It looks like Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are keenly interested in corroborating key portions of the Steele dossier.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are interested in finding out whether President Donald Trump engaged in unconventional sexual conduct during a November 2013 trip to Russia.
The minority released its status report on Tuesday outlining gaps in the panel's Russia probe it believed still needed to be filled after Republicans on the committee announced they were closing the investigation on Monday. The report highlighted outstanding witness testimony, document requests, subpoenas, and in some cases, legal action Democrats said they were unable to pursue.
In particular, the minority is interested in obtaining records and documents from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow, which Trump reportedly stayed at when Russia hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.
Trump's stay at the hotel was one of several events mentioned in the so-called Steele dossier, an explosive collection of memos authored by former British spy Christopher Steele, which alleged collusion between Trump and Russia.
According to the dossier, Trump rented the presidential suite at the hotel and hired prostitutes to perform sexual acts in front of him which involved urination. The hotel is said to be monitored by Russian intelligence, and the dossier alleged that Russian authorities obtained footage of the events which they then used as leverage over Trump.
There is no indication that the allegation is true. However, both the FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee are using the document as a "roadmap" to conduct their Russia investigations, and parts of the dossier have been independently corroborated since Steele turned it over to the FBI in 2016.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee's interest in obtaining documents from the Ritz-Carlton is a likely indication of their focus on corroborating parts of the dossier.
Meanwhile, investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn revealed in their new book that Trump visited a Las Vegas strip club in June 2013 — five months before the Miss Universe pageant — whose employees were known to perform similar sexual acts to those outlined in the dossier.
That month, Trump met with the Azerbaijani developer and Crocus Group owner Aras Agalarov and his son, the pop star Emin, according the book, "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump."
Agalarov, known as "Putin's Builder," signed a contract with Trump during the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow that November.
Later that night, Trump had dinner with the Agalarovs and a few others. Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime lawyer, and Ike Kaveladze, the US-based vice president of Crocus Group, also joined.
After they had dinner, the group reportedly went to a Vegas strip club called The Act, which has since shut down amid legal troubles.
The club regularly had performances, according to the book, which featured young women urinating on others. It's unclear which acts were performed the night Trump's party visited the club.
The Agalarovs and Kaveladze made headlines last year when it emerged that Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist representing Emin, emailed Donald Trump Jr. in 2016 and asked him whether he was interested in meeting a Kremlin-aligned lobbyist offering dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr. appeared eager about the offer and was later one of three top Trump campaign officials who met the lobbyist, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at Trump Tower in June 2016. Kaveladze was one of several individuals from Russia's side who attended the meeting, which counterintelligence experts say was part of Russia's attempt to infiltrate the campaign.