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- 2d agoExplainer: what is in the Trump-Russia dossier John McCain passed to the FBI?
- 2d agoThe story of the Trump dossier: secret sources, an airport rendezvous, and John McCain
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Tillerson wants seat ‘at that table’ for climate talks
Full Trump press conference – video
Trump attacks media and intelligence community in press conference – video
Explainer: what is in the Trump-Russia dossier John McCain passed to the FBI?
The big picture
What does the dossier which John McCain passed to FBI chief James Comey say?
It says Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years”. Moscow’s aim is “to encourage splits and divisions in the western alliance” and to upend the “ideals-based international order” set up after the second world war. Putin’s preference, according to the report, is for a return to the “Great Power” politics of the 19th century, where big states pursue their own interests.
The dossier says that Trump was offered “various sweetener business deals” by the Kremlin, but turned them down. The Kremlin also supplied Trump with “a regular flow of intelligence”, including on the Democrats and other political rivals.
Russian spies put together compromising dossiers on both Clinton and Trump, the dossier says. The Clinton one was innocuous and mostly included bugged conversations.
The Trump material, by contrast, was explosive. It includes lurid details from Trump’s visit in 2013 Moscow for the Miss Universe beauty pageant. According to the dossier, Trump stayed in the Ritz Carlton hotel, in the same suite used by Barack Obama. It says Russia’s FSB spy agency obtained compromising sexual material – kompromat – from the hotel suite. “FSB has compromised TRUMP through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him,” it says.
Is it true?
No one could quibble with the report’s section on geopolitics. It’s undoubtedly true that Putin has sought to weaken western institutions and the transatlantic alliance, plus the EU. Over the past 16 years he has sought to re-establish Russia as an indispensable global player, and to challenge what Moscow sees as unfair US hegemony.
The sex claims about Trump are ultimately unknowable and what happened inside the Ritz Carlton is a matter of speculation. Trump dismissed the report in its entirety at his press conference on Wednesday as “fake news”…
Updated at 6.08pm GMT
The story of the Trump dossier: secret sources, an airport rendezvous, and John McCain
The extraordinary but unverified documents published on Tuesday on Donald Trump’s ties with Moscow began life as a piece of opposition research, which has become as much a part of US politics as yard signs and coloured balloons.
There is a small industry of research and investigative firms in Washington, typically staffed by a mix of former journalists and security officials, adept at finding information about politicians that the politicians would rather stay hidden. The firms often do not know who exactly is hiring them; the request could come from a law firm acting on behalf of a client from one of the parties.
In this case, the request for opposition research on Donald Trumpcame from one of his Republican opponents in the primary campaign. The research firm then hired one of its sub-contractors who it used regularly on all things Russian: a retired western European former counter-intelligence official, with a long history of dealing with the shadow world of Moscow’s spooks and siloviki(securocrats).
Updated at 6.17pm GMT