Luke Harding, journalist and author of “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win,” explains why he believes the Trump-Russia dossier is not ‘fake news’. Following is a transcript of the video.
The ‘Steele dossier’ was authored by former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele. The controversial report claims that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia. Trump has called the report “fake news.”
Luke Harding: Well I mean, saying the dossier is fake news doesn’t make it fake news. It’s just an assertion.
My name is Luke Harding. I’m a journalist and a writer. And my new book is called “Collusion” and it’s about Donald Trump and Russia.
According to people I’ve talked to, who are kind of close to “Steele”, believe that the dossier is not flawless. One or two things may be wrong. He acknowledges that there’s raw intelligence but broadly he thinks it’s right. And he says it’s between 70-90% correct. That’s his kind of assessment. Which for an intelligence report is pretty good.
As we learn more about the Trump team and engagements with Russia, we were told to begin with, “nothing to see here.” I think the dossier kind of is standing up pretty well.
The thing about intelligence is it’s kind of not black and white. It’s sort of grey. Some sources are better than others. But my understanding is that even though Steele hasn’t revealed who his sources are we don’t know who they are. They’re sources that have kind of proven themselves in other areas.
For example, Steele read a whole lot of reports about the war in Ukraine in 2014, using these same sources that were behind the Trump dossier. And they were well received by US intelligence, who were actually sent up to John Kerry in the State Department and they were accurate.
Steele was hired by research intelligence agency Fusion GPS to investigate Trump.
Critics of the dossier say Fusion GPS is a “gun-for-fire” agency for opposition research.
Luke Harding: There’s been a lot of kind of noise about Fusion GPS but really that’s all sort of process. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who paid for the dossier. We know first of all it was a rich Republican who didn’t like Trump. Then the Democrats took over the contract.
But essentially the key question is, is it true? Is it true?
And we now have a special prosecutor, Bob Mueller who’s examining all of this. We have Trump firing the head of the FBI, James Comey because of “the Russia thing.” Which was kind of vexing him, and we have a kind of– we have a sort of process going forward to try and verify all of this and I think really that’s all that Steele wanted.
Steele wanted his allegations to be taken seriously and he wanted the US with its kind of vast resources and investigative powers to examine it.
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