The reporting did terrible damage to a new president as he took office. And now, the Horowitz report definitively shows that it was all garbage.

The report makes clear the dossier never had even a shred of credibility. Steele had no first-hand knowledge of anything in the document. He got all his information second- or third-hand from sources who themselves heard things second- or third-hand.

When the FBI managed to track down one of Steele’s main sources, the source was amazed that Steele took the information so seriously. It was “word of mouth and hearsay,” the source said, “conversation…with friends over beers.” The source said he takes what his own sources tell him “with a grain of salt,” and that it was, in the end, “just talk.”

Nevertheless, Steele, along with his Democratic sponsors and the highest levels of U.S. law enforcement, used those conversations with friends over beers to throw American politics into chaos and do irreparable harm to a newly-elected president.