Hey, Thanks, Kevin!

Kevin Drum has taken my Steele dossier analysis and made some evaluations of the claims. Here’s what he came up with:

It looks about right to me.


Aside from three oddball claims that I couldn’t really classify (6, 7, and 19 if you’re counting), it looks to me like the dossier includes 15 claims that are now fully or partially supported and 27 claims for which we have no evidence so far. These 27 claims include a fair amount of insider Kremlin gossip.

What I found most interesting is this: although there’s no public evidence one way or the other for these 27 claims,² there doesn’t appear to be a single claim that we know with certainty is false. There are claims that have been denied by the American participants, but none that we have documentary proof of being mistaken. Partly this is because it’s hard to prove a negative, but it’s still surprising that not a single claim in the report has been conclusively debunked. It’s especially surprising since the dossier is a patchwork of raw intelligence, and even if it was well done by competent professionals you’d still expect it to include at least a few claims that, two years later, we could say were categorically wrong.

Emptywheel, however, feels that I’m missing evidence against some of the claims. I’ve suggested that she and talk about it offline.

And open thread!

61 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I’ve suggested that she and talk about it offline.

    Cat fight!

  2. 2

    […] Cross-posted at Balloon Juice. […]

  3. 3
    cain says:

    please.. Cheryl would win.

  4. 4
    Doug R says:

    Maybe you two can team up on a cross-posting? Synergy!

  5. 5
    Yarrow says:

    it’s still surprising that not a single claim in the report has been conclusively debunked.

    Steele ran the Russia desk at MI6. He’s good at what he does.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    @Doug R: Collusion even.

  7. 7
    Gbbalto says:

    We’ll get to top 10000 blog status now.
    Seriously, Cheryl, thank you for the time and effort you put into informing us on sundry subjects, and congrats on getting featured by Drum and Emptywheel!

  8. 8
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    MT links to trump’s tweets claiming that Isikoff has backed him up on the Steele dossier. I”m not going to listen to a whole podcast, but it looks like Isikoff was talking about “the more sensational aspects” of the dossier. At least he didn’t trot out “salacious”. Could we grow the fuck up and when we’re talking about the pee tape, just call it the pee tape.

  9. 9
    eclare says:

    @Gbbalto: Yes, congratulations!

  10. 10
    lamh36 says:

    RIP Penny Marshall!

    Not just an iconic acting character like Laverne, but also the director of some pretty iconic films…like Big and one of the BEST baseball movies ever with one of the GREATEST scenes ever. I still tell folks who cry excessively…”there’s no crying in baseball” LOL

    There’s No Crying in Baseball – A League of Their Own (5/8) Movie CLIP (… https://youtu.be/6M8szlSa-8o via @YouTube

  11. 11
    lamh36 says:

    @lamh36: Not only that, but two of the “Black films” that Black folks especially love and remember fondly….Jumping Jack Flash AND The Preacher’s Wife with Whitney and Denzel!

    Jumping Jack Flash, directed by Penny Marshall. One of my top 5 Whoopi Goldberg movies!!!

    RIP Penny Marshall!

    Shredder Fight (1986) HD https://youtu.be/B6-nYQbUteA via @YouTube

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Let’s use the French “la video d’urine.” Sounds classier.

  13. 13

    @Baud: “No law against collusion.”*

    *Esteemed legal scholar Rudolph Giuliani.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    gwangung says:

    @lamh36: Wow. That’s right.

    So….why wasn’t she honored more?

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    Four days after attorneys secretly argued over a grand jury subpoena suspected to be related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, a federal appeals court is forcing an unnamed company to comply with the subpoena.

    The appeals court did not identify the company, nor did the appellate judges say the subpoena was related to the Mueller investigation. The company that sought to quash the subpoena is owned by a foreign country, the ruling Tuesday said.


  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I wonder why Drum says that the Cohen Prague trip is “unlikely to be true.” I have traveled to Prague several times in the last decade, and have no Czech stamps in my passport – because EU borders are just lines on a map these days. Prague is less than a 4 hour drive from Vienna, and less than a 5 hour drive from Frankfurt.

  18. 18
    lamh36 says:

    Follow Follow @renato_mariotti
    More Renato Mariotti Retweeted BigCrimeHat
    What I don’t understand is *why* Flynn’s team tried to falsely suggest wrongdoing where none existed. They had to know that deception was going nowhere with the judge. Perhaps Flynn wanted to set up his post-conviction speaking tour or political career.

