Donald Trump's 'pee tape' controversy, explained  03/16/2018 19:35:52   Brian De Los Santos

It's been one helluva year for Donald Trump. There's been so much happening, from Russia to tariffs, tweetstorms and border walls, that you maybe have forgotten that huge story that showered the internet not so long ago.

I'm, honestly, so sorry.

Yes, we're talking about that infamous Donald Trump "pee tape." You know, that whole thing about golden showers that became a viral sensation in 2017. This has been one of the more prominent controversies, and maybe the most ludicrous, surrounding president Donald Trump before and during his term in the Oval Office.

You might have been living under a rock if you missed this, or in the middle of a Twitter/news purge (which, I get it), or maybe you forgot. But just in case you can't recall all the juicy details surrounding that whole dossier/golden showers debacle, here's a bit of a refresher.

Excuse me? A pee tape and Donald Trump?

Yep, if you're somehow unfamiliar with this story, there has been reporting that suggests president Donald Trump once ordered prostitutes to perform a golden shower in front of him while at a hotel in Russia. And, you guessed it, there's also a suggestion that it was all captured on video. 

All of this stemmed from a dossier that was made public in 2017 that included numerous salacious claims about Donald Trump.

So what was the deal with that dossier?

This all started way back in January 2017, when Buzzfeed News published a 35-page document, which later became known as the Christopher Steele dossier, which allegedly illuminated Donald Trump's deep ties to Russia. It was a collection of memos that spanned months and included allegations that Donald Trump aides and Russian operatives had been in contact

The dossier made unverified allegations that the Russian government had been assisting Donald Trump, then just the president-elect, for years. It also said Russians had gained compromising information about him, also known as "kompromat," and had been "cultivating, supporting and assisting" him for an elongated period of time.

The publication of the document caused a great deal of controversy, but the media company chose to publish the document in its entirety on account of its newsworthiness. CNN had previously reported that intelligence officials were presented a two-page summary of the allegations, but denied to publish specifics that its journalists couldn't verify.

Christopher Steel's dossier is at the heart of the golden shower pee tape controversy,

Christopher Steel's dossier is at the heart of the golden shower pee tape controversy,

Image: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

But wait, real quick, how do you pronounce dossier?


So what did the dossier say?

So here's the thing. The dossier had a lot of incendiary claims — the big ones being that Trump had cooperated with Russians for years, that Trump is vulnerable to blackmail, and that his campaign maintained a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" with Russian leadership — but none of it could be substantiated, or at least not publicly.

As far as its political and legal ramifications, that depends on which side of the aisle you ask. 

However, there was one particular detail of this report that the internet devoured

Yes, the dossier included a specific passage that stated Donald Trump, while in Moscow, specifically paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed that he knew Barack and Michelle Obama had stayed in. Per the report:

According to the Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP's (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the suite if the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew President and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

And thus, the pee tape was born.

It became a quickly became a meme and a pop culture phenomenon. Porn searches for "golden showers" skyrocketed following the news, before plummeting the following year.

Late night hosts ate the story up, while Stephen Colbert actually went to the infamous hotel and stayed there for a night.

Lol, so how did Trump react?

Trump denied the dossier in its entirety, dubbing it the "Fake News Dossier" in a tweet. He then denied it indirectly in January 2017, saying he is "very much of a germaphobe."

"Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President." @FoxNews

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017

In 2018, Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen escalated the legal battle over the publication of the dossier. A year after the report was made public, Cohen filed a suit against Buzzfeed, alleging it was "false and defamatory." The site is also being sued for libel by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive

Buzzfeed intends to fight the lawsuits. The company hired a team of investigators led by former White House cybersecurity official Anthony Ferrante, who also once oversaw the investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia, according to a report in Foreign Policy. And central to their fight of the suit is proving that the tape exists.

Who's this Christopher Steele fella?

Christopher Steele is the man who authored the dossier. He's a former British intelligence officer who worked for MI6, Britain's equivalent of the CIA, for more than 20 years. He was hired by Fusion GPS, a research firm created by former Wall Street Journal journalists, during the most recent U.S presidential campaign.

At first, Fusion GPS was hired in 2015 by a republican donor who opposed Trump, but once he became the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination that financing ended.

Fusion was then hired in April 2016 by a law firm Perkins Coie on behalf of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. That firm continued to fund the research through October 2016, though, according to Vox, people involved say that neither the campaign nor the DNC were aware of the details of the investigation.

Fusion, in turn, hired Steele for his ties to to Moscow and his expertise on Russian affairs, all in an effort to compile information on Donald Trump and his relationship with the Russian government. All of that was recorded and pieced together in the dossier that Buzzfeed eventually published.

How (and if) the infamous pee tape dossier ties to Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the election remains to be seen.

How (and if) the infamous pee tape dossier ties to Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the election remains to be seen.

Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images

How does this fit in with the whole Russia investigation?

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been exploring claims in the dossier and he and his team reportedly interviewed Steele last summer.

Jane Mayer, who wrote the definitive story on Christopher Steele for the New Yorker, told CNN that "you'd have to assume that much of what's in the dossier plus a lot of information about his sources is in the hands of Mueller." But again, the actual veracity of what's detailed in the memos has not been confirmed to the public just yet.

So ... what exactly are golden showers?

I'm SO glad you asked. Well the first thing you need to know is that it is a popular thing, and not just among businessmen-turned-politicians. Golden showers, specifically, are a sexual act involving urine. Merriam Webster, surprisingly, defines it as a slang term meaning, "a stream or shower of urine especially when directed onto another person." They're a subset of fetish coined as "watersports," or more technically called urolagnia, "sexual excitement associated with urine or with urination."

It's not as uncommon as you might think. A YouGov survey in the UK in 2016 dubbed it the 9th most popular fetish and a 2015 study by a graduate student at San Francisco State University found that of 1,580 females "from the 'kink' community," 45% stated they'd participated in some form of watersports.

All of that goes to say that while this whole golden showers thing may sound farfetched, Donald Trump is far from the only one who allegedly enjoys it.

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