The allegation that Donald Trump appears in a secret Russian-made "pee tape" filmed in a Moscow hotel gained more credibility Wednesday when the Reuters news agency reported that Russia-investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller has now made the privately compiled intelligence dossier containing the "pee tape" story a focus of his intensifying probe into connections between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
The dossier was reported and compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who was a top Russia expert for the British spy service MI6 — the equivalent of the American CIA — and headed that agency's Russia desk, according to a report on Steele in Vanity Fair magazine.
The "pee tape" story in the dossier alleges that in November of 2013, when Trump was in Moscow with the Miss Universe beauty pageant, which he owned at the time, he hired prostitutes to put on a "golden shower" urination show for his enjoyment in the presidential suite at Moscow's Ritz Carlton hotel. Trump derived additional pleasure from the knowledge that the bed on which the prostitutes urinated had previously been slept in by President Barack Obama and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, Steele reported in the dossier.
Read the entire Reuters report on Mueller's investigation into the Steele Dossier at this link.
According to a report by CNN published late on Thursday, though congressional investigators have been rebuffed in their attempts to interview Steele about the dossier, Mueller's investigators met with the former British spy sometime over the summer.
Neither Steele nor any spokesperson for Mueller would comment to CNN on what was discussed in the interview.
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) October 5, 2017
The existence of the dossier had reportedly been an open secret in Washington insider circles for the latter half of 2016, as the presidential campaign was at its peak, even coming into the possession of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain — his party's 2008 presidential nominee — who then gave the document to then-FBI Director James Comey.
But it wasn't until January of 2017, two months after the presidential election won in an Electoral College victory by Trump over popular vote winner Hillary Clinton, that the existence of the Steele Dossier was revealed publicly, and the entire document was posted online by the site BuzzFeed at this link.
The dossier says that Russian agents believed that they could "exploit Trump's personal obsessions and sexual perversions in order to obtain suitable 'kompromat' (compromising material) on him." In fact, according to the allegations which have come from multiple sources, the Moscow "pee tape" episode was not the only instance in which the Russians were able to record Trump engaged in compromising activities.
"Trump's unorthodox behavior in Russia over the years had provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material on [Trump] to be able to blackmail him if they so wished," Steele wrote in the dossier.But the stories of possible blackmail over Trump's "perversions" are perhaps the least important allegations in the dossier. The Steele dossier also contains material on numerous potentially illegal financial deals between Trump and Russia, and also states that the Russian intelligence services had been "cultivating and supporting U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for at least five years."
MI6 Agent Christopher Steele tells FBI about his sources for the Dossier that could bring DOWN Donald J. #Trump - https://t.co/AfouaABuf0 pic.twitter.com/1mfdyKtsh2According to the Reuters report, the Senate Intelligence Committee has sought to interview Steele, who remains based in the United Kingdom, but "those offers have gone unaccepted," the committee's Republican chair, Richard Burr, said.
— VonVictor Rosenchild (@Rosenchild) October 1, 2017
Though the Steele Dossier is often characterized in the press as "debunked" or even "fake,", in reality several of the key allegations compiled by Steele have been verified by U.S. intelligence and media sources.
It was Steele who first charged that the document-dumping site WikiLeaks cooperated with Russian hackers to post stolen emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and other Democratic organizations online, a conclusion that has since become the consensus view of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The dossier also alleged that Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen had held secret meetings with Russian officials, a story later confirmed in reports by the Washington Post.
According to a BBC report, U.S. intelligence had also verified one of the most important charges in the document — that "a Russian diplomat in Washington was in fact a spy."
Robert Mueller is now investigating those claims and others in the Steele "pee tape" dossier as well, according to the Reuters report.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]