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Reporters Weigh In On Unsubstantiated Trump-Russia Dossier

Seth Wenig/AP

(Today's show is abbreviated because President-elect Donald Trump's press conference ran past Midday's usual noon start time.)

Yesterday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials showed President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama a document which claims, without proof, that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.

Online news journal BuzzFeed is caught in a storm of controversy after it posted the previously unpublished 35-page dossier, a collection of reports compiled over a period of months by a respected private British intelligence service as "opposition research" for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's American political rivals. The dossier, reportedly well-known for months to US investigative journalists and American intelligence agencies, contains unverified allegations about ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. It also contains salacious details of compromising activities in which Mr. Trump allegedly engaged, which Russian operatives purportedly could use to blackmail the U.S. President-elect. 

President-elect Trump strenuously denied the dossier's allegations, tweeting yesterday: "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!" and "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, dismissed  as "pulp fiction" the dossier's claim of a Russian strategy to compromise Mr. Trump. 

To sort out the complex political and ethical issues raised by Russia's interference in the US presidential election and by disclosure of the unverified dossier on Mr. Trump, Tom speaks by phone with two esteemed journalists:

Scott Shane is a national-security reporter for The New York Times, and one of the authors of a NYT investigation into the Russian cyber attacks during the 2016 US elections. He is also the author of several books, most recently, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone.

Marilyn Thompson spent most of her career at The Washington Post, where she was assistant managing editor for investigations. She also is the former editor and vice president at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader. She is currently the senior enterprise editor at Kaiser Health News


Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.
Bridget no longer works for Midday at WYPR.