BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, Editor-In-Chief, responds on the one year anniversary of the release of the so-called “Trump Dossier.” It’s all, of course, proper and warranted.
This is from the NYTimes.com, written by Ben Smith in the opinion section.
Exactly one year ago BuzzFeed published what’s now known simply as “the dossier”: a set of reports put together by a former British intelligence officer named Christopher Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign. The 35-page dossier suggested that the Russian government had both compromised and colluded with President-elect Donald Trump.
Our choice to publish the dossier was greeted by outrage from two sources. Journalistic traditionalists didn’t like the idea of sharing an unfiltered, unverified document with the public, whatever the caveats and context. NBC’s Chuck Todd told me on air, “You just published fake news.” Mr. Trump agreed. He described CNN’s reporting on the dossier as “fake news” and called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage.”
Correct. Label applied accurately.
But wait. The “dossier” is available online here. Read it. You be the judge. Golden showers and all.
But a year of government inquiries and blockbuster journalism has made clear that the dossier is unquestionably real news. That’s a fact that has been tacitly acknowledged even by those who opposed our decision to publish. It has helped journalists explain to their audience the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election. And Mr. Trump and his allies have seized on the dossier in their efforts to discredit the special counsel leading the investigation, Robert Mueller.
Because the dossier is specious. It is theoretical. It is unconfirmed and, further, disavowed. Contested. It is not a clear given. Persons specifically mentioned within its pages have proven that what was attributed to them was physically impossible and hence a bald-faced lie. Mueller has an agenda — as he is a good and proven friend and ally of James Comey — and has somehow magically found the only legal team in DC employing nothing but Demorats and those with anti-Trump agendas. Peter Strzok anyone? DC is literally festooned with attorneys. They’re a dime a dozen. Yet Mueller could only hire those who are Demorats? Ahem. Uh, yeah.
Further, the investigation by Mueller was spurred by an illegal action via another individual with “hurted feewings” and a personal revenge agenda, James Comey.
Without the dossier, Americans would have found it difficult to understand the actions of their elected representatives and government officials. Their posture toward Mr. Trump was, we now know even more comprehensively than we did in January 2017, shaped by Mr. Steele’s report. The Russia investigation, meanwhile, didn’t turn out to be some minor side story but instead the central challenge to Mr. Trump’s presidency.
Correct. Because Leftists like yourself made it so. What we are lacking, however, is something quite necessary in a civilized society and a nation given to the rule of law. That is commonly called evidence.
When we published the dossier, we knew a lot: We knew that it had been written by the former head of the Russia desk at Britain’s main foreign intelligence agency, a man whose job had made him a leading source on Russian espionage. We knew that key members of the Senate — Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat, and John McCain, the Arizona Republican — had acted on its contents. We had also learned that intelligence officials had briefed President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump on the dossier, and that the F.B.I. was already looking into it.
Hold up on that car wash. Harry Reid had an obvious agenda as does John McCain. McCain, presidential loser in 2008. McCain, who threatened to change his (R) to a (D) because he wasn’t sufficiently revered by the ‘phants.
McCain didn’t just “act” on the contents. This teeny-weeny bit from Breitbart.com:
Fusion GPS Admits They Used John McCain to Pass Anti-Trump Dossier to Obama-Era Intel Agencies
by Aaron Klein
EILAT, Israel — The founders of the controversial opposition research firm Fusion GPS admitted that they helped the researcher hired to compile the infamous, largely discredited 35-page dossier on President Donald Trump to share the document with Sen. John McCain.
The disclosure raises questions about whether McCain knew that the information he delivered to the intelligence community was actually an opposition document reportedly funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
McCain’s office did not reply yesterday to a Breitbart News request for comment on the matter.
Let’s make no mistake. McCain is all about McCain. Prototypical GOP EstabliHack. Quintessential. The source of the word RINO.
Back to Ben Smith.
We didn’t discount the arguments against publishing salacious allegations — which reporters do all the time in covering lawsuits, internal investigations or reports like Mr. Steele’s. And we understand why President Trump’s supporters remain furious at the airing of a disturbingly vivid unproven allegation about encounters with prostitutes.
But we never bought the notion, made by the traditionalists, that a main threat to journalism is that journalists might be too transparent with their audience. Keeping the reporting process wrapped in mystery only helps those who oppose the free press. This is why The New York Times posts leaked audio recordings, and why news organizations routinely publish raw court documents underlying their articles.
Of course you discounted the arguments. You published the entire thing. Disingenuous at best, lying outright at worst, Ben.
You admit that the dossier is an “unproven allegation.” Your own words.
Best practices for “standard journalism” historically, until the 70s, was at minimum two sources and, best yet, three sources. Others say that for every positive source there should be a negative source. That standard is now out the door. Completely. “Anonymous” sources are, even at major papers, sufficient. Depending upon the agenda, they are the best. Allegations. Hints. Rumors. All fair game in today’s American Media Maggot landscape.
We strongly believed that publishing the disputed document whose existence we and others were reporting was in the public interest.
