Oleg BurunovAll materialsWrite to the authorThe notorious Steele Dossier, a compilation of allegations and claims that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government in order to win the 2016 US presidential election, has been discredited by American investigators as unreliable and based largely on anonymous sources.Donald Trump’s former State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, has slammed House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff over his support of the Steele Dossier aimed at discrediting the 45th US president.
Appearing as a guest host on the ABC talk show "The View", Ortagus told Schiff, "the main source of the Steele Dossier was indicted for lying to the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] most of the key claims in that dossier. Do you have any reflections on your role in promoting this to the American people?"
The ex-State Department spokeswoman was referring to Igor Danchenko, the Russian-born analyst, who is charged with making false statements to the FBI, with the Justice Department saying that he allegedly lied about the source of the information provided to the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) gives closing remarks during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.Schiff responded by insisting that “whoever lied to the FBI or lied to Christopher Steele should be prosecuted, and they are”.
In a message to the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Ortagus then said: "You spread disinformation yourself, for years, by promoting this [the Steele Dossier]", adding that many people were concerned about Schiff's "culpability in all of this".
This was followed by the 61-year-old saying that he “completely” disagrees with Ortagus’ “premise”.
In a subsequent interview with Fox News, Ortagus mentioned her appearance on “The View”, admitting that her hands “were shaking a little because I knew it was just incredibly important in that moment to be able to hold him accountable, not for the Republican Party but for everybody who wants to seek truth and justice”.
"I think the big problem is that we always knew that this dossier, the media always knew, that it was unverified", she underscored, adding that Schiff essentially "took a document totally unverified, that had not been vetted properly" and then defended and promoted it.
“Well, now what have we learned: people are being indicted who were involved in this dossier. They’re being indicted for lying and it’s quite possible that this is just a Russian disinformation project, so it’s just sort of mind blowing”, Ortagus said.
The 35-page Steele Dossier, published a week before Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, alleged that Russian intelligence had compromising information on the US president and that the Kremlin and Trump had “extensive” secret back channels.
The dossier, although thoroughly discredited almost immediately after being leaked, became part of the Democrats three-year campaign accusing Trump of colluding with Russia. The collusion claims were finally debunked with the release of a report by then-US Special Counsel Robert Mueller in April 2019.
As Steele Dossier Source Indicted, Users Say Durham Will Unleash ‘Mother of All Conspiracy Cases’4 November, 16:07 GMTEven after the dossier was debunked, both Danchenko and his employer, former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, defended their work. In a 2020 interview with The New York Times, Danchenko argued that his job was only to gather “raw intelligence” and was simply passing it on to Steele, who, in turn, has continued to insist that he still believes Trump colluded with Russia.The 45th US president himself has repeatedly branded the allegations of “collusion with Russia” as nothing but a “witch hunt” and “the Russia hoax”.