Washington Post corrects, removes reporting that relied on discredited anti-Trump Steele dossier

The Washington Post did something many other liberal outlets have failed to do and corrected previous reporting that relied on the discredited Steele dossier that accused former President Donald Trump of an extensive conspiracy with the Russians.

“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 Belarusan 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,” Post media reporter Paul Farhi wrote

“The newspaper’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said The Post could no longer stand by the accuracy of those elements of the story. It had identified businessman Sergei Millian as ‘Source D,’ the unnamed figure who passed on the most salacious allegation in the dossier to its principal author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele,” Farhi continued. 

Former British spy Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London, Britain, July 20, 2020.

Former British spy Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London, Britain, July 20, 2020.
(REUTERS/John Sibley)

DISCREDITED ANTI-TRUMP STEELE DOSSIER WAS EMBRACED BY LIBERAL MEDIA: HERE ARE FIVE OF THE BIGGEST OFFENDERS

The post added editor’s notes, amended headlines, removed sections identifying Millian as the source and deleted an accompanying video summarizing the article. 

“Source D, according to the dossier, alleged that Russian intelligence had learned that Trump had hired Russian prostitutes to defile a Moscow hotel room once occupied by President Obama and Michelle Obama and possessed a video recording of the incident,” Farhi wrote. “The allegation, which the dossier said was confirmed by a second person described only as ‘Source E,’ has never been substantiated.”

The Post’s correction came as other news outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, have been criticized for failing to adjust reporting after Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the Trump-Russia probe further discredited the already-shaky dossier. 

The dossier – which was commissioned by a research firm hired by a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer – provided the liberal media with countless anti-Trump headlines, cable news segments and helped set the tone for years of feverish Russiagate coverage. 

Russian national Igor Danchenko, who is believed to be the sub-source for Christopher Steele, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to making false statements about the source of information that he provided. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Russian national Igor Danchenko, who is believed to be the sub-source for Christopher Steele, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to making false statements about the source of information that he provided. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

INDICTMENT OF STEELE DOSSIER SOURCE REMINDS MEDIA WATCHDOGS OF NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WHO HEAPED CREDIBILITY ON IT

Durham indicted Russian national Igor Danchenko, who is believed to be the sub-source for Steele, who compiled the dossier. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to making false statements about the source of information that he provided to Steele. 

“Buzbee said the indictment and new reporting by the newspaper has ‘created doubts’ about Millian’s alleged involvement. The new reporting included an interview with one of the original sources in its 2017 article, who now is uncertain that Millian was Source D, she said. ‘We feel we are taking the most transparent approach possible’ to set the record straight, she said,” Farhi wrote. 

Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee said she couldn’t stand by previous reporting. 

Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee said she couldn’t stand by previous reporting. 

“The newspaper removed references to Millian as Steele’s source in online and archived versions of the original articles,” Farhi added. “The stories themselves won’t be retracted. A dozen other Post stories that made the same assertion were [sic] also be corrected and amended.”

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Farhi wrote the indictment suggests “Danchenko may have gotten his information about the hotel encounter not from Millian but from a Democratic Party operative with long-standing ties to Hillary Clinton,” noting Clinton ally Charles Dolan, Jr. could be the unnamed operative. 

“The 2017 and 2019 stories were written by veteran reporters Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger. They declined comment,” Farhi wrote. 

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