    I seriously hope that this train wreck wasn’t a complete surprise to General Flynn — that SOMEBODY warned him that it might go this way, and that the signs were that the judge was mad. A client getting blindsided because nobody told him the truth is unacceptable.

    Any lawyers want to suggest what Flynn’s lawyers thought they could get? Was this all about getting a pardon from Chump? Since Chump still seems to like Flynn?

    ETA: Many folks saying Flynn was trying to save some good graces with the Right

  19. 19
    dnfree says:

    This is an awesome effort, and glad to see it is getting noticed and expanded. Thanks!

  20. 20
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh36: Whoopi will be a mess tomorrow on “The View”. She had a habit of staying close with the folks she worked with in the past, and I believe Penny was one of them.

    Not to mention that’s one of my favourite movies growing up. And now that I think about it, was quite progressive in outlook.

  21. 21

    @Gin & Tonic: Nothing has ruled out a trip to Prague by Cohen, but there’s very little evidence for it, only one claim that Kevin references by McClatchy that Mueller knows about it. I have to say that I’m a bit dubious too.

  22. 22
    JAFD says:

    Hello again!
    Getting better slow but sure. Home ‘net still non-reconnectd, so sending this via Univ Hosp wwifi.
    Happy Holidays to you and all of yours and all ye world’s Juicers, actual and potential.

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @gwangung: Here comes the posthumous Oscar…

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but “unlikely to be true” and “very little evidence” don’t feel like the same thing to me. Cohen seemed to go out of his way to deny that specific claim, and to do so as ineptly as possible.

  25. 25
    lamh36 says:

    Second woman claims billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein ‘directed’ her to have sex with Alan Dershowitz https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-dershowitz-epstein-leaks-20181211-story.html

  26. 26
    Kraux Pas says:


    “No law against collusion.”*

    But what if you are colluding in something…illegal…?

  27. 27
    lamh36 says:

    @gwangung: well she was on of the first “lady directors” and we know how even now Hollywood can be dicks

  28. 28
    lamh36 says:

    @Yutsano: Definitely. To be quite honest, I used to watch The View even with the original lineup…but I stopped years ago…when I did go back to it, it was because of Whoopi Goldberg. I think folks kinda forget just how BIG a deal Whoopi Goldberg was for a time, legend and icon should not be used lightly, but they BOTH apply to Whoopi for sure!

  29. 29
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh36: At least we can say Garry supported her the whole time. They never seemed to compete against each other and remained close.

  30. 30
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh36: I love how people think Whoopi ended up there because she was “washed out”. Try again. This was her second act in life.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    @JAFD: Not sure what happened but feel better.

  32. 32

    @Kraux Pas: You’ll have to ask Rudy about that, I’m just a poor photographer.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Happy holidays to you, too! Glad you’re improving, and hope it continues every day.

  34. 34
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @lamh36: Exactly. The only reason Penny got the opportunity to direct Big was because everybody else Hollywood offered it to turned it down.

  35. 35
    germy says:

    Fox News is trapped in a net of their own bigotry, lies and rage. If they do what advertisers want and dial back the white genocide stuff, then their audience will canibalize the network. If they stay the course, their ad revenue will be decimated and shareholders will sue.

    — Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) December 18, 2018

  36. 36
    lamh36 says:

    Uh…huh…so Faux News was touting the Black judge before Flynn’s hearing…now I’m betting they gonna treat him like “just another Black guy” now…

  37. 37
    trollhattan says:

    In an ironic twist, Dersh again gets invited to parties in the Hamptons so that people can acknowledge the lengths to which he’d go to get laid.

    Still amazed Epstein didn’t pull at least a decade in the slammer.

  38. 38
    satby says:

    @JAFD: been thinking about you JAFD , and hoping the recovery has been going well. Keep plugging through rehab, it really helps in the long run. We’ll have happy holidays knowing you’re still with us and getting better!

  39. 39
    piratedan says:

    @Baud: my guess would be Deutsche Banke…. that was the first banker indicted and where Kennedy’s kid was working, just a guess but there are oodles of possibilities

  40. 40
    lamh36 says:

    @Yutsano: Right…I always laugh at folks who think that. She isn’t a box office draw. She doesn’t even do much acting anymore and I don’t belive she does ANY standup anymore…but when she was in her prime…she was a BIG draw…hell there’s a reason she’s hosted the Oscars so much. And even when she wasn’t the Sister Act franchise and Broadway musical set her for life. She doesn’t need The View as much as The View needs her.

  41. 41
    Kraux Pas says:

    So, since open thread, I’m just gonna throw this out there.

