Donald Trump - Russian 'blackmail' target?

Donald Trump’s arch political enemy John McCain says he alerted the FBI about the now discredited Russian ‘blackmail’ dossier about the president elect.

Meanwhile during a highly-charged press conference – in which Mr Trump had planned to talk about his plans to give control of his businesses to his two sons – he dismissed the dossier as “fake news” which had been put together by “sick people.”

The unverified accusations against the president elect, speak of depraved sex acts in a Moscow hotel room, long-standing secret links to Russia and ‘sweeteners’ involving World Cup 2018.

CNN reported that the material was based on memos compiled by an unnamed British intelligence operative and given to Trump’s enemies by a former British ambassador.

Fiction

Trump says the 35-page dossier – which is riddled with spelling mistakes – is ‘a total fabrication’ while Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, said the claims were “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations.”

While exactly who compiled the report and how it ended up in the public domain is unclear, Arizona senator McCain issued a statement today to explain his role in the blackmail dossier.

Sensitive

McCain said: “Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public.

“Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI.

“That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”

Prostitutes

The most salacious allegation in the ‘blackmail’ report, claims that Russia has damaging video evidence of Trump’s private life, including claims that he used prostitutes at Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Responding to questions from the media, Mr Trump said today: “It’s all fake news, it’s phoney stuff, it didn’t happen. Sick people put that crap together… it’s an absolute disgrace.”

British broadcaster the BBC said today that it had first seen the documents in October and said that it “has been unable to verify the claims included.” It added that “several material inaccuracies have been highlighted in them.”

Damage

Some reports say that the original aim of making the claims public was to damage Trump’s election campaign but if that was the case then it failed quite spectacularly.

Mr Trump – who will take office on January 20 – also rubbished the allegations on Twitter.

In one tweet he wrote: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

Another said: “I win an election easily, a great ‘movement’ is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!”

The alleged links to Britain in the ‘blackmail’ report also threaten to overshadow Theresa May’s upcoming visit to Washington where she hopes to secure a post-Brexit free trade deal with the new Trump administration.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the British Government was ‘not aware’ of claims that a former ambassador was involved in passing on the memos to Mr McCain and said it would not be commenting further on the matter.