Define “the public interest.” I dare you. Define pornography. Define proper. Define free speech. According to Leftists that varies. Depending upon the prevailing political prairie winds, tidal pull, sunspots, solar flares.
Since we published, the public has learned a great deal more about how seriously the F.B.I. took the dossier. The F.B.I., CNN reported, used the dossier to justify its effort to spy on an American citizen, and reimbursed Mr. Steele for some of his expenses. The BBC reported that the dossier was a “road map” to the F.B.I. investigation. Fox News recently reported that a top Department of Justice official met with Mr. Steele during the 2016 campaign. And on Tuesday, the public was given a glimpse, in the release of secret testimony, into the fierce battle between Senate Democrats and Republicans over the dossier and how the F.B.I. made use of it during the 2016 campaign.
Wait. Did Ben Smith just say that the “dossier” was utilized by the FBI to justify a FISA warrant request in order to surveil the Trump campaign prior to the election?
Yes. Confirming everything I have suspected up to this point. Thanks Ben. This is an astounding, amazing revelation. Is anyone listening or reading? Does anyone care? Do you Grok the implications of this? Confirmation of a soft coup upon a potential sitting administration? Early? Prior to the actual election? And continuing post-election?
As the seriousness of the Russia investigation has become clearer, the pro-Trump line has shifted from dismissing the dossier to stressing its role in the investigation: The dossier, some of Mr. Trump’s defenders now say, played too big a part, given that a portion of Mr. Steele’s funding came from political enemies of Mr. Trump, including the Democratic National Committee. “Are we in the midst of a major criminal investigation against the president of the United States as a result of this dodgy dossier?” asked Tom Fitton, a Trump ally, on “Fox & Friends” recently.
Because Leftists, Demorats and the American Media Maggots continue to stress the role in the investigation. Yes. The dossier was a major component in a fated, illegal and conspiratorial, false application for a FISA warrant in order to destroy the Trump campaign.
While Mr. Trump’s camp dismiss the dossier as malicious fiction or pure political opportunism, some elements have been corroborated. For example, that the Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort hid payments for his work in Ukraine, as federal authorities have alleged; that the Russian diplomat Mikhail Kalugin was withdrawn suddenly from the United States; and that Mr. Trump sought, but never consummated, business deals in Russia.
Odd. Now Manafort is suing Robert Mueller. From TheHill.com:
Manafort sues Mueller, challenging scope of Russia investigation
by Katie Bo Williams
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is suing the Department of Justice and special counsel Robert Mueller in an attempt to kneecap the federal probe into alleged coordination between the campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
In a court filing on Wednesday, lawyers for Manafort argue that the order establishing Mueller’s investigation is overly broad and not permitted under Justice Department regulations.
Mueller should be ordered to stop investigating any of Manafort’s conduct that doesn’t relate to his time as campaign chair, the suit says, and the appointment itself should be declared invalid.
“By ignoring the boundaries of the jurisdiction granted to the Special Counsel in the Appointment Order, Mr. Mueller acted beyond the scope of his authority. Mr. Mueller’s actions must be set aside,” the filing states.
Manafort, whom Mueller is prosecuting on tax fraud and money laundering charges, is also suing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who issued the order in May appointing Mueller as special counsel.
That appointment, according to Manafort’s lawyers, was “arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance” with a law governing the implementation of federal regulations — in this case, the regulation that allows for the appointment of a special counsel.
Ben Smith continues.
Mr. Steele also reported, in pages submitted just 11 days after a Russian lawyer reportedly promised Mr. Trump’s aides negative information on Hillary Clinton during a meeting in Trump Tower, that “the Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”
Wait. Isn’t that what oppo research is all about? And why the Demorats have been doing that for years against Republicans to no one’s chagrin? Oppo research illegal? Unlawful? Please.
“Valuable intelligence” is in the eye of the reader. It’s only “valuable” if it’s true. Perhaps that is what the Leftist feared most?
But wait, there’s more. If you haven’t larfed yet you’ll larf at this.
“One large portion of the dossier is crystal-clear, certain, consistent and corroborated,” a C.I.A. veteran, John Sipher, wrote recently. “Russia’s goal all along has been to do damage to America and our leadership role in the world.”
Well fuck me. I never saw that coming. Up until Trump considered becoming president, the Russians and, before them, the Soviets were always our best friends. Right?
Yes. Leftists and the American Media Maggots are in truth that stupid. Demorats knew it all along. Millennials and GenZ’rs are incredible and willing dupes.
For all these reasons, the chorus of criticism of our decision to publish has faded. I haven’t had a single person approach me to say, “I wish I hadn’t read the dossier, and wish I had less insight into the forces at play in America.” Do you feel that way? Does anyone?
Nope. Because it continues to provide insight into your skewed and clear agenda.
If it isn’t a Demorat thought or idea, it isn’t valid.
Simple as that.
It is you, Ben Smith, who continues to emphasize the moribund status of US journalism.
And you wonder why you bleed readers and advertisers.