Donald Trump has nakedly obstructed the FBI investigation into his campaign’s collusion with Russia for many months, but there’s another potential threat to Trump’s presidency that he really has no power to obstruct.
For well over a year, the prospect that the Russian government sought and obtained compromising material on Trump has hung over his head, mostly centered around the now-infamous “Steele Dossier.”
While much of the dossier remains unproven, its existence has prompted speculation that such information would provide Russia with a golden opportunity to influence Trump to, for example, oppose sanctions against Russia.
However, heat from the Russia investigation and our co-equal system of government have handcuffed Trump to some degree, forcing him to sign a veto-proof sanctions bill and react — albeit weakly — to Russia’s expulsion of U.S. diplomats, and at least one Russian official is losing patience.
On Russian state television, Russian Institute of Contemporary Economics Director and New Russia Movement leader Nikita Isaev called for the release of “kompromat” and confirmed its existence:
Those remarks were translated by Russian media expert Julia Davis:
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 4, 2017
It is, of course, unclear exactly what information Isaev is referencing, but as House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) pointed out recently, a lot of what’s in the “Steele Dossier” has already been borne out to some degree:
“When you look at just what has become public, some of the public information is very much in line with what is reported in that dossier. And I’ll give you one example that really strikes me. The dossier talks about sources within the Kremlin reporting that they have three goals. They want to find out what support friendly U.S. persons would want, they want to gather relevant intelligence, and then they want to disseminate compromising information. Well, all of that is implicated in the Don Jr. emails that have already been released.
An effort by the Russians through their proxies to find out what the Trump campaign would want, and what they want was negative information about Hillary Clinton. They certainly gather that intelligence by hacking into Democratic institutions. And they certainly disseminated that intelligence. So the three core goals that are outlined in that dossier by that particular source do seem to be very well borne out.
I think people put too much focus on the salacious allegations within the dossier. […] That’s the least significant part of the dossier from my point of view.”
Whether this is a true warning shot or just some dude making noise for TV is an open question, but there are at least two people who know for sure. It will be interesting to see how one of them reacts to this threat.
Watch video of Schiff’s comments below, via MSNBC.