With the revelation yesterday in the Washington Post that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for the research that resulted in the infamous Steele (aka "Golden Showers") dossier that contained allegations of supposed ties between Donald Trump's campaign and the Kremlin, it will be interesting to see what the reaction will be from liberal media outlets. In the case of Vox, we didn't have to wait very long. Just a little over an hour after the October 24 Washington Post report, Andrew Prokop of Vox had already decided that Hillary Clinton has become toxic and has thrown her under the bus:
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As the Russia scandal has swirled, Republicans, including President Trump, have for months tried to call greater attention to the question of just who paid for the research behind the dossier. GOP congressional committees have been investigating the matter and conservative media outlets have often sought to portray this as the real Russia scandal.
Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017
Well, a definitive, real Russia scandal is this and the Uranium One scandal which the liberal MSM still continues to avoid:
Republicans have questioned whether the dossier contained either disinformation peddled by Russians, or deliberately false smears peddled by Trump’s political enemies. They have also inquired about the FBI’s approach to the dossier — the bureau reportedly started looking into its allegations last year, and there have been questions about whether the FBI at some point last year paid Steele for the dossier.
Now, however, we know that the dossier’s research during much of 2016 was funded by a top lawyer working for the Clinton campaign itself. That of course doesn’t necessarily mean the information in it is deliberately false — campaigns usually try to dig up opposition research that is true, if they can.
But it certainly presents the possibility that the research of the dossier and subsequent circulation of it were more akin to a dirty trick than a genuine, disinterested effort to find the truth about Trump and Russia. After all, if a campaign hires a firm to find dirt on their opponent, that is what that firm will try and deliver, even if what they turn up is dubious or thinly-sourced.
After throwing Hillary under the bus, Prokop had some sad news for those liberals out there still desperately clinging to the hope that there could still be some validity to the "Golden Showers" dossier:
Overall, viewing this uncorroborated document very skeptically was always a good idea, and the fact that its funders were Trump’s biggest opponents only makes that more the case.
To it's credit, Vox published a report on January 13 of this year in which their Sean Illing asked ex-CIA analyst Aki Peritz about the validity of the dossier:
SEAN ILLING: How skeptical should the average reader be about the primary source of this report?
AKI PERITZ: I'd urge extreme skepticism. I wouldn't suggest dismissing it altogether, but a healthy amount of skepticism is warranted. We know relatively little about the source of the dossier apart from his name. I suspect there are truths contained in this dossier, but it's hard to separate fact from fiction. These are explosive claims about corruption and bizarre sexual acts and connections between Donald Trump's campaign and the Russian intelligence services.
If we were to take this report at face value, half the people cited should be in prison. But we can't verify any of it, and so it might just be a story. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and until we've seen such evidence, I'd be extremely skeptical.
It will be interesting to find out if the "Golden Showers" dossier, paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, was used by the FBI and the Obama Justice Department to get a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. If so, that would put us in Banana Republic territory.