The Trump Dossier Alleges DNC Insiders Were Involved in Anti-Clinton Operation

I still have questions about the provenance of the Trump dossier, particularly with respect to how we’ve received it. While this article has been touted as answering a lot of questions, it actually creates new ones (plus, it would seem to violate the D Notice that formally prohibits talking about Christopher Steele and his role).

But I did want to point to a passage in the dossier that seems critically important, if it can be deemed true. (Note, Cannonfire has an OCRed version of the dossier here.) According to a July report from Steele, there were DNC insiders involved in the operation.

Agreed exchange of information established in both directions. team using moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia. PUTIN motivated by fear and hatred of Hillary CLINTON. Russians receiving intel from team on Russian oligarchs and their families in US


2. Inter alia, Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform. The reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability” and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team. In return the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.

3. In the wider context campaign/Kremlin co-operation, Source E claimed that the intelligence network being used against CLINTON comprised three elements. Firstly there were agents/facilitators within the Democratic Party structure itself; secondly Russian emigre and associated offensive cyber operators based in the US [note: corrected OCE error] and thirdly, state-sponsored cyber operatives working in Russia. All three elements had played an important role to date. On the mechanism for rewarding relevant assets based in the US, and effecting a two-way flow of intelligence and other useful information, Source E claimed that Russian diplomatic staff in key cities such as New York, Washington DC and Miami were using the emigre ‘pension’ distribution system as cover. The operation therefore depended on key people in the US Russian emigre community for its success. Tens of thousands of dollars were involved. [my emphasis]

The claim there were “moles” within the DNC would be perfectly consistent with something Julian Assange has long claimed: that he got the documents from a disgruntled DNC insider.

54 replies
    • ess emm says:

      Agree with Mike.

      What’s more, I don’t think any claim in the oppo report should be referred to as “critically important” unless it’s been substantiated. And the still unsubstantiated claim in Steele’s report is that there is a mole/agent. It isn’t enlightening or helpful to remark that a disgruntled DNC insider could also be a mole. It’s just speculation.

      Finally, there is some mis-reporting in this article. Assange has never said he received the report from a “disgruntled DNC insider.” He said it wasn’t the Russian government and not a state party. It’s Craig Murray’s claim that it’s an insider leak.

      • Rebba says:

        “Mole” is not the same as “disgruntled DNC insider.”

        A mole is a conspirator, infiltrated into an organization from the start for furtherance of criminal activity. The mole is a spy, an outsider working undercover for reasons of compensation or belief.

  1. Tommy says:

    Ummmm how is this not exploding onto every news/media outlet there is? This is very VERY big if true. Is this clearly and plainly written in the same dossier everyone’s been talking about for the past few days?

  2. Tommy says:

    Wanted to point something out. By “moles” do they mean the trump campaign sent moles into the DNC or is it actually saying there were DNC “insiders”?

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s unclear–it has been read as both. My point is just that it is consistent with Julian Assange believing (or wanting to believe) he got files from someone with insider ties to the DNC, whether that person was a mole or not.

    • Rebba says:

      Russian penetration operations have featured moles in earlier efforts. The “Climategate” operation, for example, was Russian all the way. Designed to sow discord. Designed to distract attention from other serious issues. Also, seeing Russia warm up a little wouldn’t hurt Putin. The opposite.

      Moles have also been deployed with Russian efforts elsewhere, for example in Italy. All these aggressive national cyber projects are run out of FSB, the former KGB. The natural spymasters over there.

  3. rg says:

    Sentence malfunction alert. In describing the 3 elements of the intelligence network, the wording of the 2nd element includes: “offensive cyber operators based in the”, and then  goes on to describe the third element.  It would  help to know if the rest of that 2nd  clause included “the US”.

  4. pdaly says:

    “and the [leaks of DNC emails] operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team. In return the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue”

    This does sound bad for Trump. Sounds like it would it be the basis for a criminal investigation.

    Why did it not come out more forcefully during the run-up to the election? I remember reading in the press about vague ties of Russia to Trump’s team but usually in the area of possible business deals.


    • bevin says:

      It sounds perfectly reasonable to me: someone in the DNC, perhaps someone afraid of neo-con influences and, in particular, of the presence of Ukrainian fascist sympathisers at the highest level in the Clinton campaign leaked emails to show the world what sort of thing was going on.  You might call it ‘opposition research, although it doesn’t seem to have involved employing a British government spy to nose around.

