Journalist-Authors Isikoff, Corn also fell in love with Danchenko’s legendary dossier Source | National and Global News
After Special Advocate John Durham accused the main source of the Steele case last month of lying to investigators about a Trump supporter providing his most explosive allegations, some senior reporters who linked between the supporter, Sergei Millian, and the record retracted. their published reports.
But others resisted, including Yahoo News ‘Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones’ David Corn, who co-authored a book falsely linking Millian to the record.
In their 2018 bestseller, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump” the authors identified Millian as the source of the claim that the Kremlin had a Trump blackmail gang with prostitutes – the so-called “pee gang.”
“Millian would come to play an oversized role in Trump-Russia history by apparently making sensational and unverified statements about what happened in a hotel room in Moscow,” Isikoff and Corn wrote. Only, Millian made no such claim.
According to a federal grand jury indictment of Igor Danchenko, a former Brookings Institution analyst who provided much of the file’s content, Danchenko falsely attributed the filth to Millian. The Belarusian-American businessman has been described in the file as a “close associate” of Trump, which is also false, lending unwarranted credibility to the salacious sex rumor. The indictment suggests the real source was another Clinton agent – former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Charles Dolan – who confessed to Durham investigators that there was nothing in the rumor .
A few pages later, Isikoff and Corn reported, based on information passed to them by Clinton’s paid campaign agent Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, that “Simpson would later learn of [ex-UK spy and dossier author Christopher] Steele’s identity as Source D, the primary source of the “golden showers” claim. It was Sergei Millian. “
“Like everyone who had spoken to the collector of Steele [Danchenko]”, added the authors,” Millian was an unwitting source; he had no idea that his conversation with the collector would be passed on to Trump’s political enemies. “
But Durham’s examination of Danchenko’s phone records and other evidence showed that Millian had never had such a conversation with Danchenko. Clinton’s subcontractor just made it up. (Danchenko also attributed to Millian the key case allegation of a “well-developed cooperative plot” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, which formed the basis of the FBI warrants to spy on the former campaign adviser to Trump, Carter Page. Also was fabricated.)
In the wake of the Durham revelations, The Washington Post retracted or corrected sections of as many as 14 articles on Millian and the dossier. The Wall Street Journal, which first linked based on an anonymous single source in a January 2017 article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Maremont, now admits the indictment raises serious concerns. “Serious questions” about his reporting. ABC News, which ran an article in January 2017 by former correspondent Brian Ross and producer Matthew Mosk identifying Millian as a key source on the matter, said it was “reviewing” his reporting “in light of new developments.” .
Corn, Washington bureau chief of left-wing political magazine Mother Jones, and Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, were among the first reporters to take an interest in the Steele file in the media, from the fall 2016. Responding to criticism on Twitter last month, Isikoff claimed he disowned the case years ago: “I already did, some time ago (before [Justice Department IG Michael] Horowitz and Durham) ”, referring to the remarks he made at USA Today in 2018.
In this interview, Isikoff gently indicated that some of the information he received was false, stating that some of the “most sensational allegations on the record are probably false.” He summed up the case as a “mixed case”. Now he knows for sure that what he reported was incorrect and yet he did not post any corrections or mea culpas.
Isikoff once tweeted a link to his book “Russian Roulette” to President Trump, claiming that “this is what is true, Mr. President.” Currently at the top of his Twitter page, Isikoff still has a tweet pinned in 2018 thanking MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for helping propel the book to # 1 on Amazon.
In an attempt to cope with his own role in pushing the fables of the case, Corn wrote last month a long room in Mother Jones claiming that just because the case turned out to be fictional doesn’t mean the Russiagate account is a hoax. He insisted that Trump is still “guilty” of betraying America by approaching Russia.
