What’s With This Donald Trump Golden Shower Report, and Should You Believe It?

trump

Last night, BuzzFeed published a report that has apparently been circulating for some time in the worlds of politics, journalism, and government intelligence. The report includes explosive allegations about President-elect Donald Trump, including some particularly titillating stuff about Russian hookers and a “golden shower” performance. Should you believe any of this?

First, here’s the link to the full report, which BuzzFeed published under an introduction that reads (in part):

Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.

This is all horseshit, obviously, because the American people don’t have any real context or standard for “mak[ing] up their own minds” about these unsubstantiated allegations. The American people literally don’t even know who won the popular vote in their own election. BuzzFeed just wanted those sweet, sweet clicks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Please share this article with your friends.

Anyway, nobody wants a Donald Trump pee-pee scandal more than me. But let’s take a deep breath for one quick second.

 

So what’s with this report?

This is an opposition research report put together by a former British intelligence officer, working first for conservative Trump opponents and then for liberal ones (these opponents being organizations, not candidates or campaigns).

This is an important point. There are already plenty of people who seem more than happy to refer to this as a “leaked intelligence report.” I’m not sure where they got that dumb idea.

Oh, Jesus Christ.

(This is pretty clever by Trump, by the way. He’s taken the perceived strength of the report – the mistaken notion that it’s an “intelligence” report in any official government sense – and weaponized it as part of his ongoing feud with U.S. intelligence. Nevermind that the source of this report is neither a current intelligence official nor American.)

Again, that’s not really what this is. This is a collection of opposition research – a bunch of stuff dug up by Trump’s political opposition. The guy who put it together is apparently former British intelligence officer, but suggesting that it’s an “intelligence report” is kind of like saying that Sentimental Journey was a Beatles album. It’s not necessarily garbage, or anything, but it’s not quite that.

The fact that this report was put together explicitly to bring down Trump doesn’t mean that anything in it is necessarily false. Presumably, our trusty former British intelligence agent intended to do a good job here. But what plays in attack ads doesn’t necessarily have to meet the same standard as what appears in a true intelligence report. When all the intelligence agencies state with “high confidence” that Russia interfered with our election, you should believe them; but nobody you should trust has expressed “high confidence” that Trump watched hookers pee all over a bed. Sorry! Nobody is more upset about that than me.

 

Some of this report is junk

Before releasing the report to the masses they seem to trust so much, BuzzFeed did a little actual journalism and disproved a few of the allegations in the report. For instance, BuzzFeed writes:

The report says the settlement of Barvikha, outside Moscow, is “reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates.” It is not reserved for anyone, and it is also populated by the very wealthy.

Not a great sign for the report’s trustworthiness!

Plus, this thing has dumb errors like spelling mistakes. At times, our faithful former British intelligence officer misspells “alpha” (part of a company name mentioned several times) as “alfa,” which, come on, man.

 

The pee stuff is not the most important stuff

The guts of the report allege a close relationship between Trump’s campaign and Russia. It references several secret meetings, kickbacks to onetime Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and a two-way flow of intelligence. It also suggests that Russia has enough dirt on Trump to blackmail him if necessary – while noting that Russia has said it will not use that dirt, because Trump’s camp was so cooperative on its own.

While the pee stuff is the most fun, this Russian stuff is the important stuff. If true, it means that Russian intelligence somehow stuck us with an orange Manchurian Candidate president.

The problem? All of this scary stuff is backed up by “sources” apparently known only to the author of the report. The guts of this report are going to be very hard to independently verify, which is why most news organizations have steered clear.

 

Take this with a huge grain of salt

The report is opposition research, not an intelligence report. It has certain basic things wrong. And its most important accusations rely on anonymous sources.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Trump didn’t watch hookers pee on a bed. Maybe he did! At least one person – the one who put together this report – thinks there’s reasonable evidence that Trump watched a golden shower show in Russia. Today, we woke up in a world where that specific allegation seems at least a little more likely than it was two days ago.

If (like this blog) you have high hopes that Trump really likes pee, you’ll want to pray that a reputable news source can do what BuzzFeed couldn’t and verify this awesome pee-pee story. But, considering that this report has apparently been in the hands of news agencies for some time without any pee-related verification taking place, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Unless you’re around Trump, who might smell like pee.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Hump Day Headlines 1.11.17 - Indelegate

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*