The Hypocrisy of Republican Attacks on the Steele Dossier

In order to undermine the Mueller investigation, Republicans are making the case that the dossier produced by Christopher Steele is tainted because the research was paid for by a law firm working for the Clinton campaign and the DNC. That makes it partisan, and it must therefore be discounted as unreliable.

Heather Digby Parton noticed a glaring problem with their argument: it is unabashedly hypocritical.

During the summer and fall of 2016, the talk of the election was all about the Clinton Foundation and insinuations of “pay for play” during Hillary’s term as Secretary of State. At one point it became clear that the FBI had opened an investigation into these matters and the Wall Street Journal reported that it was spurred by Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash.

Much of the skepticism toward the case came from how it started—with the publication of a book suggesting possible financial misconduct and self-dealing surrounding the Clinton charity. The author of that book, Peter Schweizer—a former speechwriting consultant for President George W. Bush—was interviewed multiple times by FBI agents, people familiar with the matter said.

During an appearance on Fox News around that time, Schweizer affirmed that he had been interviewed multiple times by the FBI and that his book had provided the “roadmap” for the investigation.

As a reminder, Schweizer wrote that book while he was an employee of Steve Bannon at the Government Accountability Institute, which is primarily funded by the right wing Mercer family. Nevertheless, Trump and Republicans were quick to jump on all of the inferences contained in the book about so-called “crooked Hillary” and, to this day, bemoan the fact that the FBI investigation into these matters turned out to be a dud.

What is interesting to note is that, rather than attempt to undermine the investigation, the media and a lot of Democrats took these questions about the Clintons very seriously, regardless of their original source. We certainly did here at the Washington Monthly. At the end of the day, Paul Glastris summarized what we learned.

Thanks to the publishing of these investigations—most of which took many months of dogged effort to produce—we now have a tremendous amount of granular information about the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with the State Department and with the federal government generally. In virtually every case we know of, it’s clear that Hillary and her staff behaved appropriately.

It is almost passé to document Republican hypocrisy because it has become as common as mud. But the truth is that a little over a year ago they were heralding an FBI investigation that had been initiated based on research paid for by partisan operatives trying to dig up dirt on the opposition. Today, that same scenario is being used to initiate a war on the FBI. They are nothing if not shameless.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.