When it comes to experience in evaluating the quality of leaked allegations, it’s hard to beat Bob Woodward of Watergate/Deep Throat fame.
So attention must be paid to what Woodward said on today’s Fox News Sunday about the so-called Russia dossier on Donald Trump. Woodward called it a “garbage document.” For good measure, Woodward said the intelligence chiefs made a “mistake” in briefing on the basis of the dossier, and should “apologize.”
Note: check the beginning of the video clip, where Nancy Pelosi gets in a nasty little dig, saying “I’ve always wondered, what did Russia have on Donald Trump?” So not only does Pelosi implicitly accept the scurrilous allegations as true, her implication would seem to be that Trump is being blackmailed by the perfidious Russkies.
DONALD TRUMP: A thing like that should never have been had, and it should certainly never have been released.
NANCY PELOSI: I always wondered what did Russia have on Donald Trump?
. . .
CHRIS WALLACE: Bob, what do you think, and this is something we discussed with both of our guests, of the way that the intelligence community handled the so-called Russia dossier, and overall, how do you think of the way they’ve handled Donald Trump?
BOB WOODWARD: I think what’s underreported here is Trump’s point of view on it. And you laid it out: when those former CIA people said these things about Trump, that he was a recruited agent of the Russians —
WALLACE: — a useful fool
WOODWARD: — yeah, and a useful fool. I mean, they started this in Trump’s mind, he knows the old adage, once a CIA man, always a CIA man. And no one came out and said those people shouldn’t be saying things. So then act two is the briefing when this dossier is put out.
I’ve lived in this world for 45 years, where you get things and people make allegations. That is a garbage document. It never should have been presented as part of an intelligence briefing, as you suggested, other channels have the White House counsel give it to Trump’s incoming White House counsel.
So, Trump’s right to be upset about that, and I think if you looked at the real chronology and the nature of the battle here, those intelligence chiefs who were the best we’ve had, who are terrific and have done great work, I think they made a mistake here. And when people make mistakes, they should apologize.