      And, we are told Trump and senior members of his campaign team approved of the leak. Why wouldn’t they? Did not the Clinton campaign approve of dozens of ‘leaks’ to the prejudice of Trump? Goose? Gander?

      As to the charge that  “In return the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.”

      That can be shown to be untrue- Trump had been critical of the neo-con attempts to use the Baltic states and Ukraine as sticks with which to beat Russia throughout his campaign for the nomination and Presidency.

      What is interesting about the statement is that it represents a step back from the nonsense that Trump is a sort of Manchurian candidate and that the DNC emails were hacked by the objects of the-very suspicious-Crowdstrike’s suspicions. the more we learn the more obscure the matter becomes. And the less evidence of Putin’s involvement there is.

      With bated breath we await the testimony-at a news conference- of the Russian prostitutes to whom Steele, a professional Russophobe, incidentally with long links to the “westernising opposition”,  was in touch to come up with the Golden Showers scoop.

      • Bob In Portland says:

        Again, the Ukraine. I would suspect that this document, among its various purposes, would be a get out of jail card for Chalupa. If the leaks were a means to ratchet up the war footing against Russia, wouldn’t it be better for her to let someone else at the DNC take the fall? Maybe even a Sanders supporter. Time to frisk search Tulsi.

        The fact that this stuff was around and not used last summer strongly suggests to me that the Clinton folks weren’t worrying about losing to Trump, but were laying the groundwork for a cyber-Pearl Harbor in the new year.

        As we know, McCain and Clinton are pretty much on the same page, with only occasional spats over who gets to wear the most medals, so when his name came up regarding this I just presumed that this document was from the War Party and was designed to serve the War Party interests. Like I inferred above, the part about someone else within the DNC being the leaker sounds like ass-covering. What I find curious about all this is that casual observers on the left can see the Ukrainian fingerprints on this but all these intelligence minds can’t seem to figure out what “Heroiam Slava!” means.

        When us simpletons outside the bubble can see Chalupa, Alperovitch, The Atlantic Council and the, ohmygod, the Foreign Policy Reasearch Institute and the ghost of Robert Strausz-Hupe orbiting this ugly pile of propaganda and no one in the mass media, Congress or the intelligence services can see it, well, then I guess us simpletons saw what we weren’t supposed to see.

      • WalkerB says:

        As to the charge that  “In return the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.”
        That can be shown to be untrue- Trump had been critical of the neo-con attempts to use the Baltic states and Ukraine as sticks with which to beat Russia throughout his campaign for the nomination and Presidency.

        This Time article from July 27 suggests real time coordination

        by TrumpCo to alter GOP policy on Ukraine to favor a defanged Ukraine less able to militarily resist Russia:

        The next morning, Texas delegate Diana Denman, a Reagan appointee and an election observer to Ukraine for the 1998 parliamentary elections, introduced an amendment calling for lethal defensive weapons for Ukraine. As Denman read it to the room, two Trump staffers at a side table stopped talking to each other to listen. When she concluded, the two staffers approached the committee co-chair, and the co-chair asked Denman to bring the amendment to him. The Trump staffers got on their cell phones.
        Before final approval of the platform, Denman again raised her Ukraine amendment; a pro-Trump delegate suggested modifying the language to include non-lethal assistance, which passed the committee.
        “I didn’t realize what was happening at the time,” said a platform delegate. “Sending lethal defensive weapons shouldn’t be that controversial — the Obama administration and Donald Trump seem to be the only ones opposed.”

        • emptywheel says:

          Note, I think that focus came in part from this dossier. Also note that the reporting led to an exclusive focus on Russia/Ukraine in the platform, ignoring at least Trump’s China language.

      • bmaz says:

        Jeebus Bevin, you certainly have an overly fertilized imagination behind your regular deranged Clinton bunk.

  5. pdaly says:

    But the timeline seems to coincide with Trump’s public statement (which he later claimed was a joke) that Russia SHOULD release/hack Clinton’s emails.

    In the Independent article (link in emptywheel’s original post above), investigator Mr. Steele wrote a July 2016 memo “stating that Mr Trump’s campaign team had agreed to a Russian request to dilute attention on Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine. Four days later Mr Trump stated that he would recognise Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. A month later officials involved in his campaign asked the Republican party’s election platform to remove a pledge for military assistance to the Ukrainian government against separatist rebels in the east of the country.”

