telling the truth.

“Why wasn’t [Cohen] charged with lying about it? That would have been as serious a lie as the lie he told about the Trump Tower Moscow project,” Isikoff argued. “All the signs to me are that Mueller is reaching his end game, and we may see less than many people want him to find.”

Isikoff also expressed doubts about the existence of the so-called “pee tape” which Russia is purportedly using to blackmail Trump – perhaps the most well-known and salacious claim made in the dossier.

However, Isikoff said he thought that the dossier was correct in asserting that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the election and “help Trump’s campaign.”

“In broad strokes, Christopher Steele was clearly onto something, that there was a major Kremlin effort to interfere in our elections, that they were trying to help Trump’s campaign, and that there was multiple contacts between various Russian figures close to the government and various people in Trump’s campaign,” he said.

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The dossier was authored by ex-spy Christopher Steele, who had been commissioned by Fusion GPS, a firm under contract with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Isikoff’s skepticism is particularly noteworthy because he parroted many of Steele’s claims in a Sept. 23, 2016 article which the FBI cited in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on Trump aide Carter Page. The FBI repeatedly claimed that it “did not believe” that Steele was the direct source for Isikoff’s article – but it was later revealed that the ex-spy had in fact briefed the reporter at the direction of Fusion GPS.

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