Mark Twain once made the observation that it is easier to manufacture seven facts out of whole cloth than one emotion. Seven 'facts' or even fewer, are being used though, to manufacture emotions it seems. Byron York has a great summary of the history of the phony Trump-Russia dossier in the Washington Examiner. There's a trail of cause and effect that stems from the events surrounding the phony dossier. The article is worth a thorough read. But here are some interesting points.
The dossier (cause) kicked off an FBI investigation (effect).
So the timeline is: The first dossier report was June 20, Steele approached the FBI near the start of July, and the FBI began its investigation in late July.
The work made it's way from Steele to Fusion GPS to the Hillary Clinton campaign which commissioned the ongoing work.
Steele continued to file dossier reports to the Clinton campaign and, apparently, to the FBI during the July-August-September-October time frame -- in other words, the period leading up to the November 8 presidential election. There were reports dated July 30; August 5, 10, and 22; September 14; and October 12, 18, 19, and 20.
This can only be considered dirty politics and not a national security issue, given the purchaser and the on-going nature of the data flow beyond the informing of the FBI. This is especially true in light of what happened next:
As the election approached, the Clinton campaign, through Fusion GPS, directed Steele to give the dossier information to a few journalists. At the "end of September," and again in October, according to British court papers, Steele personally briefed reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, the New Yorker, and Yahoo....The Clinton campaign tried to publicize the report, but the dossier news did not really catch on. So in late October, according to those British court papers, with election day fast approaching and the allegations still not out, Fusion, acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign, directed Steele to brief Mother Jones. David Corn's article, which stayed away from the most incendiary parts of the dossier, was published on October 31, 2016.One day earlier, on October 30, Harry Reid tried again to push the information into public view with a letter to Comey stating that the FBI possessed "explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his advisors, and the Russian government."Of course, Comey knew what the FBI possessed. The point of Reid's letter was to get it out in public as the election approached.
The cause is purely political no doubt. But until we know if the dossier is fabricated of of whole cloth, or speculation based on some known facts, or partially or wholly true (which is not likely) we cannot know what the ultimate effect will be. Certainly even if the document is exposed to be an entirely politically motivated, fabricated document, the U.S. political landscape may have already become so polarized since 2000 that everyone will probably continue to believe what they already believe, on either side, that the truth won't even matter at that point.