When I first read the Steele dossier, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Everyone would become obsessed with the golden showers incident and the question of whether or not a pee tape actually existed. But the larger body of what is reported in that dossier is much more incriminating than the fact that our newly elected president engaged in some bizarre sexual rituals. Frankly, anyone who had been paying attention didn’t find that part surprising at all.
Fast forward to today and, when it comes to Trump and his enablers, my prediction proved to be totally accurate. If you read the Comey memos, it becomes clear that the president was totally obsessed with the golden showers incident—even as the rest of the dossier documented the lengths to which Russia attempted to influence the election and how that was coordinated with his campaign.
But it’s not just the president who equates the dossier with the pee tape. As is his habit, Byron York attempted to play the intellectual in his latest column rather than admit that he is simply joining the chorus of Trump’s enablers. He starts off by complaining that “the president’s critics argue that the dossier is legitimate because it has not been proven untrue.”
What York doesn’t seem to understand about “the president’s critics” is that we are willing to let the special counsel finish his job before we claim that any of the charges against the president are legitimate or otherwise. But we’re also noticing, in the meantime, that none of the activities documented in the dossier have been proven untrue. That isn’t definitive, but it is significant.
In the end though, York makes it clear that when he refers to the dossier, he’s only talking about the golden showers incident. Here’s the sentence that gives that away: “No one has proved that the most serious allegations are true. ” He makes two arguments along those lines. First, he quotes Comey’s conversation with the president in January 2017 about the pee tapes, as well as the fact that former FBI director still can’t vouch for the truthfulness of the incident. Someone should remind York that Comey was fired on May 9, 2017, eight days before the deputy attorney general appointed a special counsel. Comey has no knowledge of what has/hasn’t been investigated and what has proven to be true or false in the dossier.
The second argument York makes is that Glenn Simpson, one of the founders of Fusion GPS, stated that the Russian source who reported the golden showers incident was a “big talker” who might have made the story up to impress Christopher Steele. Once again, that says nothing about what the Mueller investigation might have found, especially since the golden showers incident was reported by more than one source in the dossier.
But let’s leave all of that aside. Given these arguments, it is clear that York either believes, or wants his readers to believe, that “the most serious allegations” in the dossier have to do with the pee tape incident. He never addresses the parts of the dossier which have actually been proven to be true and contain extremely serious accusations. That includes everything from the fact that Mueller’s indictments against the Russians affirms much of what the dossier suggested to the report that the investigative team now has proof that Michael Cohen traveled to Prague during the time frame noted in the dossier.
To the extent that Trump and his enablers think that the president will be home free from all of this if a pee tape fails to emerge, they are setting themselves up for a very hard fall once the findings of the Mueller investigation are released. As Obama would say, “Please proceed, Mr. York.”