    The Independent article also states that although “no evidence of this [agreement between Russia and Trump] has been made public… the same day that Mr Trump spoke about Crimea he called on the Kremlin to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.”

    Looks like collusion with a foreign power, if true.

    • k says:

      Anyone who has watched 1 Trump rally knows that his sense of humor is sarcasm, sometimes self-deprecating sarcasm like that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters wouldn’t care.  That he was signalling to the Russians – thats gotta be sarcasm, too.  How would the Russians know he wasn’t making a sarcastic joke like he does all the time?

  6. HJL says:

    I’ve read that the this job was started by the Demos. to dig up dirt on Trump.  The group that began this job had connection to Jeb Bush.  Don’t forget his old man was head of the CIA. After Jeb got pounded it was dropped and taken up by some rich folks backing Clinton.  Consider all these players is hard not to believe

    • martin says:

      I’ve read that the this job was started by the Demos. to dig up dirt on Trump.

      umm, I suggest you dig a little deeper. After you finish Tying Shoes for Dummies.

       The group that began this job had connection to Jeb Bush.  Don’t forget his old man was head of the CIA.

      ummm.. JEB BUSH??  Director or the CIA?  holy shit. I must have taken too strong a dose of LSD.  Please..please.. show me when this moron led the CIA.  If you prove it.. I’ll take another dose and STFU.  Otherwise, I suggest you go back to your day job and be thankful your single post here doesn’t go viral.


    • wayoutwest says:

      I’m wondering who are the ‘some rich folks backing Clinton’ and why they haven’t been identified. This type of dirty lying business sounds like something someone with the initials GS might use.

        • wayoutwest says:

          The financer  of a crime becomes the ‘victim’ of rape in this bizarre Clintonite world and I can’t run off to the circus anymore to escape the madness.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, if you are going to victim shame, why would an analogy not be appropriate? Agree it was a bit of a stark one. DV and rape victims are, even more than traditional assault and aggravated assault, the victims I most deal with, whether representing them or attacking them. It is what I know, so where I went. Sorry if a bit stark.

          That said, completely agree about the loss of the circus. It seems like a loss of a tangible piece of Americana. And grand escape it was, both when I was a child and when I took my child to it. Fully understand the owners deciding the handwriting is on the wall and bailing before suffering major and continuing losses in the new economy.

          Still, it kind of hurts and seems significant, no?

        • greengiant says:

          Love how you channel a rant bmaz.   For a lot of people Clinton has been a big negative.   The alleged employers of Steele,  Focus GPS,  whose previous clients have included planned parenthood and various oligarchs,  ( not trying to conflate the two) was hired to fight O’keefe’s attacks.   Mix Hunter Biden,  Chris Heinz,  Chalupa,  and Hillary together.    When Mark Ames and Glenn Greenwald, ( cannot believe Omidyar let him out of the cage on this)  are on the same page…  For some of us Hillary is not a victim, not now, not ever. Not my job to change anyone’s mind.    For me the lesson of 2016 is that neither party has been taking care of the business of making the US work and when one increases the volume or makes an ad hominem attack,  one is not making an argument, (   outside of the courtroom).     As an example of managing decorum,  one judge said,  “parties can both go home now,  I will mail you my judgement”.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. I agree with much you said, but much is not at all. Absolutely agree that neither party has taken due care to, even within a two party system, take appropriate care of the American public.

          To me, that has been self evident for quite a while. While my ideology may lay with liberal Dems, and it does, anybody who has followed this blog very long knows I have some real issues with Dems and Obama.

          By the same token, I think there has definitively been serious derangement about Clinton. Does she have real issues and problems? Of course she does. Is some of the conspiracy level, “Red Queen”, “Clintons left a murder trail!”, crap way over the line? Of course it is.

          Discussion ought be had on a more even keel. I am happy to discuss Hillary Clinton’s failings, and those of Bill as well, but spare me the “Red Queen” and “She’s a witch, burn her”  bullshit that seems to now be such a blithely easy go to position for more than a few commenters on this blog.

        • wayoutwest says:

          There must be a Tower of Babel effect in play here because I haven’t heard anyone comment that the Red Queen should be burnt  or otherwise physically harmed. These are usually the words of Clintonites reacting to the call for justice and legal proceedings leading to ‘Lock Her Up’ the chant heard at Trump rallies.  Even the one call for a necktie party was couched as a legal penalty applied after a conviction for treason.

          It seems the out of bounds rhetoric aimed at the Red Queen and employed by some people is useful for distracting  readers from her real actionable crimes almost as if much of it was produced for that reason.

