The noise over the unsubstantiated dossier, which seemed to suggest that Russia held leverage over President Trump, by way of a particularly gross sex scandal seems to have died down.
Website Buzzfeed first released the dossier, with CNN reporting on the fact that a dossier was out there.
The release of the dossier enraged the Trump administration and set off a fresh press of the term “fake news” among Trump enthusiasts, with everything being considered “fake news,” except what comes directly from Trump, himself.
Now it seems Buzzfeed will have to answer for their part in releasing the dossier.
XBT Holdings, a tech firm with Russian ties named in the dossier, has brought a lawsuit against Buzzfeed, the editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, as well as the ex-British spy, Christopher Steele, who was said to have compiled the dossier.
The dossier, which includes uncorroborated allegations about Trump, claims the Cyprus-based XBT, which is owned by Russian tech magnate Aleksej Gubarev, “had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership” in 2016.
The dossier was presented to both then-President Obama and Trump. It added fuel to a fire already burning, with the Obama administration, as well as the U.S. intelligence community convinced that Russia had attempted to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor, by hacking into the emails of prominent Democrat figures and leaking them to the public, through Wikileaks.
Ben Smith has defended the decision by Buzzfeed to release the dossier, but on Friday, he issued an apology to Gubarev.
“We have redacted Mr. Gubarev’s name from the published dossier, and apologize for including it,” spokesman Matt Mittenthal said.
The lawsuit, filed in London and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., seeks unspecified damages. It says BuzzFeed’s story has been viewed nearly 6 million times.
There may or may not be truth to the original story, but it was probably not wise for Buzzfeed to run ahead with publishing the information without heavy disclaimers before and after.