The Steele Dossier and the End of Shame In American Politics

The famous philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal once declared that “the only shame is to have none.” The problem with shame is that it requires a sense of guilt over one’s actions. In the age of rage, there appear fewer and fewer actions that are beyond the pale for politics. Take Adam Schiff and the Steele dossier. While even the Washington Post has admitted that it got the Russian collusion story wrong in light of the findings of Special Counsel John Durham, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is still insisting that he was absolutely right to promote the discredited Steele dossier. Schiff’s interview on NBC’s Meet the Press may be the final proof of the death of shame in American politics.

Schiff was one of the greatest promoters of the Steele dossier despite access to briefings casting doubt about Steele and the underlying claims. However, Schiff recently has attempted to defend himself by claiming that Steele was a respected former spy and that he was lied to by a Russian source.

Schiff told host Chuck Todd:

“I don’t regret saying that we should investigate claims of someone who, frankly, was a well-respected British intelligence officer. And we couldn’t have known, of course, years ago that we would learn years later that someone who is a primary source lied to him. [Igor] Danchenko lied to Christopher Steele and then lied to the FBI. He should be prosecuted. He is being prosecuted. And I’ll tell you this, if he’s convicted, he should not be pardoned the way Donald Trump pardoned people who lied to FBI agents, like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn. There ought to be the same standard in terms of prosecuting the liars. But I don’t think there ought to be any pardon, no matter which way the lies cut.”

Schiff’s spin is enough to cause permanent vertigo.

Some of us have spent years being pummeled for questioning the obvious problems with the Steele dossier, including the long-denied connection to the Clinton campaign. Schiff was the main voice swatting down such criticism and his endorsements were treated as dispositive for media from MSNBC to the Washington Post. After all, he was the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and assured the public that our criticisms were meritless and the dossier was corroborated.

Schiff’s spin, however, continues to deny the obvious about the Russian collusion scandal.

First, many would guffaw at the claim that Steele was and remains a “well-respected British intelligence officer.”  Soon after the dossier was shopped to the FBI, British intelligence flagged credibility problems with Steele. The FBI severed Steele as an asset. Even his own sources told the FBI that Steele wildly exaggerated information and distorted intelligence. Most recently, Steele went public with a laughable claim that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former counsel, was lying to protect Trump despite spending years trying to get Trump charged criminally.

Second, Schiff ignored repeated contradictions in Steele’s dossier as well as evidence that the dossier was paid for and promoted by the Clinton campaign. In 2017, even fired FBI agent Peter Strzok admitted that “we are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials” and “Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his subsource network.” Schiff would have had access to some of this intelligence. Indeed, while the Clinton campaign was denying that it funded the dossier, American intelligence knew that that was a lie.  Indeed, until the Durham indictments, Schiff continued to defend the Russian collusion investigation and the Steele dossier.

Third, Schiff attempts to portray the sole problem with the Steele dossier as Russian analyst Igor Danchenko. That is simply not true. Schiff was long aware that there were allegations of misleading or false information given by the FBI to the secret court. Indeed, the first Durham conviction was of Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI agent who pleaded guilty. Schiff was aware that President Barack Obama was briefed in 2017 that Hillary Clinton was allegedly planning to manufacture a Russian collusion scandal — just days before the start of the Russian investigation. The dossier was riddled with disproven allegations.

Fourth, Schiff states that he merely sought to investigate allegations.  However, Schiff was one of the most active members fueling the Russian collusion allegations. Indeed, when the Mueller investigation found no proof of Russian collusion, Schiff immediately went public to claim that he had evidence of collusion in his committee files. It was meant to keep the scandal alive. Schiff has never produced his promised evidence of collusion.

While Schiff insists that he was just doing his due diligence in pushing for an investigation, the claim is not only undermined by his refusal to acknowledge obvious flaws in the dossier for years but his opposition to the investigation by John Durham. Indeed, while Schiff insists that he is glad to see people like Danchenko prosecuted, he opposed the continuation of this and other investigations.

Schiff told MSNBC that ongoing investigations would constitute “tearing down our democracy” and would serve as a way to “delegitimize” a president.  Schiff denounced the Durham investigation as a “politically motivated” effort and resisted demands from Trump to issue a report before the election. Schiff raised the termination of the Durham investigation by Attorney General Garland before Durham could issue any indictments or reports.  He added “The appointment is not consistent with the language of the statute that he’s relying on and can be rescinded, I think, by the next attorney general. I would presume the next attorney general will look to see if there is any merit to the work that John Durham is doing.”

So Schiff is now heralding indictments by Durham despite the fact that, if he had gotten his way, there would have been no Durham and no indictments.

