Republican strategist Rick Wilson found himself squarely at the center of a saga of dubious news stories run by the mainstream press that have been slowly debunked over the last 24 hours.
Although a well-known Republican strategist for many years, Wilson most recently made news as an outspoken member of the #NeverTrump movement. Wilson assisted and helped manage the presidential campaign of Evan McMullin in his bid to win the state of Utah, which many thought would have denied Donald Trump the necessary electoral votes to win the presidency.
On January 10, 2017, Buzzfeed ran an article with a dossier that they alleged showed “proof” that President Elect Donald Trump was compromised due to documentation by Russian intelligence of graphic sexual acts Mr. Trump allegedly engaged in.
The credibility of the report was almost immediately called into question. The same day that Buzzfeed’s article broke, Wikileaks tweeted that the style, facts and dates contained in the report showed “no credibility” and cast doubt on Buzzfeed’s claims.
Wikileaks’ assertions came at the same time as an article in The Atlantic where Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, denied that he had ever been to either the Czech Republic or to Russia as the “dossier” published by Buzzfeed claimed.
Cohen stated that he was not in Prague secretly meeting with Russian officials Buzzfeed’s dossier alleged he had been. He explained that he had actually been in New York and had taken a trip to Los Angeles with his son from August 23 to the 29th. A USC baseball source confirmed that Cohen had been at USC with his son on August 29th.
Compounding matters was the emergence of claims on online messageboard 4chan that users on their /pol/ (Politically Incorrect) board had authored and fed the dossier to GOP political strategist Rick Wilson, who allegedly passed the information on to the CIA and other news sources before Buzzfeed finally decided to publicize it.
I reached out to Mr. Wilson to give him the opportunity to clear his name. He was willing to provide a brief interview over Twitter to answer pressing questions from The Beltway Times.
BT: Where did Buzzfeed get its information from, if not you?
Wilson: No idea, I never saw it before their report. I first heard about its content on July 2nd.
BT: If you aren’t involved in this, then why do people say you are?
Wilson: Because 4chan is trolling you.
BT: Where and who did you first hear about its content from
Wilson: Not your business.
BT: Do you believe author worked for [British Intelligence Service] MI6? If so, why?
Wilson: Yes, as does the intelligence community.
BT: Any comment on Wikileaks’ analysis and dismissal of the intel report as fake?
Wilson: Wikileaks is a Russian Intel Operation. I have no further opinion.
If Wilson’s connection to the Buzzfeed dossier were to be definitively established, it would be the second such incident where he has been the intended victim of fraudulent capers. Politico reported in August 2016 that Wilson was one of several individuals targeted in an online fraud scheme.
This story is still developing as new facts emerge.