Thursday, January 12, 2017


Steve Bell, The Guardian

Donald Trump will match his credibility against Christopher Steele's anytime. That's Trump's problem. He has none.

If there's anything that the last two years have proven, daily, it's that Donald J. Trump is a pathalogical liar. What comes out of his mouth has only the loosest connection with reality, fact, truth.

As German chancellor, Angela Merkel, put it, "It's interesting to see the thought environment he inhabits."

Now we have this other fellow, Christopher Steele, until this week a name unknown to almost all of us. Trump's antagonist. Information damaging to Trump has been credited to a dossier assembled by Mr. Steele who, by the way, has reportedly gone to ground along with his family. It's said that Steele is terrified of retaliation from Putin, a character he knows well. Perhaps he doesn't like his tea with polonium. Anyway, he left the family cat with the neighbour "for a few days" before vanishing.

What do we know of this Christopher Steele? Actually, quite a lot, and, so far, it's all blue ribbon stuff. It emerges that Steele has in abundance the qualities of which Donald Trump is utterly bereft.

Former colleagues of Steele describe him as “very credible” – a sober, cautious and meticulous professional with a formidable record.

One former Foreign Office official who has known Steele for 25 years and considers him a friend said: “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false, completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”

The official added: “If he puts something in a report, he believes there’s sufficient credibility in it for it to be worth considering. Chris is a very straight guy. He could not have survived in the job he was in if he had been prone to flights of fancy or doing things in an ill-considered way.”

That is the way the CIA and the FBI, not to mention the British government, regarded him, too. It’s not hard to see why.

An Oxford graduate, Steele was one of the more eminent Russia specialists for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The Guardian understands he focused on Soviet affairs after joining the agency, and spent two years living in Moscow in the early 1990s.


Over a career that spanned more than 20 years Steele performed a series of roles, but always appeared to be drawn back to Russia; he was, sources say, head of MI6’s Russia desk. When the agency was plunged into panic over the poisoning of its agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, the then chief, Sir John Scarlett, needed a trusted senior officer to plot a way through the minefield ahead – so he turned to Steele.

It was Steele, sources say, who correctly and quickly realised Litvinenko’s death was a Russian state “hit”.


MI6 has been privately warning that Putin, unchallenged by the west, has grown in confidence and, of course, that the Kremlin has targeted Trump. It would be odd if it hadn’t. The consensus among British securocrats is that “Putin is a wolf … and he preys on the weakest sheep.”

What a mess. If Donald Trump really wants to drain the swamp, he should start with the one he's currently standing in, neck deep. Leave the kinky sex stuff out. Forget about it. Deal with the financial allegations, the accusations that Trump and his empire were bought and sold and are now in the pockets of Russian operatives, i.e. Vlad Putin.

We know when this is said to have begun - after Trump's 7th bankruptcy when his traditional sources of financing cut him off. Open the books from that point onward. Who financed his deals? How many of the financiers were Russian or , worse, unknown. Additionally, if Trump properties were used for money laundering, who was buying them at far above market prices? If they're just numbered companies, Trump should explain that too.

Why should Trump open his books? Because there's so much at stake in this. It's his duty to put this behind him, to restore the confidence of the American people in their president. He chose to put his credibility in the toilet and that can have consequences, especially when he's confronted by someone whose veracity and integrity is vouchsafed by so many at such high levels.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Putin is having a nice string of good days lately. He's probably never been so amused as he is now.

Trump hasn't even taken over the job as POTUS yet but he is mired in controversy on a daily basis. Once he takes office, he'll be spending all of his time dealing with controversies and have little time for running the country. If the consequences weren't so serious, this gong show would be a blast to watch.

I don't see how Trump can possibly last 4 years in the White House.

The Mound of Sound said...

I have to agree with you, Anon. There was much to Merkel's quip about Trump's "thought environment." He's not a focused thinker in a job that demands attention to detail and focus. The thought processes he demonstrated the past two years beg the question of how long before he either has a meltdown or simply abdicates his presidential responsibilities to his team. Age is a factor even for a healthy mind. Trump enters the White House as the oldest incoming president in his nation's history and he's coming in with a very questionable mind. Yet this is the guy who is to be given the nuclear codes?

Maybe Steele's dossier was a CIA commission "just in case" the Great Orange Bloat actually won. See, conspiracy theories, this is tailor made for them.

rumleyfips said...

I'm sure Assange is getting ready to release Trump's tax returns. Putin may also give him the details of all the Russian money Donnie owes.

The Mound of Sound said...

Rumley, I suspect Assange went rogue this time, betting that aiding Trump was his last best hope to finally get free of the Ecuadorean embassy. His usefulness to Trump, however, is over. You can ask any of Trump's subcontractors and trades what it means to be in that position and unpaid.

chris said...

One thing's for sure this isn't going away anytime soon. Right now at the BBC 6 of the top 10 stories feature the word Trump. I liked this one.

(Also Marine Le Pen was seen at Trump Tower in NYC this morning. That gave me a chill.)

Drip, drip, drip. I wonder what the odds are on Trump completing his term. Somebody must have a pool going.