Political Scientist: Trump-Russia Collusion Dossier 'Reads Like a Fiction Novel'

© AP Photo / Alexander ZemlianichenkoA journalist writes a material as she watches a live telecast of the U.S. presidential election standing at portraits of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Union Jack pub in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016
A journalist writes a material as she watches a live telecast of the U.S. presidential election standing at portraits of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Union Jack pub in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
The revelation that Hillary Clinton and the DNC helped fund the controversial dossier making claims of Trump-Russia collusion after the 2016 election has deflated the Democratic Party's effort to smear the president. Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Earl Rasmussen, director of the NGO Eurasia Center, recalled that the report reads like a bad spy novel.

Sputnik: Hillary Clinton started funding the 'dossier' when her position as presidential candidate became shaky. What's your take on this?

Earl Rasmussen: We know that the initial funding, the initial work on the dossier was actually from [Trump's] Republican opponents leading back to 2015. When it [became] clear that he was going to win the primary, the DNC and Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign picked up the ball and carried it. Opposition research is common, but this goes kind of to the borders of what one would expect. Just knowing some of the other things that have occurred in the past, it's not surprising that she would employ whatever's possible to discredit an opponent, whether it was based on fact or not, (in this case it's not), and get information that would be potentially scandalous.

Sputnik: In the pantheon of the dirty tricks in US politics, where does this scandal rate?

Earl Rasmussen: This is probably one of the best…I have a copy of the report sitting in front of me right now, and have read through it. It would probably be better if it was funded as a fiction novel or something – like a very off-the-wall spy novel…To think they actually put money in this; we don't know exactly how much, but it's got to be in the seven digits, for this type of work, which probably wouldn't get published by any publisher —I know from when I worked in the government that it would not have been accepted as an acceptable piece of work. It probably sets the tone and the example for other opposition research [in pushing] the extreme of ethical behavior.

Sputnik: The founders of Fusion GPS, the firm that was initially hired on to produce the dossier, have pled the Fifth Amendment when asked to disclose their involvement. What were they afraid of?

Earl Rasmussen: Why do people usually plead the fifth? Self-incrimination. There are other reasons, don't get me wrong on that, but, obviously, they're trying to protect themselves; they're also going to court fights to prevent their financial records [from being released. That would allow the public] to find out who was actually funding this effort – it would give an indication of not just who exactly in the DNC [was involved]; rumor has it that the FBI picked up the funding as well, which is really quite questionable, and then also potentially lead into who the Republican donors were.

So there's a lot of tabloid information that's hidden behind what testimony might be there, and what gossip might come out, as well what might be found in those financial records.

Sputnik: Since no proof of actual collusion between Trump and Russia has yet been discovered, how can Hillary Clinton actually avoid any responsibility for this?

Earl Rasmussen: It's her campaign staff. She's essentially somewhat removed, and I'm sure that's what she's going to say –that she was unaware of this, although I doubt that. So you've got campaign staff people, you've got the DNC and her campaign and the individuals responsible there. They're contracting a law firm, who then contracts Fusion GPS, who then contracts Mr. [Christopher] Steele [the former British spy who compiled the document].

[With] this kind of money to do this kind of research, the whole plan needs to be laid out. I'm sure somebody knew what the chain was, but with every link, you've got addition potential separation from direct responsibility. 

But I know specific actual situations that are in this dossier, and they are completely fabricated and false. And I've talked to other people that have done research, and from my understanding, nothing, in over a year, has been corroborated.

Earl Rasmussen: This is interesting. Mueller's got a very good reputation, but there are relationships issues here. Mr. James Comey – some of his behavior was quite questionable under the previous administration… But this dossier was really kind of the center of a lot of this investigation, and it's quite questionable. I think there can be other political [issues]. I don't know what Mr. Mueller's alliances are. I'm hoping that he puts those alliances aside to do an honest investigation, but my personal feeling is that we're wasting a lot of money on this investigation, and it's unfortunate because it's tearing the country apart, and I think it's time to move on.

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