Donald Trump is likely being blackmailed by Russia after being recorded on compromising video secretly taken in a luxury hotel, newly released testimony to the U.S. Senate reveals.
There was a major step forward in the public’s knowledge of the Russia investigation this week, with the release of previously private testimony from the firm that compiled the salacious dossier on Trump’s alleged ties with Russia. The testimony showed that there was widespread concern that Trump was being blackmailed by Russia after having been caught in some compromising video in a luxury hotel.
As the Star Tribune noted, dossier author Christopher Steele shared his findings with the FBI over fears that Trump was being blackmailed. This blackmail was reportedly compiled due to the Russian government’s tactic of secretly recording luxury hotel rooms, where Trump was apparently caught in a compromising position. The FBI reportedly corroborated parts of the dossier.
The report seems to suggest that there might be some truth to one of the most sordid details in the dossier — that Trump was recorded with Russian prostitutes who urinated on a bed that Barack and Michelle Obama had previously slept in during a state trip to Russia. But the testimony did not speak specifically to this claim.
The testimony was made public on Tuesday by Senator Dianne Feinstein, who released the entire transcript (minus some redacted portions to remove names and other details) by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Her move came after Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham issued a criminal referral to the FBI against Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier. Critics believe the referral was an attempt to keep the Fusion GPS testimony from becoming public.
Now that Feinstein has forced this into the open, it makes it:— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) January 9, 2018
1. Very clear why her Republican colleagues were suppressing it.
2. Very shameful that her Republican colleagues were suppressing it. They knew the dossier story taking over Fox was a lie. https://t.co/B7WZRis8RG
As the Washington Post noted, the testimony is heavy on details about Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, with Trump’s name appearing 171 times and Putin’s name appearing 19 times in the nearly 300 pages of testimony.
Donald Trump has claimed that the Russia investigation — and the dossier in particular — are simply a political hit job with no truth behind them. But special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has already snagged some high-profile members of Trump’s camp, with indictments against former campaign manager Paul Manafort and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.