Has everyone recovered from the internet firestorm that erupted last night, alleging that Russia was holding some sort of pee-fetish info over Donald Trump’s head, in order to extort compliance on NATO and Ukraine issues out of him, ahead of the election?
From the get-go, let’s make sure everyone knows that these are unsubstantiated rumors, at best. Streiff covered this story earlier today.
It would seem, however, that this information has been floating around for awhile.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is now admitting that he gave a dossier of unverified information to FBI Director James Comey late in 2016, which suggested that the Russian government had “compromising” information on Trump.
McCain’s statement on the matter reads:
“Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public,” McCain said in a statement on Wednesday. “Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgement about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”
And there’s nothing wrong with that, actually.
He got information, he couldn’t vouch for its veracity, so he passed it on to let authorities in the intelligence community decide how to handle it.
We likely would not have heard anything about it, but it broke last night with the Buzzfeed story, and the internet did what the internet does.
For example, #PEEOTUS was trending briefly on Twitter.
The actual files that make up to dossier were allegedly compiled by a former British intelligence official, and political opponents had possession of them during the campaign. That they didn’t release them then is likely due to the fact that they could not be substantiated.
Trump, of course, has hit back hard at the news, denying he was being blackmailed by Russia, and referring to the whole incident as a “political witch hunt.”
The president-elect has repeatedly denied that the Kremlin interfered in the presidential election, despite unanimous agreement among the U.S. intelligence community that the it did. That puts Trump at odds with McCain, who has criticized Trump’s skepticism of U.S. intelligence and has voiced concern over Russia’s election influence campaign.
During hearings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Comey refused to say whether the FBI was investigating the claims made in the dossier, but noted that the Russians did not hack the Trump campaign.
Personally, I expect this to go away fairly quickly.
One reason is that people are tired of scandals. After eight years of Obama, Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, then as a candidate and the subsequent leaks of DNC emails, it’s as if a callous has formed over the collective conscience of the American public. They need/want a break.
Secondly, those who support Trump don’t care what he does. If he likes to get peed on, or wants to watch Russian prostitutes pee on each other, at least he’s not Hillary.
The part about his allowing for a more open and compliant relationship with Russia on the world stage doesn’t sway them, either. We’ve seen Trump devotees bend over backwards to frame Russia as “not so bad, after all.”
Unless something major breaks and there’s real proof to back up these claims, they can be written off as part of the convergence of politics and new media. You take it with a grain of salt.
The fact that Senator McCain would rather just hand it off to the FBI, rather than dig into it, ahead of Trump’s election win says a lot.
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