On Tuesday evening, CNN published a bombshell report alleging that a former British intelligence officer provided the United States with information suggesting that the Russian government may have “compromising personal and financial” information on Donald Trump. Shortly after CNN published its piece, BuzzFeed published the documents themselves, which revealed that the “compromising” information included a video of Donald Trump paying prostitutes to urinate on a bed that Barack and Michelle Obama had slept in, while he watched. (Mother Jones first published a piece about the dossier one week before the election, though it did not mention the golden showers.)
The report also alleges that the “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance”; that the regime had fed Trump and his team intelligence meant to discredit Hillary Clinton; and that it aimed to use compromising information on him for the purpose of blackmail. It is not clear if the former British intelligence officer knows that Russia actually possesses this information or if Russia is merely rumored to possess it.
The allegation that Trump’s close advisers and the Russian government were in contact, however, is just as damaging, if not quite as juicy. According to CNN, the report alleges that “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government,” meaning that Trump’s campaign effectively colluded with an attempt by a foreign power to undermine Americans faith in democracy and its institutions. The report itself is extremely thin—and, as the BuzzFeed report notes, it contains errors. But if even one of the details in it is true, it will be explosive. If their positions were reversed, the Republicans would almost certainly call for the immediate impeachment of Hillary Clinton and try to cancel the inauguration.