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DOJ preparing to target author of salacious Trump-Russia dossier Christopher Steele: report

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In a detailed and compelling report published Wednesday, Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand revealed that the Justice Department inspector general is likely to criticize Christopher Steele, the author of the famous and salacious Trump-Russia dossier.

Michael Horowitz has been working on the report as a part of the probe of the origins of the Russia investigation. The dossier, which alleged that the Kremlin had considerable influence over Trump and his allies in the run-up to the 2016 election before the existence of the FBI’s probe was confirmed, has been a major source of consternation among Trump defenders.

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While conservatives have tried to claim that the Russia investigation had shady beginnings with the FBI relying on Steele, a former British intelligence officer, public reporting has revealed that the investigators began prior to the bureau’s receiving information from the dossier. And though investigators may have used Steele’s work, in part, to justify covert surveillance of Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign staffer, there’s little that is suspicious about this — the purpose of surveillance is often to prove or disprove unconfirmed allegations.

And, despite all the hand-wringing about the Page surveillance, Bertrand makes clear: He was on the FBI’s radar for suspicious contacts with Russians as early as 2013, and he was placed under surveillance after he left the Trump campaign.

Further, she points out that Steele’s information about Page doesn’t appear to be entirely erroneous:

Steele’s defenders also note that the information he provided which made it into the FISA warrant application to monitor Page was not far off. According to Steele’s sources, Page met with high-level Russian officials while in Moscow in July 2016, including the CEO of Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft. Page denied the claim publicly until pressed under oath by lawmakers in 2017, when he acknowledged meeting “senior members of the presidential administration” during his trip, as well as the head of investor relations at Rosneft. Page had originally claimed only that he went to Moscow to give the commencement address at the New Economic School.

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Nevertheless, Bertrand noted, “Horowitz’s probe also appears set to cast doubt on the veracity of the information Steele provided about Page that the FBI included in its application for a FISA warrant” — a finding that would surely be seized upon by defenders of the president.

She also suggested that, despite an unfamiliarity with the subject matter, Horowitz appears to have his mind made up about at least some of his conclusions:

Former U.S. officials interviewed by the inspector general were skeptical about the quality of his probe. They emphasized to Horowitz that information in a warrant application need not be wholly verified, as long as the reliability of the source of the information is disclosed to the court, which the FBI did in the Page FISA case with regard to Steele. But the inspector general seemed neither well-versed in the FISA process nor receptive to the explanations, the officials said.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump Twitter freaks out about coming recession and tries to pin the blame on the Democrats

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President Donald Trump betrayed his mortal fear of a recession in another early morning Twitter rant about the economy.

The president insisted the economy was fine, and again tried to blame Democrats and the media if a recession hits before the 2020 election.

"The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well," the president tweeted. "Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession."

He suggested that his political enemies were willing to sacrifice their wealth to defeat him next year.

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‘American Carnage’: How Mike Pence uses his brand of right-wing evangelical Christianity to play Trump

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In February of 2018, Donald Trump's former political guru Steve Bannon told Bloomberg News that in the 2016 election, "The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”

Bannon was proven correct in his strategy of how Trump's racist, authoritarian pseudo-populist movement could win power in the United States (and various other places around the world). Nearly three years into Trump's tenure the American news media is still struggling with how to cover a president and an administration that have no use for democratic norms, the Constitution, the rule of law, and the truth or reality itself.

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Whistleblower hands House Dems evidence of ‘inappropriate’ interference on Trump’s tax returns

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A federal employee turned over “credible” evidence to House Democrats of possible “inappropriate efforts to influence” the IRS presidential audit process, House lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday.

In July, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., sued Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after the latter rejected the panel’s request for six years of Trump’s tax returns. On Tuesday, House lawyers cited the new evidence in a motion asking a federal judge to rule without trial that the Treasury Department is required by law to turn over the president’s tax returns.

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