Corn avoided mentioning Millian once in his 4,000-word essay and even cited “Russian roulette” in his defense. In his account, the fact that he and Isikoff showed some skepticism in reporting that the DOJ watchdog revealed that Steele may have exaggerated his most sensational claims, makes up for the repetition of these stories in their story. delivered. Corn also continues to feature “Russian Roulette” as the backdrop for its Twitter page.
Corn admits that he “pursued some of the allegations” but “could not determine anything”. Despite this, he called on the FBI to investigate Millian in a January 19, 2017, Mother Jones report. story. Months earlier, Corn gave a copy of the file to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, whom he knew socially. (The magazine appended an editor’s note to this article, stating: “An earlier report from Mother Jones noted that Sergei Millian was allegedly a source for the Steele file… Content referring to Millian has been updated from appropriate manner. “
In an interview with RCI, Millian said that in addition to correcting the case, the two men owed him an apology.
“Isikoff and Corn have played a role in spreading bad rumors and gossip about innocent US citizens,” Millian said, noting that he had hired a libel lawyer. “Now they’re just avoiding reasonable questions about their role, like they’re not part of harming people.”
Neither Corn nor Isikoff responded to requests for comment.
While it is impossible to correct the print editions released long ago, the electronic edition of their book was also not revised, as that was around the time of late Trump’s first impeachment. 2019 through early 2020 (“completely updated and expanded to reflect the latest surveys,” according to its coverage).
Their publisher, Twelve, a brand of Hachette Book Group, did not respond to emails seeking comment. On the official book website, the New York-based publisher promotes “Russian Roulette” as the “# 1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER”, but has not posted any updates or corrections to the webpage.
The site quotes “praise” for the writers of Maddow, who gushed, “Two of the best and most accomplished investigative reporters of their generation, two of the best investigative reporters we have in this country. … [A] superpower reporting team. “
It also includes this blurb from a New York Times reviewer: “Russian Roulette is the most comprehensive and compelling story.
Steele first passed the false allegations on to the perpetrators in 2016. This fall, Simpson booked a private room at the Tabard Inn in Washington, where he introduced them to Steele. There, the former MI6 agent spilled his secret “intelligence” on Trump and Russia, Isikoff and Corn acknowledged in their book. Steele met for the unofficial conversations with The New York Times, The New Yorker, CNN, The Washington Post, and Yahoo News and Mother Jones, but only Yahoo News and Mother Jones bit his wild and unfounded rumors at the time. .
“US Intelligence Officials Investigate Trump Advisor’s Links to the Kremlin,” a Yahoo headline proclaimed of the story Isikoff wrote on September 23, 2016, a story the FBI shockingly used to help corroborate Steele’s information cited in a warrant to spy on the same Trump. advise, Page, despite Steele being the primary source for Isikoff’s article.
Isikoff acknowledges his close relationship with Simpson in a personal note at the end of his book.
“Full disclosure: Glenn Simpson, a key player on these pages, is a longtime friend,” he wrote in “Russian Roulette”. “For many years, I benefited immensely from Glenn’s knowledge of Putin’s Russia and American politics. In telling this story, we tried to do what he would have done: play things straight.”
Also close to Simpson, Corn was the prime propagator of the case, doing the dirty work of the Clinton campaign in the home stretch of the presidential campaign. He allowed Steele, anonymously, to state “that there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual interest” in his October 31, 2016, Mother Jones coin.
His story was one of the most detailed in the allegations of links between the Trump campaign and Moscow, creating a major talking point for the Clinton campaign in the closing days of the 2016 election. “Glille [sic] asked Chris [Steele] talk to the Mother Jones reporter. It was Glen’s[sic] Hail Mary “attempt” to publicize the case in the media ahead of election day, wrote Bruce Ohr, then a senior Justice Department official, in notes he took of a meeting he had with Simpson at the time.
Like Isikoff, Corn did not explain to Steele how he knew his account of a Trump-Russia plot was true. It was a significant omission. It turned out that there was no “established exchange”. Steele’s main source, Danchenko, has it all fictional.