Allegations that the Russian government secretly recorded videos of Donald Trump cavorting with Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013 will likely be addressed Tuesday when the House Intelligence Committee interviews the president’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller.
The allegations, which Trump has described as “fake news” and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said were “rubbish,” were included in a dossier compiled by former British M16 agent Christopher Steele, working for GPS Fusion, which had been commissioned by Trump’s 2016 Democratic presidential opponent Hillary Clinton.
The dossier described a situation in which Trump paid a dozen Russian prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed once used by Barack and Michelle Obama. Putin denied recording any such video and said those who made such accusations were “worse than prostitutes.”
The Steele dossier claimed the video of the alleged encounter was among the pieces of evidence that the Russian government gathered that would compromise Trump if he became president. Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe Pageant. While U.S. media outlets have verified much of the information collected in the dossier, none have verified the allegations concerning Trump and the Russian prostitutes.
Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, testified for 10 hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August about the dossier, providing the investigative body with 40,000 pages of documents, which Simpson said backed up allegations included in the report.
Simpson said he stood fully behind the entire report, including the revelations concerning Trump and the prostitutes.
In the past week, Trump has been able to turn the conversation on the dossier against his opponents when it was revealed that the Clinton campaign had paid for Steele’s investigation into Trump’s connections with Russia.
The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative “never Trump” publication, hired GPS Fusion to research Trump, at the time one of numerous candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. When the Free Beacon declined to continue to pay for the investigation, the Clinton campaign took over. That was the point where Steele was hired.
Steele reportedly became so concerned about what he was discovering about connections between Trump and members of his campaign staff to Russian businessmen tied to Vladimir Putin that he contacted the FBI and turned over the information.
At one point, the FBI considered paying Steele to continue his investigation, but later dropped the idea.
When the information came out that the Clinton campaign, which had initially denied having anything to do with the Steele dossier, had paid for it, Trump and his backers began attacking the report as “fake news” and tried to turn around allegations against Trump colluding with the Russian government by saying it was Clinton who had colluded with Russia by using information gathered from Russian sources for the Steele dossier.
The official word from the chief lawyer representing Trump on all aspects of the Russian investigation is that the testimony of the president’s long-time bodyguard and friend Schiller on Tuesday is nothing to be concerned about and will actually help Trump.
Lawyer Ty Cobb said the White House is “delighted” that Trump’s former bodyguard would be testifying.
Cobb told the Washington Post that Schiller’s testimony would provide “our opportunity to shed some light on these scandalous allegations.”
Trump’s continuing claim that any talk of him or his campaign colluding with Russia during the presidential election was “fake news” spread by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats because they were sore losers took a hit last week when Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s first indictments were unsealed.
The first indictments included allegations against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates, with most of the charges dating back before the Trump campaign. However, the announcement that a third person, former foreign policy advisory panel member George Papadopoulos, not only had been indicted, but had also already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, was entirely connected to Trump’s presidential campaign.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]