As the Trump dossier melts away and the ways in which it was abused by the FBI and Department of Justice become more clear, there has been a minor run of stories that purport to show that the Trump dossier was really not all that important.
The best known of these was the bald-faced assertion that it was a drunken conversation between a minor player in the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, and an Australian diplomat that caused the FBI to get all oily-loined over the Trump campaign colluding with Russia. (Follow the saga here | here | here.) This story fell apart for three reasons. First, it was implausible. Second, the proposed timeline didn’t mesh with information already revealed. Third, a few dozen reporters would basically have to retract everything they’ve written for the past year. So you don’t hear much about Papadopoulos these days and, in fact, we right back to where we began on the Trump dossier.
Now we have another bite at the “we didn’t really need the Clinton oppo” apple. This seems to be sourced from within the FBI, though it may be sourced to the author himself.
The FBI inquiry into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 US presidential election has been given a second memo that independently set out some of the same allegations made in a dossier by Christopher Steele, the British former spy.
The second memo was written by Cody Shearer, a controversial political activist and former journalist who was close to the Clinton White House in the 1990s.
Hmmmm. Controversial? What could that mean…other than he’s Sid Blumenthal’s business partner in the little ‘intelligence’ business they ran with the deceased Tyler Drumheller. This would be the business that encouraged Clinton to do things, like attack Libya, that benefited their clients. Via National Review:
And you thought Sidney Blumenthal was shady. Few people have heard of Cody Shearer, the unsanctioned diplomat, private eye, and Clinton flunky whose name surfaced in connection with the so-called intelligence reports Sidney Blumenthal was channeling to Hillary Clinton during her time at the State Department. But this shadowy fixture of the Clinton machine was everywhere in the 1990s — including war-torn Bosnia, where he became the subject of a State Department investigation after he represented himself as an agent of the U.S. government and took cash from a genocidal warlord.
Now evidence suggests Shearer, working with his partner Blumenthal, was up to something similar during the 2011 revolution in Libya. And like in the 1990s, the Clintons were lurking on the margins. Much of the intelligence contained in memos fed to the Clinton State Department by Blumenthal was not just self-serving — it was provided by someone with a history of misleading foreign sources, misrepresenting himself as an agent of the U.S. government, and creating trouble for both himself and the United States abroad.
Much of the intelligence contained in memos fed to the Clinton State Department by Blumenthal was not just self-serving — it was provided by someone with a history of misrepresenting himself as an agent of the U.S. government. Though often described as a journalist, Shearer hasn’t written much since the 1980s. His work, like that of his father, Lloyd Shearer, the former editor of Parade magazine, was often gossipy and reputation-ruining. A series of columns the younger Shearer wrote on the sexual proclivities of former Texas senator John Tower sank his nomination for defense secretary in 1989.
Shearer’s career took a strange turn when the Clintons entered the White House in 1992. His entrée into the first family’s orbit was Strobe Talbott, Shearer’s brother-in-law, who had been a friend of Bill Clinton since the president’s days at Oxford. Talbott served as a deputy secretary in Bill Clinton’s State Department; his brother-in-law took a different route, allegedly working with Clinton enforcer Terry Lenzner to investigate and, at times, intimidate women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.
Back to the Guardian:
One source with knowledge of the inquiry said the fact the FBI was still working on it suggested investigators had taken an aspect of it seriously.
It raises the possibility that parts of the Steele dossier, which has been derided by Trump’s supporters, may have been corroborated by Shearer’s research, or could still be.
The Shearer memo was provided to the FBI in October 2016.
It was handed to them by Steele – who had been given it by an American contact – after the FBI requested the former MI6 agent provide any documents or evidence that could be useful in its investigation, according to multiple sources.
The Guardian was told Steele warned the FBI he could not vouch for the veracity of the Shearer memo, but that he was providing a copy because it corresponded with what he had separately heard from his own independent sources.
Robert Mueller, the former FBI director leading the investigation. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Among other things, both documents allege Donald Trump was compromised during a 2013 trip to Moscow that involved lewd acts in a five-star hotel.
The Shearer memo cites an unnamed source within Russia’s FSB, the state security service. The Guardian cannot verify any of the claims.
If this is true, it looks like Shearer took the work that Christopher Steele did for Fusion GPS, massaged it a bit, and used Steele to insert it into the same food chain that had consumed Steele’s opus magnum. They probably made it look sufficiently different that it didn’t look like a knock-off, but with enough commonality that it could “verify” parts of the Trump memo.
So here we are. Now, over a year into this investigation, we are being told that this second dossier is also in play.
I stopped believing in leprechauns a long time ago.