Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters on Thursday falsely suggested that salacious sex allegations made in an unverified, controversial dossier on President Trump's alleged ties to Russia have been shown to be true.
During a television interview on MSNBC, the California representative was asked whether she believed any of the claims made in the dossier, which was prepared by a former British intelligence official as part of opposition research into Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election and primaries.
"I think it should be taken a look at," she said. "I think they should really read it, understand it, analyze it, determine what's fact, what may not be fact.
"We already know about the part about the coverage they have on him with sex actions is supposed to be true. They have said that's absolutely true," she said. "Some other things they kind of allude to."
Waters was referring to an unverified section of the dossier that claimed Trump hired prostitutes during a stay at the Moscow Ritz Carlton hotel.
The dossier was published by BuzzFeed News in January after CNN reported Trump and then-President Barack Obama had been briefed on it. Trump and his staff vehemently denied the allegations in the dossier, condemning BuzzFeed News and CNN for reporting what they said was "fake news."
CNN then reported in February that US investigators had corroborated some aspects of the dossier concerning conversations between foreign nationals, but noted that "none of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier."
When reached by BuzzFeed News after her MSNBC interview, Rep. Waters walked back her comments slightly, but refused to apologize.
Waters pointed to a section in the document in which the identity of a person named as "Source E" (who was said in the dossier to have confirmed the Ritz Carlton incident) was redacted.
"I was referring to them having a name," she said, with respect to 'Source E.' "They have a real something that was redacted, and it should be further investigated as far as I'm concerned."
"I'm not saying that has been proven," she said.
Waters claimed this was the only section of the dossier where a redaction had been made.
"This certainly gives it the appearance of fact and truth," she said.
In fact, there were multiple reactions to the document made by BuzzFeed News, including the "Source E" redaction.
When BuzzFeed News subsequently called Waters' office to inform her the redaction was made by BuzzFeed News, and not the person who prepared the dossier, her chief of staff, Twaun Samuel, said he would check to see whether she wanted to comment further.
"Regardless of if you put the redaction there or not, that is an individual that can actually be called [before Congress] and give information," Samuel said.
Waters' office then sent through a written statement which is published, in full, below.
When asked if she should apologize to the president, Waters said she did "not think that apologies are a legitimate part of this conversation."
"I don't know that anybody has demanded the president to make apologies to the journalist he mimicked and mocked, and I don't know that he's been asked to apologize for the statements that were attributed to him about grabbing women's private parts," she said.
"I don't think that's a credible thing for you to add to this," she said of the suggestion she apologize.
Waters' Office Statement:
An aide to congresswoman Waters said she was not leaking any classified or confidential information in the MSNBC segment, instead she was referencing a passage on page 2 section 4 of the publicly available unverified Trump dossier that refers to what the dossier calls "The Moscow Ritz Carlton episode involving TRUMP," an episode that the dossier says was confirmed by a source whose information is redacted in the dossier.
According to the Waters aide, the congresswoman was referring to this section of the dossier and saying that she would support an investigation into the redacted source and the information they provided as part of the broader House Intelligence investigation into potential ties between Trump associates and Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election.
The aide also clarified that Waters remains largely focused on supporting that investigation, and her primary focus is on determining whether there was collusion between Trump associates or the Trump campaign and Russian operatives in order to undermine the election.
"She wasn't talking about anything that's not already in the public domain," the aide said.
She further added that this section of the dossier is only important to the extent investigators are looking into possible blackmail.
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at email@example.com.
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