Amid Fake News Assertions, Ladbrokes Brings Donald Trump Impeachment Odds Down to a Coinflip
Posted on: January 12, 2017, 10:14h.
Last updated on: January 12, 2017, 12:31h.
UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has slashed the odds of a Donald Trump impeachment to just around even money, or a 50-50 proposition. The British bookie changed the odds in the wake of a firestorm following publication of a dossier, controversially presented by Buzzfeed on Wednesday, which claims Putin’s Russia had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years.”
The dossier, reportedly compiled by a former MI6 officer who was named on Tuesday as one Christopher Steele, also claims Russia has compromising sexual material, or “kompromat” on Trump. This was allegedly obtained from surveillance of Trump’s hotel room during his visit to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, with claims that it has been used to blackmail him by the Russian government.
Buzzfeed called the document “unverified and possibly unverifiable,” making it not really news so much as rumor and speculation.
Trump’s Ladbrokes’ odds of serving out his four-year term had improved slightly by the end of the day on Wednesday, after he categorically dismissed the allegations as “fake news.” But those odds only shifted slightly, from even to 11-10.
“It’s phoney stuff. It didn’t happen,” said Trump in his first post-election press conference on Wednesday. “I’m extremely careful. I’m surrounded by bodyguards. In those rooms, you have cameras in the strangest places. You can’t see them and you won’t know,” the president-elect added, alluding to the unlikely possibility that he would ever be that stupid.
The dossier claims that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, was the point man between Trump and the Russian government, citing a trip Cohen allegedly took to Prague to meet with Russian officials. Cohen appeared on CNN and Fox News Wednesday, however, saying his passport proved the trip had never occurred. He also said he was at a baseball game with his son at the time he was alleged to have been in Prague, a city he claims to have never set foot in at any time.
According to The Guardian, Steele, alarmed at what he had uncovered, passed his information on to the FBI and the British secret services. After hearing nothing back and fearing a cover up, he eventually sent a copy to David Corn, the Washington editor of Mother Jones, a decidedly non-Trump friendly news site with heavily progressive leanings. Corn reported the existence of the allegations in October.
It’s believed the dossier has been doing the rounds in newsrooms and on Capitol Hill ever since, until Buzzfeed took the decision to publish it in full yesterday.
Who is Christopher Steele, Anyway?
Former British spy Steele is the director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence and is said to have a good reputation within the intelligence community. He was based in Russia in the nineties and most recently he worked with the FBI on exposing corruption within FIFA.
Orbis was originally hired by one of Trump’s opponents within the Republican Party for “opponent research.” After Trump won the primary, Steele continued his research, but this time for a client with links to the Democrats.
The intelligence was allegedly gathered from Steele’s Russian contacts, who are said to include “a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin”, “a senior Russian foreign ministry figure” and “a senior Russian financial official.”
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