The Russian collusion scandal was not some harmless political ploy. Lives were destroyed. Carter Page, who was never charged with a single crime, was labeled a Russian agent and pilloried across networks and print media. A fortune was spent on investigations by Congress, two special counsels, and inspectors general investigations.  Hundreds of people faced questioning and many spent their savings on legal representation. A presidency was derailed, agencies like the Justice Department and the FBI were whiplashed by scandal, and Congress dropped a myriad of other issues to focus on various investigations.

In the wake of those costs, Schiff offers little more than a shrug.

Many have long marveled at the incapacity for shame in politicians. That missing emotion was most famously captured by lawyer Joseph Welch in the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954: “Have you no shame, sir, at long last? Have you no shame?” The answer is that we now live in a post-shame era where the only shame is yielding to the impulses of decency or decorum. The Russian collusion scandal served its purpose and Adam Schiff would be the first say that there is no shame in that.

171 thoughts on “The Steele Dossier and the End of Shame In American Politics”

  1. one must possess a functioning brain to understand the concept of shame for doing wrong. this jerk has no brain and his heart and soul are as dark as a moonless night. he is an evil poseur of a human being.

  2. Turley says that the “The Post” admitted that it got the “Russian collusion story wrong.”


    The paper says:

    “The newspaper removed references to Millian as Steele’s source in online and archived versions of the original articles. The stories themselves won’t be retracted.”

    It only retracted references to Milligan; otherwise, the Post stands by its story by virtue of not retracting its articles!

    Now does that sound like the Post is admitting that it got whole Russian collusion story wrong?
    Why is Turley creating a false narrative?

    1. Jeff,

      It is well known in this forum that you are full of schiff, pun intended. In this case you have quoted the summary paragraph of the article instead of the lead paragraph. This is not surprising because your deception is intentional. It must suck to be you, a person whose position can only be supported by deception.

      To be clear, I would say that the WP admitting that they “remov[ed] large portions of two articles” qualifies as the WP admitting that they got these two articles wrong. The lead paragraph of the article that Turley linked follows.

      “The Washington Post on Friday took the unusual step of correcting and removing large portions of two articles, published in March 2017 and February 2019, that had identified a Belarusian American businessman as a key source of the “Steele dossier,” a collection of largely unverified reports that claimed the Russian government had compromising information about then-candidate Donald Trump.“

  3. What gets me is the cultural amnesia around Watergate in regards to the whole Russia-gate scandal.
    On June 17th, 1972, President Nixon commissioned a group of criminals to break into Democratic Party Committee Headquarters to spy on the opposing political party.
    Russia-gate was a lie commissioned by one political party knowing full well that it would allow them to use our country’s own intelligence agencies to spy on the opposing political party.
    Both were covered up.
    Is not the later – lying knowingly to our country’s own intelligence agencies to get them to spy on the opposing political party – isn’t this a dramatically graver injustice?
    Why is this analogy not more commonly made?

  4. Slightly on topic…

    Perhaps the reason Julian Assange must rot and die incommunicado is because he knows from whom Wikileaks received the DNC emails… If so, his testimony would give lie to everything Russia! Russia! Russia! Bill Binney says the original file copy timestamps prove the emails were leaked using a thumb drive.

    What happened to Seth Rich?

    Motive. Opportunity. Conspiracy. Murder. Cover-up.

    Pure speculation, of course…

    1. Assange would not reveal a source. Just isn’t in him. He may or may not know the real source, but he still won’t provide any information.

      1. Assange would not reveal a source. Just isn’t in him. — alan rabinowits

        Perhaps not, but, if you were Rich’s killer, why take that chance?

  5. BRAVO to the good professor, who will call out dubious conduct or speech by persons of either political party. This is why I find his column/blog so compelling and worthy of review.

  6. As an attorney-litigator, I have always cringed at the conduct of Adam Schiff, whom I consider a dishonest political worm. I am in shock that he has not faced the consequences of ethics complaints or disbarment

    1. What is not to understand? Schiff is being judged by fellow Democrats who have the same lack of ethics and morality.

  7. And you sir need to heap shame on the whole Muller (Wiseman) fiasco, that was designed to run cover fir the Obama and Clinton illegalities, to wit: using the Gov. resources to investigate an d smear team Trump during the 2016 Election. By the way, Obama got the report from CIA Commie Brennan in Aug. 2016 not 2017, and both of those clowns knowing that there was no Russian Collusion lied about it fir 4 years. We still cant get any of you elites to admit this damned election was stolen, when you all know it was stolen Mr. Turley, until that, you are not really standing with we the people.

  8. Lets end this right here, Schiff was of the Gang of 8, everyone of them knew that Russia-gate was a hoax except for Nunes who they kept out of the loop on purpose, Burr and Rubio also knew, so McConnel, Schiff, Pelosi and Schumer all knew it was a Hillary Political hit, you know how we know? Because the lying commie Brennan told that to Obama on Aug, 18, so after that date , and after the Election, everyone of them knew it was a damned lie.

