The Russian government is denying it has any compromising information on President-elect Donald Trump in the wake of an unsubstantiated dossier about the New York businessman’s ties to Moscow.
The Kremlin, by way of President Putin’s spokesman, said that the media reports were a “total fake”, and an”obvious attempt to harm our bilateral relations.” Mr. Trump lambasted the media reports on the controversial intelligence by way of Twitter, and used Russia’s denial as proof that they were not involved.
Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.” Very unfair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists. Probably…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017
The dossier, which contains mistakes and unverifiable information, connects Trump and Moscow in a conspiracy to help get the 2016 Republican nominee elected.
The brief was written by a British spy named Christopher Steele. After his identity as the author of the report was revealed, Steele went into hiding, according to reports. Mr. Steele lives south of London, and apparently asked his neighbor Mike Hopper to look after his residence while he went away for a while.
“I was just about ready to go to work, and he called me and asked me to come in, gave me the key to the house,” Hopper told the Washington Post. “He said that the family would be away for a while, would I mind looking after the animals?”
Although U.S. intelligence agencies have been unable to confirm the wild information the dossier contains, they chose to include an appendix regarding the issue in Trump’s official briefing on Russian interference in the U.S. election. Kellyanne Conway, a spokeswoman for Trump, said that the president-elect was not aware of the dossier or the information it contained.
“He has said that he is not aware of that,” Conway said on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
However, CNN reported Thursday that FBI Director James Comey briefed Trump specifically on this issue. President Obama and Vice President Biden were also briefed on the existence and content of the dossier.
“It’s something that obviously the agency thinks they have to track down,” Biden said. The outgoing vice president added that he was surprised that it “made it to the point where the agency, the FBI thought they had to pursue it.”
The only thing that is for sure at this moment is the fact that this is all reading like a Tom Clancy spy novel, but this plot line might be even crazier.
[Al Jazeera] [Washington Post] [The Hill] [Business Insider] [Photo courtesy David Goldman/AP]