The men behind the narrative that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia in 2016 to steal the election still believe the dubious allegations set forth in the infamous Steele Dossier, even though the special counsel investigation failed to prove them.
Let’s back up. Much of the information surrounding the Russian collusion narrative game from ex-British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS (which was hired by Perkins Coie which was hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC) to compile a dossier of dirt on then-candidate Trump. Steele did not disappoint, and returned with a dossier filled with salacious allegations. The dossier was shopped to media outlets, which doubted its accuracy. Then the media learned Trump was “briefed” on the dossier, and it gave them an opening to report on it. Once Buzzfeed irresponsibly published the dossier, which was essentially a campaign opposition research document, the media felt free to run with all the wild allegations contained therein.
One of those allegations involved former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The dossier claimed Cohen traveled to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin operatives to discuss payments to Russian hackers who stole Democrat emails. Cohen denied the allegations and provided photos of his passport, which contained no indication that he had ever traveled to Prague.
McClatchy was one of the biggest supporters of the Cohen-in-Prague narrative, writing in April 2018 that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had evidence that Cohen was in Prague. They wrote an additional article in late December claiming the special counsel had evidence that Cohen’s cell phone “pinged” briefly in Prague in the summer of 2016. The story contained no additional details.
As The Daily Wire reported in early January, the idea that Cohen was in Prague should have been the easiest part of the dossier to confirm. Yet it never was. Though The Washington Post never reported this, one of its reporters admitted that the newspaper sent multiple reporters to every hotel in Prague to try and prove Cohen was there, but they found nothing.
Mueller’s final report also found no evidence to conclude Cohen was in Prague. After the Mueller report was released, McClatchy added an “editor’s note” to its two stories about Cohen in Prague that acknowledged Mueller stated that Cohen was not in Prague.
Despite all of this, Fusion GPS founders Peter Fritsch and Glenn Simpson believe the allegation that Cohen went to Prague is still “credible.”
The two were asked whether Cohen went to Prague by ABC News producer Matthew Mosk on Tuesday, The Daily Caller reported.
“I mean, it’s unresolved. If you look at the Mueller report, Mueller report reports what Michael Cohen told him,” Fritsch said. The pair was then asked if they still believed Cohen was in Prague, to which Fritsch responded, “we’re sticking by the credibility of Chris’s reporting.”
“We believe it’s credible. Whether it’s true or not is another matter,” he added.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian explained that Mueller’s report debunked the dossier’s main assertion that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination” between Trump and Russia, yet the Fusion GPS founders stood by the document. After comparing the dossier to the warnings before the Pearl Harbor attack (saying the basic outlines of the Steele dossier were correct just as the Pearl Harbor warnings turned out to be), Glenn Simpson pointed out that many things in the dossier weren’t disproven.
“There isn’t a long list of things in the dossier that have been disproven. There are many things that have not been resolved as to whether or not they are true,” Simpson said.
The Mueller report tried to prove portions of the Steele dossier, but could not.