These 8 Democrats fervently hyped the Steele dossier

Morgan Ortagus talks ‘The View’ confrontation with Adam Schiff over Steele dossier

Former State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus discusses her back and forth with Adam Schiff on ‘The View’

Congressional Democrats fervently hyped the infamous dossier by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele but have been noticeably silent, even defiant, after Special Counsel John Durham further discredited the already debunked document.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, dramatically read some of the most explosive claims from the dossier into the Congressional Record during the March 2017 House Intelligence Committee hearing, including the now-debunked claim that the Trump 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks with reporters about the situation in Afghanistan in Washington on Aug. 23, 2021. 
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Schiff remained defiant on ABC’s “The View” this week for his longtime promotion of the dossier, saying his team “couldn’t have known” that Igor Danchenko, the Russian analyst believed to have been the dossier’s primary sub-source, had allegedly lied to Steele.

Durham, who was appointed by the Trump administration to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, charged Danchenko last week with making false statements to the FBI. 

“It’s one thing to say they should be investigated and they were, and it’s another thing we should have foreseen in advance that some people were lying to Christopher Steele, which would have been impossible,” Schiff said Tuesday.

The 35-page dossier – controversially published in its raw form in 2017 by BuzzFeed News – alleged that former President Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election over Hillary Clinton and claimed that the Kremlin had blackmail material on the former president, including a tape of prostitutes urinating on him in a Moscow hotel.

The dossier, which has been thoroughly debunked, including by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, served as the basis for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and it was originally commissioned by a research firm hired by Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias.

Russian analyst Igor Danchenko arrives at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse before being arraigned on Nov. 10, 2021 in Alexandria, Virginia. 
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Danchenko’s arrest has prompted fresh criticism of the Democrats who promoted the dossier as credible in recent years. Here are just a few notable quotes:

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.: “A lot of it has turned out to be true,” Schiff told The Wall Street Journal in November 2017, several months after the hearing.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.: “Which part of it hasn’t been proven factual?” Swalwell asked Fox News host Martha MacCallum when asked about the dossier in March.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.: “The dossier was started by Republicans,” Lieu tweeted in July. “Also the investigation resulted in multiple Trump officials being convicted of felonies.”

“If the below article is correct, it makes us ask the question: Why would both Russia and @realDonaldTrump fear the Steele Dossier?” Lieu tweeted in January 2019. “(Also, over time more and more parts of the Dossier have been corroborated).”

Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind.: “There is a lot in the dossier that has yet to be proven, but, increasingly, as we will hear throughout the day, allegations are checking out,” Carson said at the March 2017 hearing.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas: “This is not someone who doesn’t know how to run a source and not someone without contacts,” Castro said of Steele at the March 2017 hearing.

“The dossier definitely seems right … A quid pro quo relationship seems to exist between the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russia,” Castro said at the time.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.: “Trump thinks he can distract us w/ his unhinged rants, meltdowns, and name calling at his rallies. Not me,” Waters tweeted in August 2017. “I’m focused on his obstruction of justice, collusion w/ Russia, conspiracy, and jail time.”

Waters also repeatedly accused Trump of being a “Russian agent” and referred to his Cabinet as the “Kremlin Klan.” 

“Collusion is obvious. Obstruction of justice is well defined in Mueller report. Trump said game over. No, the game has just begun!” Waters tweeted in April 2019.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., arrives for a news conference at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas: “Another item in the Steele Dossier confirmed,” Lee tweeted in April 2018, referring to a debunked claim in the dossier that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election. 

“How soon before we learn that he was in Prague to meet with Russians about coordinating with Trump Campaign?” Lee wrote at the time.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.: “To ensure the American people and future Congresses know how we got here, today I will read parts of the Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Christopher Steele dossier, and enter its entirety into the Congressional Record,” Pascrell said on the House floor in July 2018.

“Partisans may dismiss the dossier as ‘fake news,’ but they know that several allegations in this document have been verified,” Pascrell tweeted that same month. “Not a single thing of substance in the report has been disproven.”

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