In an interview, Wednesday on FNC's 'Tucker Carlson Tonight,' BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith defended that website's decision to publish the controversial Steele Dossier, which claims ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were intended to flip the election results. Michael Cohen, the chief personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, sued Buzzfeed this week, claiming that the dossier defames the president by baselessly linking him to Russian conspiracy theories.
"The dossier is a document of kind of obvious central public importance," Smith said in defense of his decision to publish. "It's the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. That was clear a year ago. It's a lot clearer now."
When questioned about the shaky facts supporting parts of the dossier, Smith said:
BEN SMITH: Your inbox and mine are full of all sorts of would-be dossiers, of tips… They are not full of documents that are being briefed to the President of the United States, to the President-elect of the United States, being fought over in an intense tug of war by intelligence officials…. Imagine covering Simpson’s testimony to the intelligence committee, the battle between Feinstein and Grassley, in a situation in which you were not allowed to -- in which you had no idea what they were fighting about.
I just think Americans would have a lot of trouble understanding the last year without this document.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) leaked the transcript of a Senate Judiciary Committee interview with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm which paid for the dossier's creation. In his testimony, Simpson defended the dossier against claims of partisan influence, noting that it was originally made for Republican use against Trump.