Questions continue to swirl about the source and provenance of an alleged dossier of damaging material about President-elect Donald Trump, but Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed the essential details of the original CNN report on the dossier, admitting that both he and President Obama were presented with the dossier by intelligence officials who stated that they could not confirm its accuracy.
CNN has consistently stated that they have no reason to believe that the allegations in the dossier are true, merely that the dossier itself was presented to both Obama and Trump as evidence that Russian intelligence officials might be trying to compromise Trump. Popular online site Buzzfeed made the controversial decision to publish the allegations earlier this week, but most media outlets have not followed suit.
According to Biden’s office, Biden stated that both he and Obama saw the dossier, and that President Obama responded to its contents — which are, by all accounts, rather outlandish — by saying, “what does this have to do with anything?” According to Biden, intelligence agents told Obama they were showing it to him as a courtesy since they planned to also share it with Trump.
CNN reports that they have confirmed with multiple sources that Trump was briefed on the dossier by FBI Director James Comey, who pulled Trump aside for a private conversation after last Friday’s briefing on alleged Russian hacking and presented to the dossier to him at that time. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also seemed to confirm in a statement on Wednesday night that the dossier was, in fact, presented to both Obama and Trump.
The dossier itself is now widely believed to be the product of a British private security company that was hired possibly to do opposition research on Trump during the election. Russian intelligence officials have denied any involvement with the document, or that they have ever attempted to use it to compromise Trump.
The other explosive allegation in the original CNN report — that Trump campaign surrogates were in regular contact with Russia during the election — has largely been lost in the furor caused by Buzzfeed’s release of the dossier. Trump has denied these allegations.