    I’ve been subjected to the argument for the last couple days that opposition to laws that disproportionately impact people of color, voter ID laws for example, is racist because it basically says such people are not competent to do basic things like get an ID. Also, too, welfare is racist because we are saying people of color can’t feed themselves.

    I can’t even so much that I had to share.

  42. 42
    Aleta says:

    @lamh36: Aw no! She was so funny.

    @JAFD: You too. Hope you keep feeling better every week.

  43. 43
    satby says:

    @lamh36: though I admire all she accomplished, Penny Marshall was far from one of the first female movie directors. And that article doesn’t even mention Ida Lupino.

  44. 44
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @lamh36: I think folks kinda forget just how BIG a deal Whoopi Goldberg was for a time, legend and icon should not be used lightly, but they BOTH apply to Whoopi for sure!

    I remember a few years ago the Oscars show did a little clip segment featuring past hosts and they left out…. Whoopi Goldberg, the only Oscar host who was actually an Oscar winner.

  45. 45
    Aleta says:

    @Kraux Pas: They used to claim (maybe still do) that supporters of abortion rights were racist. They’ll use any argument to undercut human rights.

  46. 46
    lamh36 says:

    Following Following @kylegriffin1
    Page 16: Court transcript.

    THE COURT: If you want to proceed because you are guilty of this offense, I will finally accept your plea.
    THE DEFENDANT: I would like to proceed, Your Honor.
    THE COURT: All right. Because you are guilty of this offense?
    THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.

    5:30 PM – 18 Dec 2018

  47. 47
    germy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Whoopi was great in the recent Beatles documentary:


  48. 48
    satby says:


    They used to claim (maybe still do) that supporters of abortion rights were racist.

    That’s actually very funny, because the pro-life movement early on was (and I’m sure still is) quite open about their racism. An early argument against abortion used by their campus speakers in the 1970s was that educated white women were the ones who got abortions, black and Hispanic women didn’t and so the U.S. would be overrun with people of color all having babies. They never picketed the PP clinic near to my home in Chicago in the 90s, because it was in a black neighborhood.
    Always projection with the reichwing.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Marshall wasn’t the first female director, you’re quite right. But Hollywood uses money as a primary metric, and she was the first woman to direct a movie that grossed over $100 million.

  50. 50
    lamh36 says:

    @satby: ok…not one of the first EVER…doesn’t negate what I said about her being a “lady director” and how Hollywood STILL treat female directors…

    ETA: @SiubhanDuinne: exactly…thank you

  51. 51
    lamh36 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Lordt…thank goodness I missed that. She was one of the best host for the Oscars ever.

    I mean now that there is a vacancy…I mean why not have Whoopi and Billy come back one last time?

  52. 52
    Aleta says:

    Thanks Cheryl for starting further discussion. It’s a thing I like about the internet when it happens. And curse when it doesn’t.

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I remember a few years ago the Oscars show did a little clip segment featuring past hosts and they left out…. Whoopi Goldberg, the only Oscar host who was actually an Oscar winner.

    Holee … SRSLY? … I just can’t even ….

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I mean now that there is a vacancy…I mean why not have Whoopi and Billy come bback one last time?

    Sounds like a great idea! Why ever not?

  55. 55
    Kathleen says:

    @lamh36: I’m glad you posted that tweet. The thread was fascinating. I would love to see a movie about those 3 women players. And the female owners of some of the teams!

  56. 56
    Kathleen says:

    @lamh36: I love Whoopi. She’s also an EGOT! Adore her in Sister Act.

  57. 57
    Ohio Mom says:

    That pie chart is SO Kevin Drum. No one likes making charts and graphs as much as he does. He must have been excited when he realized he could make Cheryl’s thoughts into a nice segmented circle.

    A while back, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He’s responding well to the treatment — which periodically documents with an updated graph.

  58. 58
    ruemara says:

    @Kraux Pas: I hope whoever you were arguing with has a bag of elephant poop fall on them.

  59. 59
    Burnspbesq says:


    It’s not hard to imagine sex with Dershowitz being even worse than sex with Trump.

    There isn’t enough brain bleach in the known universe.

  60. 60
    Barbara says:

    @germy: There must be some point where they lose both viewers and advertisers and wither away and die.

  61. 61
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Kraux Pas: Whatever is the “welfare” your acquaintance is referring to — there are a number of safety net programs but none have that title — more white people are on the rolls than members of any minority group. But you already knew that.

    You can’t convince people like that with facts, they repel facts.

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