An investigative team hired by embattled website BuzzFeed and helmed by a former Obama-era FBI official has been feverishly working for six months to try to verify parts of the notoriously "unverified" Trump-Russia dossier. So far, the investigation, which is running parallel with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's politicized Russia probe, has not offered any of its findings.
Foreign Policy reports that according to "four sources familiar with different aspects of the ongoing probe," BuzzFeed's team of investigators at FTI Consulting — headed up by Anthony Ferrante the former director for cyber incident response at the U.S. National Security Council under the Obama administration — has been "traveling the globe on a secret mission to verify parts of the Trump dossier."
BuzzFeed hired Ferrante and FTI in response to a lawsuit over its decision to publish the scandalous, unverified dossier, which includes some outlandish accusations, like Trump supposedly hiring hookers to urinate on a bed that the Obamas slept on, as well as an accusation that servers belonging to a company owned by Russian technology executive Aleksej Gubarev were used to hack the DNC's computers in 2016.
The latter accusation is one source of BuzzFeed's ongoing legal headache. Gubarev is suing the outlet for recklessly publishing the document without confirming its claims. In January, BuzzFeed was slapped with another lawsuit, this one from Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who is similarly accusing BuzzFeed of publishing the document containing false claims about him.
BuzzFeed hopes that if it can confirm key allegations in the dossier, the libel cases will collapse. "If it’s fact, it’s not libel, that’s the idea," one source told Foreign Policy.
But one of Gubarev's lawyers offered his own statement to FP. "They can hire Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, or Sherlock Holmes — you can’t find what doesn’t exist," Evan Fray-Witzer told FP in a written statement. "There is a simple reason why Buzzfeed hasn’t found any evidence to support the allegations in the Dossier against Mr. Gubarev: the allegations are false."
As more details of the genesis of the Mueller probe come to light, the dossier's role in the propagation of the "Russia collusion" narrative has become more clear. The document, which is a piece of opposition research funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, played a key role in the obtaining of a FISA search warrant for Trump associate Carter Page.
Meanwhile, the Mueller probe continues with no foreseeable end in sight.