It is now undisputed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC paid for the infamous Trump dossier (though as Andy McCarthy notes, the media is characterizing the transaction as paying “for the research that led to the dossier”). What is the response of Democrats and their media friends to this upsetting news?
The main response I’ve heard is that it doesn’t matter who paid for the dossier. What matters is whether the allegations contained therein are true. To cite one example out of many, James Clapper says:
With respect to the dossier itself, the key thing is it doesn’t matter who paid for it. It’s what the dossier said and the extent to which it’s corroborated or not.
Clearly, it matters whether what the dossier says is true. In this regard, as Chuck Ross observes, 15 months after the dossier first fell into the hands of FBI investigators, we have no indication that its claims are true, or even corroborated.
But who knows? Maybe one day, reliable information will emerge that backs the claims spoonfed to the Clinton campaign by Russian operatives.
In any event, there are two reasons why it matters that Team Clinton paid for the dossier — reasons that apply whether the dossier contains important true information.
First, Team Clinton’s admission shows that it colluded with Russia (or collaborated, if you prefer). The issue of collusion is independent of the veracity of information obtained through the collusion.
For example, no one disputes the authenticity of the DNC emails thought to be hacked by Russians. There is no evidence that Team Trump colluded in the hacking. But if Team Trump had, the fact that the emails truthfully reflect what Democratic insiders were saying wouldn’t mean there was no collusion.
Recall the furor (unjustified, I thought) when we learned that Donald Trump Jr. was interested in obtaining information adverse to Hillary Clinton from Russian sources. That furor derived from Trump Jr.’s willingness to meet with, and possibly get help from, Russian insiders.
The outrage wasn’t predicated on the truth or falsity of the information Team Trump might have obtained from Russians. Imagine the reaction if the Trumps had defended meeting with the Russian lawyer on the grounds that they we would only have used true information from Kremlin-related sources against Hillary Clinton.
Second, the dossier matters whether or not its contents are true because it undercuts the claim that Russia wanted Trump to win the election. Some of the most damaging (if true) information in the dossier comes from sources with Kremlin connections. If Russia wanted Trump to win, it’s highly unlikely that these operatives would have divulged such information to Christopher Steele. Scott made this point in his classic “exploding cigar” post.
My sense is that Russia was playing both sides in the 2016 presidential election. Its goal was not to influence the outcome — an achievement the Russians understood to be beyond their capability.
Rather the goal was to undermine the credibility of our democratic system and, in the words of James Comey, to “freak people out.” I advanced this theory in a post back in March.
The Russians have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, thanks to the unwillingness of Hillary Clinton and her backers in the mainstream media to live with the result of last November’s presidential election.