Guide The Russians are Coming: 14 Months in the Life of the Town

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The Peninsular War against Britain was a thorn in the side of his great European empire, but he was confident that his generals would soon triumph in Spain. After earlier conflict, Napoleon and Alexander I kept a tenuous peace, but the Russian czar was unwilling to submit to the Continental System, which was ruinous to the Russian economy. To intimidate Alexander, Napoleon massed his forces in Poland in the spring of , but still the czar resisted.

The enormous army featured more than , soldiers and staff and included contingents from Prussia, Austria, and other countries under the sway of the French empire. Under public pressure, Alexander named General Mikhail Kutuzov supreme commander in August, but the veteran of earlier defeats against Napoleon continued the retreat. Finally, Kutuzov agreed to halt at the town of Borodino, about 70 miles west of Moscow, and engage the French. The result was a bloody and narrow victory and another retreat by the Russian army. Although disturbed by the progress of the campaign, Napoleon was sure that once Moscow was taken Alexander would be forced to capitulate.

On September 14, the French entered a deserted Moscow. Napoleon retired to a house on the outskirts of the city for the night, but two hours after midnight he was informed that a fire had broken out in the city. He went to the Kremlin, where he watched the flames continue to grow. Strange reports began to come in telling of Russians starting the fires and stoking the flames. Suddenly a fire broke out within the Kremlin, apparently set by a Russian military policeman who was immediately executed.

When the flames died down three days later, more than two-thirds of the city was destroyed. In the aftermath of the calamity, Napoleon still hoped Alexander would ask for peace. Beautiful, magical Moscow exists no more. How could you consign to destruction the loveliest city in the world, a city that has taken hundreds of years to build? After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon was forced to lead his starving army out of the ruined city. Stalked by hunger, subzero temperatures, and the deadly lances of the Cossacks, the decimated army reached the Berezina River late in November, near the border with French-occupied Lithuania.

Steele appears to have spoken anonymously to the Sunday Times of London about the case. Putin dragged in all sorts of capabilities. Steele might have been expected to move on once his investigation of the bidding was concluded. But he had discovered that the corruption at fifa was global, and he felt that it should be addressed.

The only organization that could handle an investigation of such scope, he felt, was the F. Steele introduced him to his sources, who proved essential to the ensuing investigation. In , the Justice Department indicted fourteen people in connection with a hundred and fifty million dollars in bribes and kickbacks. One of them was Chuck Blazer, a top fifa official who had embezzled a fortune from the organization and became an informant for the F. Nobody had alleged that Trump knew of any fifa crimes, but Steele soon came across Trump Tower again.

Several years ago, the F. The syndicate was based in an apartment in Trump Tower.

Eventually, federal officials indicted more than thirty co-conspirators for financial crimes. Tokhtakhounov, though, eluded arrest, becoming a fugitive. Burrows told me that he and Steele made a pact when they left M. It comes from a very long government service. We still have that ethos of wanting to do the right thing by our authorities. By working with law-enforcement authorities on investigations, Steele has kept a foot in his former life. Some critics have questioned the propriety of this.

You can be a political operative.


Burrows said that on several occasions Orbis had warned authorities about major security threats. Three years ago, a trusted Middle Eastern source told Orbis that a group of isis militants were using the flow of refugees from Syria to infiltrate Europe. Orbis shared the information with associates who relayed the intelligence to German security officials. Several months later, when a concert hall in Paris, the Bataclan, was attacked by terrorists, Burrows and Steele felt remorse at not having notified French authorities as well.

When Steele took his suspicions about Trump to the F. Even before Steele became involved in the U.

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Presidential campaign, he was convinced that the Kremlin was interfering in Western elections. In April of , not long before he took on the Fusion assignment, he finished a secret investigation, which he called Project Charlemagne, for a private client. It involved a survey of Russian interference in the politics of four members of the European Union—France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany—along with Turkey, a candidate for membership.

Le Pen and Berlusconi deny having had such ties.

Is Braidy Industries of Kentucky getting in bed with Russian mobsters?

It also suggests that Russian aid was likely given to lesser-known right-wing nationalists in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. It warned that Russian intelligence services were becoming more strategic and increasingly disruptive. The funding for the project originally came from an organization financed by the New York investor Paul Singer, a Republican who disliked Trump.

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But, after it became clear that Trump would win the Republican nomination, Singer dropped out. At that point, Fusion persuaded Marc Elias, the general counsel for the Clinton campaign, to subsidize the unfinished research. This bipartisan funding history belies the argument that the research was corrupted by its sponsorship. Steele and Simpson had previously worked together, and they shared a mutual fascination with Russian oligarchs and international organized crime.

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They had symbiotic approaches. Fusion focussed on open-source research—mind-numbing dives into the fine print of public records. One question particularly gnawed at Simpson. Why had Trump repeatedly gone to Russia in search of business, yet returned empty-handed? Burrows realized that they had a problem. More significant, in hindsight, than the sexual details were claims that the Kremlin and Trump were politically colluding in the campaign.

The report claimed that, although Trump had not signed any real-estate-development deals, he and his top associates had repeatedly accepted intelligence from the Kremlin on Hillary Clinton and other political rivals. The allegations were astounding—and improbable.

They could constitute treason even if they were only partly true. According to people familiar with the matter, as Steele began to assemble the first of seventeen memos, which became the dossier, Burrows expressed reservations about including the golden-showers allegation. He had a cautious temperament, and worried about the impact that the sensational item might have. But Steele argued that it would be dishonest and distorting to cherry-pick details, and that the possibility of a potential American President being subject to blackmail was too important to hide.

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In a fateful decision, Steele chose to include everything. People familiar with the matter say that Steele knew he could either shred the incendiary information or carry on. If he kept investigating, and then alerted officials who he thought should know about his findings, he feared that his life—and, indeed, the life of anyone who touched the dossier—would never be the same.

At the time, Steele figured that almost nobody would ever see the raw intelligence. Orbis was just a subcontractor, and Steele and Burrows reasoned that Fusion could, if it wished, process the findings into an edited report for the ultimate client. So Orbis left it up to Fusion to make the judgment calls about what to leave in, and to decide whether to add caveats and source notes of the kind that accompany most government intelligence reports.

John Sipher spent twenty-eight years as a clandestine officer in the C. But it provided the first narrative saying what Russia might be up to. The previous day, the U. Few had thought that Brexit was possible. An upset victory by Trump no longer seemed out of the question. Steele was so nervous about maintaining secrecy and protecting his sources that he sent a courier by plane to Washington to hand-deliver a copy of the dossier. Steele feared that, for some of his Russian sources, exposure would be a death sentence. Steele also felt a duty to get the information to the F.

This was not considered by me to be part of the work we were doing. He believes he has unique knowledge that he must warn the world about. Otherwise, he would never have subjected it, his firm, and his reputation to the harsh scrutiny of the F. On July 5, , Steele went to his London office and met with the F. At virtually the same time that Steele told the F.


The first scheme involved the Trump foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos. In April, , over drinks with an Australian diplomat at a London bar, he divulged that Russia had access to thousands of Clinton e-mails. The second scheme unfolded at Trump Tower in New York.