          What’s weird now is that the Clintonites are churning out the tin-foil hat scenarios aimed at Trump who may find them useful in the future once they’re thoroughly discredited.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, let the record reflect that I genuinely tried to reach out to you and, instead of discussing those points, you immediately doubled down on the “Red Queen” deranged bunk with some new Babel whatever.

          If you ever desire an intelligent discussion, let me know. By the way, if you can ever get your head off of Clinton hatred, we may still have common ground on the circus lost. Or not. It is hard to tell with you. But I’d like to try. You have it in you?

        • Desider says:

          I’m curious how we actually get down to working out compromise on useful left-leaning politics without triggering the usual internecine warfare.

          I do think we need attention to jobs, lower middle-class citizens, the needs of white people as something more than a negative joke, a more deep-dive approach to the immigration issue, et al.

          I’m not convinced our thermal nukes targeting of say the financial industry has any real chance of success once the financial industry notices it’s in the crosshairs – most people aren’t into meekly abetting their own funeral, contrary to popular impressions.

          Nevertheless, the way we started out last year pretending anyone actually wanted a grownup dialog over healthcare was just specimen A of suicidal tendencies. But at least we showed we can be effective (in self-destruction at least) – yay!!!

        • John Casper says:


          Do you want the “…burnt  or otherwise physically harmed…” before or after the trial?

          Are you opposed to the entire Bill of Rights or just the 8th Amendment? “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

          Where do you rank President Clinton and Sec. Clinton among criminals in history? If they’re at the top, who is behind them?

      • k says:

        We await Trump’s people having the power to compel testimony under oath and find out who it was that commissioned this fellow Steele.

  7. martin says:

    quote”The claim there were “moles” within the DNC would be perfectly consistent with something Julian Assange has long claimed: that he got the documents from a disgruntled DNC insider.”unquote

    Croupie, ask the floor manager if I can up my bet past the house limit. I’d like to place a bet double the limit. Place it on the DNC insider narrative. Then hedge it with equal on Debbie Wasserman’s indictment.

  8. Mitchell says:

    Assange’s source is the least important part of this story. How about starting with the truth of each claim and working one’s way down from there?

    In Trump’s case, there’s more than enough out there to be a source of concern at least.

    Let’s start with why only the worst entities lend to him — Deutsch Bank is the only mainstream financial facility tossing him anything and it’s a very fucked up operation — and what ties to the Russian state do his Russian lenders have? For that matter, how about a list of all known lenders and business partners?

    Sometime after that, we can give a shit about Assange’s source.

  9. greengiant says:

    Coincidences,  and whether the now multi scanned tape and paste dossier was post dated or was even written by Steele,  dossier Oct report of Aug 15 meeting between PUTIN and YANUKOVYCH,  Trumps first security briefing Aug 17,  and Manafort’s departure Aug 19.    Reports that Manafort’s cash draw from the [Russian Ukrainian] bloc was used to pay for DC lobbying.   Another criticism of the dossier is the bribe offer of up to 19 percent share of Rosnett as bribe to TRUMP to lift Russian trade sanctions.   At the least all should agree that Trump can sure pick some real doozers for his team.    Which explains anything done pro the [Russian Ukrainian] bloc while Manafort was around.

    • k says:

      Of course,  we don’t know but Manafort might be a complete red herring.  I remember those months and Trump needed him because Cruz was stealing delegates left and right.  Manafort is an expert on the delegate process in the Republican Party; he stopped Reagan from taking the nomination from Ford in 1976.  That sure seems like reason enough for Trump to have been involved with Manafort without anything about Russia.

  10. Peacerme says:

    Let’s see:

    Whitewater: no indictments. 50 million dollar investigation. ( evidence, lewinsky affair not related)
    Benghazi: no indictments. 9 million spent.
    E mail scandal: no indictment. 20 million.

    On the other hand:

    Watergate: 40 indicted or jailed.
    Iran/contra: 138 indicted.
    Plamegate: Libby found guilty

    Either the republicans are a bunch of idiots who don’t have a clue how to run an investigation, or the Clintons are masterminds of evil and espionage? (That lewinsky thing does not seem to support that level of sophistication) or the republicans have been engaging in a common psychological defense mechanism called projection and blame. The facts that support this are the above successful indictments that suggest a comfortability with engaging in illegal and unAmerican behavior while blaming and deflecting and pointing fingers in any direction away from accountability. This does not negate illegal or unethical behavior on the dem side but facts are facts. Non have been successfully prosecuted other than Lewinsky lies.

