A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee cast doubt on the so-called Trump dossier on Monday, saying that he has yet to see evidence that the salacious document is credible.
The Republican, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, also suggested that the dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, could have been financed either by a Democratic supporter of Hillary Clinton or by Russia’s intelligence services.
“I think you can’t give any credibility to it at this point, certainly not until we answer those questions, nor have I seen any reason to do so.” Cotton said at an event hosted by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank.
The dossier, which was commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, has become a focal point of the various investigations into Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
Its veracity is also at the center of increasingly-partisan debate. Democrats have said that some parts of the dossier have been verified as accurate. Republicans, for the most part, have said that none of the most salacious claims in the document have been verified.
The 35-page report, which contains 17 separate memos, alleges that Donald Trump is being blackmailed by the Russian government and that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Kremlin operatives to help Trump win the election.
Trump has denied the allegations. Over the weekend, Trump published a tweet encouraging the FBI and Justice Department to reveal the identities of Fusion GPS’ clients.
Republicans questioning the dossier’s accuracy have pointed to the political motivations behind the Fusion GPS project. According to various news reports, Fusion was hired to investigate Trump by a political ally of Hillary Clinton’s.
Cotton pointed to recent developments involving the opposition research firm. He noted that two of Fusion’s founders recently pleaded the Fifth in order to prevent their clients from being identified. Fusion is also currently attempting to block a subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee which is seeking its bank records.
Cotton said that Fusion’s attempts to protect the identity of its clients “makes me think it was a Democratic political operative or Russian intelligence service” who hired the firm.
There has been no reporting to suggest that Fusion was hired by the Russian government to produce the dossier. But Fusion was working at the time on a lobbying project alongside Russian operatives who attended the June 9, 2016 meeting held at Trump Tower.
In that meeting, a Russian attorney named Natalia Veselnitskaya and a Russian-American political operative named Rinat Akhmetshin lobbied Trump campaign members against the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law vehemently opposed by the Kremlin.
The Daily Caller has been told that Akhmetshin and Fusion founder Glenn Simpson have known each other for more than a decade, dating back to Simpson’s stint as a reporter with The Wall Street Journal.
Cotton also said he questions the credibility of the dossier because so little is known about Steele’s sources and sub-sources. Steele, who operates out of London, reportedly paid his sources for information. Because of his previous spy work in Moscow, Steele was unable to travel to Russia.
“So for all our knowledge, we’re dealing with sources and sub-sources whose identities we don’t know, and for that matter who were being paid to provide salacious information, or if they are officers of Russian intelligence who were tasked to provide that information,” Cotton said.