Dan Bongino did a very nice interview this morning with Fox. In it he articulated in fairly persuasive fashion his theory on the dossier. Basically--and this is the 25 words or less version, more or less--Bongino believes that Steele was the "front man" for the dossier, but that Nellie Ohr wrote it. In other words, Steele provided cred for the dossier--he was former MI6 and had worked in Russia (albeit long ago), and he was a known informant for the FBI in a major international case. Here's that interview:
It pays to listen closely, or maybe listen to the interview more than once. I presented the brief version, but Bongino's full version is a bit more nuanced than that. He points out, naturally, that Steele may have been "a part" of putting together the eponymous dossier. But, he notes, we know that Nellie Ohr put together a different dossier--a dossier on Paul Manafort. More on that in just a moment. However, as he has in the past, Bongino also pushes the notion that a 2007 article by Glenn Simpson (Nellie's boss at Fusion GPS) in the WSJ actually amounted to the dossier--all that was done, claims Bongino, is change a few names.
Well, I've read that article (subscription required), and long before today. It isn't the dossier with the names changed. What it shows, however, is that Glenn Simpson was certainly an authority on Russia's (and Ukraine's) politically connected "mafia." He was, and is, also a world class authority on Paul Manafort--which explains, in part, why he would have Nellie write a "dossier" on Manafort (for my part, I continue to wonder whether there's a back story to how Manafort wound up with the Trump campaign--I know the "official" version). So did Glenn Simpson actually write the dossier? Someone with his deep knowledge--probably deeper than Steele's or Nellie's--of the Russian oligarchic mafia could easily frame the dossier, construct a narrative that others could flesh out. Ohr's reporting certainly gives the impression that Simpson was very much involved in the dossier.
Commenter Mike Sylwester thinks there may be something in the theory that Sergey Skripal wrote, or was involved in the production of, the dossier. Remember Skripal? He's the Russian who was recruited by Chris Steele back in the day, and was poisoned (along with his daughter Iulia) in March, 2018. He was working for Chris Steele's firm, Orbis International at the time, and the official UK government version of Skripal's poisoning is--to put it charitably--dodgy at best. Could Skripal have provided some expertise to lend the dossier verisimilitude? It makes sense to me.
So, at this point, I'm willing to believe that the dossier was a collective project, with each participant providing something from their own knowledge or past experience. The important thing, of course, is that the rubber really meets the road when US Government officials take the dossier and put it to official use, to justify obtaining a FISA warrant on Carter Page. Opposition research is one thing, but when FBI and DoJ officials work hand in hand with the opposition research contractor for a political campaign--for POTUS, no less--that's really big. And that government involvement is where we start finding documentable felony violations. Which isn't to say I don't want to know "the rest of the story." I do.
Rudy Giuliani touched on the rest of the story last night, as did Bongino today. As Rudy put it,
You can’t BELIEVE what’s going to come out! ... There’s plenty of evidence of what happened in Ukraine. Plenty of evidence of what happened in UK. In Italy. This was a massive conspiracy!
Bongino alludes to the monumental character of this conspiracy, as well, when he points out Steele's cooperation with US authorities within the last month or so--with Michael Horowitz's OIG, to be specific. Steele agreed to cooperate because he thought he was about to be "sold down the river" (By whom? By the UK? By US actors?). The result was a 16 hour interview with OIG.
Sixteen hours! Believe me, if you have your act together, you can cover a lot of ground in 16 hours. In a prior life I was interviewed by OIG for eight hours. What I can tell you is that they came prepared. There was no down time, no fumbling around, like, what will we ask next? For anyone thinking that Horowitz is doing a coverup--it's hard for me to believe that that 16 hour interview was simply staged.
I think the Dems know that, too. I think the knowledge of what's about to hit them is driving their distraction tactics. I doubt that it will gain any traction at all.