If you’re into politics and journalism, you might know the name Cody Shearer. A former journalist-turned-political activist and close associate of the Clinton White House, his name has appeared again. Why? Because Cody Shearer wrote a dossier on Trump, a dossier now being investigated by the FBI.
To call it a dossier is a little bit of a stretch: technically, it’s a memo written by Shearer during the presidential campaign and was obtained by the FBI in October 2016. Now, it is being investigated to find corroborating evidence of Russian interference during the 2016 election and Trump’s connections with high-ranking officials in Russia. The fact it is being investigated at all should be worrying Trump as much as the Steele dossier, the informative complied, analysed and written by former British spy Christopher Steele. According to some sources, Shearer’s memo independently confirms allegations that Steele encountered during his own investigation.
There are differences, of course, Shearer is a controversial figure amongst conservatives who see him as a Clinton sympathiser and a political hack, willing to make hatchet jobs of good, honest men. His closeness to the Clintons is enough to see him demonised on its own, in this day and age. His memo will be greeted with much more disdain and much less concern than the infamous Steele dossier. After all, who would trust a journalist with a grudge over a British spy, the latter being well-versed in the Russian regime and its disinformation campaign? This is the fake news era after all!
But Shearer is far more than the sum of his parts. What he lacks in polish and precision, he makes up for in sources and funding. Like Steele, Shearer can rely on a wide circle of informers and contacts from across the world. Unlike Steele, he has the funds and the means to pursue his contacts, possibly using his past credentials as a journalist to go places and meet people that Steele perhaps couldn’t.
In fact, Steele obtained Shearer’s memo from an American source and passed it on to the FBI. We now know that Steele’s reports weren’t the first warnings that America intelligence services received over Trump’s connections, but the fact that both men could independently discover the same stories makes the tale much more intriguing. For instance, both documents seem to confirm that Trump was apparently compromised during a 2013 trip to Moscow involving lewd acts in a five-star hotel. The instance itself cannot be verified, even though Shearer quoted a high-ranking source in Russia’s own state security service, the FSB.
Both documents are still full of unverified information for the most part, but the FBI is treating much more seriously, especially now that Trump and the Republicans are carrying out a subversive campaign against the organisation and Mueller’s own investigations.
In the midst of all this comes news that the House Intelligence Committee has voted to release a highly controversial memo of its own, claiming that the FBI held an anti-Trump bias. Trump now has five days to decide whether the Nunes document should become public and whether its highly classified contents can be released to the public. More likely than now, it will only serve to confuse the issue even further in a desperate attempt to distract Mueller and keep the FBI from pushing forward with their inquiries.
The fact is Robert Mueller will not be distracted or thrown off the scent. This is a man who helped put away famous mobsters like John Gotti, a man who served his country and was highly decorated for his bravery. This is a man who commands respect from both sides of the aisle for his fairness, his tenacity and his tireless pursuit of justice. Mueller knows his stuff and he knows the measure of his friends and his foes. For all its flaws, the FBI is an organisation with a specific job: to gather information and intelligence in order to protect the American people, whatever the threat might be, regardless of the cost.
As the New York Times editorial board wrote, Trump always seems to be acting as if he has something big to hide, repeated denials notwithstanding. If the Nunes document is so decisive and so vital to his case of the FBI acting unfairly, why wait until now to release it? If Trump is innocent, why does he want to fire Mueller so badly? In fact, why did he fire James Comey if he was so certain of his innocence?
The answers to those questions may lie within the pages of the Shearer and Steele dossiers.