A reporter who was among the first to report about a dossier that made unverified claims about President Donald Trump is now backing away from the collection of claims.
Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff spoke out last week on John Ziegler’s Free Speech Broadcasting podcast .
The dossier was compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Its salacious claims dominated headlines at the close of 2016, but, more importantly, were used as a pretext for the FBI to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign, even before the contents of the dossier had been verified.
“Would you agree that a lot of what’s in the Steele dossier has been somewhat vindicated?” Ziegler asked Issikoff on the podcast.
“No,” Isikoff said.
“You would not?” asked Ziegler.
“No,” Isikoff said.
Isikoff said Steele relied on rumors more than facts.
“In broad strokes, Christopher Steele was clearly onto something, that there was a major Kremlin effort to interfere in our elections, that they were trying to help Trump’s campaign, and that there was multiple contacts between various Russian figures close to the government and various people in Trump’s campaign,” Isikoff said.
The closer one reads the dossier, the quicker it falls apart, he said.
“When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there’s good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false,” he said.
Isikoff noted that Lanny Davis, an attorney for Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, further demolished the dossier by denying one of its claims about Cohen.
Isikoff said that the dossier’s allegation that Cohen was in Prague to set up a meeting between Trump and the Russians was an important allegation.
However, Davis has said in an NBC interview that the claim was false.
“No, no Prague, ever, never,” Davis said.
Isikoff said Cohen was never charged with lying to Congress when he disputed the claims made in the dossier.
“Why wasn’t he charged with lying about it? That would have been as serious a lie as the lie he told about the Trump Tower Moscow project,” said Isikoff.
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