  9. The most astonishing thing to believe about Joe Biden is that his presidency is less than a year old. No wonder the incidence of depression, suicide, anxiety, drug overdosages and homicides have increased in 2021, and we aren’t even into a full year.

    Earlier this year, Joe declared: “America is back.” After watching the first year of the Biden administration, we might ask: Back from what?

    Are gas prices and inflation low under the Biden administration? Did Joe take out Iranian terrorist Soleimani? Did Joe direct the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate? Did Joe help to broker peace treaties between Israel and Arab states? Does Joe enforce US immigration law? Did Joe supply military aid to the Ukraine? Joe did supply his son to the Ukraine to make boatloads of fossil fuel money for the family.

    In Joe’s world, “America is back.” Back to high inflation, energy dependency and being pushed around on the world stage by foreign adversaries. Under Joe Biden, “America is back” to 1979 when all these issues were common.

    – R. L.

    1. Everything w your comment is fine except the words fossil fuel. Don’t feed the left anything!

      1. Did you say fossil fuel?

        Deepest oil ever found – 40,000

        Deepest dinosaur fossil ever found – 7,400

        What the —- are you talking about?

        Is this a serious debate or hysterical incoherence?

        There is no such thing as fossil fuel.

        Abiotic Oil a Theory Worth Exploring

        Production at the oil field, deep in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, was supposed to have declined years ago. And for a while, it behaved like any normal field: Following its 1973 discovery, Eugene Island 330’s output peaked at about 15,000 barrels a day. By 1989, production had slowed to about 4,000 barrels a day.

        Then suddenly—some say almost inexplicably—Eugene Island’s fortunes reversed. The field, operated by PennzEnergy Co., is now producing 13,000 barrels a day, and probable reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million. Stranger still, scientists studying the field say the crude coming out of the pipe is of a geological age quite different from the oil that gushed 10 years ago.

        Oil may not be formed the way we think it is.Thomas Gold, a respected astronomer and professor emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, has held for years that oil is actually a renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs, he says.

        All of which has led some scientists to a radical theory: Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself, perhaps from some continuous source miles below the Earth’s surface. That, they say, raises the tantalizing possibility that oil may not be the limited resource it is assumed to be.

        – U.S. News and World Report, Sept. 14, 2011 (excerpted)

    2. Gas prices and inflation are the direct and proximate result of Trump’s incompetence in handling of the pandemic that caused the country to shut down for over a year. Once COVID numbers started improving and trade and employment ramped up, there was a lag in the supply chain which had been cut back due to decreased consumer demand and unemployment. Inflation is just as bad in England as here. Is that Joe Biden’s fault? Congress supplied military aid to Ukraine, not Trump, who tried to leverage such aid into fake allegations against Joe Biden, which got him his first impeachment.

      There were no “peace traties between Israel and Arab states”. All Jared Kushner did is formalize trade agreements between Israel and Bahrain and some others WHO HAD ALREADY BEEN TRADING FOR YEARS. There were no conflicts that were resolved–so they weren’t “peace deals” at all. The Trump lie machine tried to turn trade agreements into “peace agreements” solely to try to get the Nobel Peace Price because Trump is insanely jealous that Obama had been awarded the prize.

      Yeah, it takes time to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, but things will get better. Biden just closed an infrastructure deal that Trump couldn’t get done in 4 years’ time. The infrastructure deal will repair and replace crumbling roads and bridges that have been neglected for far too long. It will provide charging stations for electric vehicles, which will help get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels. It will get rid of old lead pipes that are poisoning our children, causing brain damage. It will create millions of good-paying jobs.

  10. Biden has no shame either. Biden is the incredibly shrinking president likely outpacing his incredibly shrinking brain. Truly sad.

    James Freeman from WSJ elaborates:

    On Tuesday the president offered a much more optimistic assessment of the possibilities for his infrastructure spending. But his assessment of the country generally was rather bleak. Mr. Biden said, “Take a look at what’s happened over the last 20 years. The backbone of this nation has been hollowed out: hardworking, middle-class folks.” It’s a remarkable comment from a man who served as vice president for eight of those 20 years, president for nearly one and a senior U.S. senator for most of the rest.

    Perhaps someday he’ll be in a position to help.

    1. Estovir, Republicans have worked with the Koch Brothers to sabotage labor unions and they refuse to consider raising the minimum wage. Republicans couldn’t even do infrastructure!

      To claim that Biden is somehow responsible for these issues is totally disingenuous. But then all you do is generate phony outrage.

