President Trump announced his return to work on Tuesday following the holiday break — though his definition of “work” includes activities like watching Fox and Friends and golfing instead of focusing on any pressing policy issues.
Early Tuesday morning, before he teed off from his Florida resort, Trump fired off a tweet laden with capital letters about the “bogus” Steele dossier, attacking both the FBI and Hillary Clinton in the process.
WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2017
Even though the president misspelled the Twitter handle in question, he was responding to a segment on Fox News’ morning gossip show, which sought to discredit the infamous dossier. The compilation grew out of opposition research conducted during the 2016 presidential primaries at the behest of wealthy conservative donors. After Trump secured the nomination, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele was hired by contractors for the Clinton campaign to continue the research and compile information regarding Trump’s deep ties to Russia.
The document—which was never intended to be made public and therefore wasn’t vetted — contains a number of outlandish claims, leading many to view the entire dossier with a healthy dose of skepticism. But in the months since the dossier first leaked, independent investigations by the U.S. intelligence community have corroborated key details first uncovered in the dossier, contrary to Trump’s assertion that the entire document is “bogus.”
Allegations contained within the dossier that former Trump advisor Carter Page met with Russian officials in the months before the 2016 election were subsequently confirmed by Page himself during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. The dossier was even used by the FBI to secure a FISA warrant to monitor Page’s communications with Russian officials.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager and a registered lobbyist for foreign governments, was also named in the dossier, allegedly for working with Russian agents to gather damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Months later, the New York Times published details of Manafort’s extensive contacts with Russian intelligence officials and in October he was the first person to be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia.
Earlier this month, the former director of UK intelligence agency MI-6 added his voice to the growing chorus of colleagues and intelligence officers who have defended the credibility of both the dossier and its author.