    We cannot change what we refuse to accept. One team seems to get caught and prosecuted more than the other. (God knows what would have happened had there been criminal investigations of lead up to Iraq war, banking and finance fraud, torture, and violations of privacy-perhaps more dems would have been caught in that net but clearly not the leaders of these schemes).

    I can’t put my finger on it but it seems to me that Nixon, Reagan, GW Bush and Trump share some unflattering characteristics compared to Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Hillary. How are they alike? How are they clearly different? I mean, if you were part of a huge criminal enterprise like human trafficking, or the mob, whose team would you identify with and support???

    I mean….we cannot change what we refuse to accept.

    • k says:

      As I recall, the sitting Governor of Arkansas at the time was prosecuted and convicted as part of the Whitewater investigation.

  11. Rebba says:

    At what point does Trump’s claim of a $900,000,000 personal deduction in 1995 get scrutiny ?

    In 1995 this mirror from the Trump casinos slides through. But what about from FY2004 when the lenders who actually paid off those losses got stiffed in Trump’s bankruptcy action? The lenders got the legitimate write-off. It was their $900,000,000 that got 86’d.

    Any time from FY2004 going forward it would be a federal felony and state felonies in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut if this Donald J Trump continued to apply his 1995 carry loss as a deduction to avoid paying income taxes. Carry loss is useful for investors, farmers, anyone with wildly variable income. Carry loss is not a form of lawless, no-rules welfare for criminal billionaires.

    America had one Bernie Madoff this century. Enough is enough. (NJ Casino Control Commission published the relevant casino balance sheet figures. US Bankruptcy Court has the 2004 Trump Hotel and Casino Resorts papers from 2004. Public document, both. And we have Trump in the debates and elsewhere bragging that he doesn’t pay taxes. (“Smart.” Really?)

  12. wayoutwest says:


    I think the $900k number was Trump’s personal loss and the bankers/investors had an additional $1billion loss on their books.  I doubt Trump’s tax team would miss the expiration date of these carry-loss tax breaks which produce about  one third face value in actual tax savings at least that’s all I got.

    I recall Trump saying that he took advantage of all legal tax codes to reduce his tax debt but losing nearly a billion dollars to not pay taxes later doesn’t sound like a clever business plan.


    • greengiant says:

      NYTimes did an article with that first page of Trumps NYC tax return from the 90s.    They explained how corporations did the dodge all the time,  taking the tax loss,  but really it was totally imaginary,  they never having to pay the loan back because it was transferred to a “disinterested”  snark snark,  party.   In the corporate world, taking over a corporation with a discounted debt,  you do not want to pick up the tax liability of the forgiven debt while retaining the tax credit for the now “imaginary” loss.   As I recall on this side of the Times paywall,  they said his lawyers did not sign up for it and said it probably would not pass audit.    Trump did the dirty with his partnerships instead of a corporation,   with the partnerships my understanding is they can allocate the tax consequences around to the partners per their contract or agreement.    As Trump says,  #sounfair.    Totally without honor.     Same can be said for Clinton foundation.     Cognitive dissonance is so widespread.   Do not care if they are a thief,  as long as they are “our”  thief.   They are not “your” thief,  they only steal for themselves or for others who pay them to steal.

  13. wayoutwest says:


    The NYT is a propaganda organ with opinions and most people can’t do a simple tax return so I’ll leave it to the ever watchful IRS to decide what is legal and proper in Trump’s tax returns. I doubt they are as easily fooled as the people who read the NYT and believe they are informed.

  14. bmaz says:

    Desider above – I wish I knew and had a good answer. For me, at least, I am trying to get more involved in local politics and trying to push that upwards, instead of just focusing on national debates. I should have done much more of this long ago. coal constituents calling and badgering congressmen, both individually, and through local party groups really can be effective.

    • Desider says:

      If you want can ping me at decader courtesy of the big google machine. I like the idea of making *local* organizing simpler and worth doing, vs all the focus on one shot presidential races. A couple of platforms that might simplify this greatly, plus some data savvy folk that can keep the hamsters running.

      • lefty665 says:

        Hi guys, I’m late to the party but would be pleased to have the opportunity to hang with y’all. I burned out on local/state Democratic Party work, but it’s been 5 years and it seems worthwhile to take another look.

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