      1. What are you even talking about? How is this relevant at all to the article.. lamest attempt at whataboutism ive seen in a while.

          1. maybe “Garrett” was simply so moved by your silly post that he felt compelled to come forward and call you out–

      2. Estovir, Republicans have worked with the Koch Brothers to sabotage labor unions and they refuse to consider raising the minimum wage.
        Nobody stops unions from organizing. There are no barriers. illuminating example. Wisconsin passed a law that cancelled the requirement employers must deduct union does from paychecks and forward the money to the Union Office. Did nothing to hinder union participation. Yet, when the Union members, those members receiving all the benefits of collective bargaining, had to take three minutes to set up an automatic payment on their smart phones, lots of them somehow could not be bothered to invest that three minutes of their life to support their union. Unions should at the very least be proactive enough to sell their service to their members.
        B)minimum wage.
        The best minimum wage is zero. The supper markets I frequent have about 25% of the checkers they had just 3 years ago. Self checkout has eliminated hundreds of checkers. Kiosks have replace counter help at McD’s and others. Bank tellers are a thing of the past. Private contractors have exploded, Millions working with no benefits. Set the minimum wage at what ever random number you pick out of thin air…the market will immediately respond to make the number irrelevant.

        President Trump was the 1st President since WWII that actually increase real wages for minorities, women., and the unwashed middle class. Biden wiped it all out with a swipe of his executive order pen.

        1. “the market will immediately respond to make the number irrelevant.”

          You are correct, but which groups are hurt the most? The poor minorities that are uneducated. Democrat policies keep that group down especially minimum wage laws. Democrat actions are racist, without concern for those they say they support.

      3. Not correct unions only further remove the individual and brings power to groups and mob think and fear. Minimum wages are further market meddling and is a low bar to require.

      4. You are such a pinhead, no different from your past aliases and others.

        Minimum wage laws hurt the least educated, minorities and poor most. Yolu must be a racist.

        The Democrats have proposed “infrastructure” that could be passed by almost all. The problem is that what they are proposing is pork and Democrat social justice desires instead of infrastructure, but you wouldn’t know that.

        You are a phony.

    2. Biden blames himself for the decline of America and doesn’t realize he did. His ignorance of what he says is appalling. Sort of bragging about failure.

  11. ‘Shame’ results from external judgment; ‘guilt’ from internal judgment. There has long been a sense of guiltless among the privileged. What we have lost is the external accountability that enforces shame..

  12. Senate Select Committee Found That Roger Stone Was Go-Between Trump And WikiLeaks

    The Senate report found that Trump spoke with Roger Stone about back-channel efforts to communicate with the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks about the release of emails stolen by Russian hackers that were damaging to Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

    Trump told Mueller’s team, in written responses to investigators’ questions, that he did not recall discussing WikiLeaks with Roger Stone.

    “Despite Trump’s recollection, the committee assesses that Trump did, in fact, speak with Stone about WikiLeaks and with members of his campaign about Stone’s access (to the group) on multiple occasions,” the report said.

    Edited From:

    Senate intel panel offers playbook on Russian interference in 2016

    USA Today, 8/18/20

    1. Remain anonymous in fact, and become invisible in reality. It suits you and your opinions forged from partisan news sources that you present with your own bent ideology in an attempt to “persuade.” Hint: it ain’t working….

    2. Which ought to tell you that the Republicans were in the loop also DUH, both Burr and Rubio were on the Committee that found that, both knew of the Wolfe guy who leaked the Documents to the female reporter very well, when Wolfe threatened via his lawyer to “Call Witnesses at his trial” the Committee members all vouched for him and aske the courts to give him a short sentence, LOL, Pssttt, he was leaking for the Committee, Gov. Classified Papers. Thus he git a 1 month sentence for leaking classified documents. The FBI didn’t even want the agent who caught on to it to say anything, but he protested.

      The fact that you liberals are so naive amazes me to no end. Of course they found all that Rubio and Burr were in on it, they all get paid to sell us out to China. DUH, meanwhile they seek to divide us and you walk right along with those bozos.

    3. There has never ever been one iota of physical or material or documented evidence that Russia or Russian agents “hacked” Hillary’s and Podesta’s emails. The proof is you can not post one link to such evidence except your lying keystrokes.

    4. Link the Dates and names.

      (you may want to read the conclusion that rebuts everything the Senate Committee “asseses”

  13. The New York Times, The Washington Post and Politico have all come out and said their Dossier reporting was all wrong. They just say “My bad, oh well let’s just move on in our further attempts to hurt the nation”. They put their apology in the Style section. News flash! The Times has just decided to give back the Pulitzers they received for their top shelf reporting. Just kidding, I knew you wouldn’t buy that one.

Comments are closed.