While Pundits Have Claimed That The Fusion GPS Dossier Is Credible, Over A Year After Its Release Most Of The Document Remains Unverified And Uncorroborated
- The Fusion GPS dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele has been hailed by pundits as a credible piece of intelligence to be taken seriously.
- CNN reporters have alleged there are elements of the dossier that "are in fact true."
- MSNBC's Chris Hayes has said the document should be "taken seriously."
- BuzzFeed Editor Ben Smith called the document "Unquestionably real news."
- MSNBC's Rachael Maddow has claimed that a "bunch of the dossier has proven to be true."
- However, most of the claims contained in the dossier have not been corroborated or verified, and have had significant doubt cast on their veracity.
- The Moscow Ritz Carlton allegations remain uncorroborated and unproven.
- There is no evidence Moscow was "cultivating" President Trump over the last 5 years.
- It's been called a "big stretch" to suggest Donald Trump fed the Kremlin information for eight years.
- No proof has been shown that President Trump and his campaign had the "full knowledge and support" of Russia's hacking of the DNC.
- Dossier allegations that a Trump advisor went to Prague in 2016 to meet with Russians have been unproven.
- FBI Director Andrew McCabe declined to identify any facts within the dossier that had been corroborated, citing only Carter Page's well known trip to Russia as verified.
- On top of secondary sources, Fusion Co-Founder Glenn Simpson has himself emphasized the unverifiable nature of the information presented in the dossier, and admitted the potential for falsity.
- Simpson testified Steele emphasized the implicit risk that disinformation may be contained within the document.
- Simpson admitted that Christopher Steele never even traveled to Russia to meet with sources in the dossier.
- Throughout his testimony, Simpson also provided inconsistent and obfuscatory information and elaborated on his ties to questionable Russian linked businesses.
- Simpson failed to mention that FBI official Bruce Ohr's wife was an employee of Fusion GPS and collaborated on the firm's research of Donald Trump.
- Simpson gave inconsistent testimony before the House and the Senate.
- Simpson testified that Christopher Steele told him the FBI had a confidential informant within the Trump campaign, an allegation that was later refuted by sources close to Fusion GPS.
- Simpson simultaneously stressed his apprehension and wariness of the deep corruption of the Russian Kleptocracy, yet also admitted to working for an extended period of time with a Russian firm linked to the Russian Official, Pyotr Katsyv.
DESPITE THE BLUSTER FROM PUNDITS, A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED IN THE FUSION GPS DOSSIER REMAIN UNCORROBORATED AND UNVERIFIED
Upon Its Release, The Fusion GPS Dossier Was Taken Seriously And Accepted As Gospel And Fact By Some
BuzzFeed Editor Ben Smith In An Op-Ed In The New York Times Called The Dossier, "Unquestionably Real News." "But a year of government inquiries and blockbuster journalism has made clear that the dossier is unquestionably real news. That's a fact that has been tacitly acknowledged even by those who opposed our decision to publish. It has helped journalists explain to their audience the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election. And Mr. Trump and his allies have seized on the dossier in their efforts to discredit the special counsel leading the investigation, Robert Mueller." (Ben Smith, Opinion, "I'm Proud We Published The Trump-Russia Dossier," The New York Times , 01/09/18)
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Charged That Political Interests Were Trying To Discredit The Dossier And Said That, "A Bunch Of The Dossier Has Proven To Be True." MSNBC's RACHAEL MADDOW: "So, there may be a continuing political interest in Washington in trying to make the Christopher Steele dossier seem like a scandal or seem like an unplumbable depths that we`ll never be able to understand and nobody will ever be able to investigate, we`ll never know if any of its true. But I get the political drive to come to one of those two conclusions or maybe both. But in reality, based mostly on open source reporting from the American media, in reality, A, a bunch of the dossier has proven to be true B, the FBI and the CIA have reportedly validated parts of it as true and have apparently used it as the basis of some of their ongoing investigation. C, the special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the veracity of the dossier, including interviewing Christopher Steele about it. And D, Senate investigators apparently can meet with Christopher Steele if they want to, even if the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee yesterday said otherwise." (MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/05/17)
CNN Senior Correspondent Manu Raju Claimed Elements Of The Dossier Were True, And That Its Assertion Of Russian Campaign Interference Is Widely Accepted As Fact. CNN's PAMELA BROWN: "All right, Manu, let's do some fact checking here. The president tweeting, as Sara broke down for us, that the dossier is garbage and that it basically was the basis for the Trump campaign Russia investigation. Break down what do we know, and what are we still learning about the Trump dossier?" CNN's MANU RAJU: "Well, Pam, the dossier has been the subject of intense interest for GOP critics of the investigation so far. But there are elements of the document that are in fact true. The most salacious allegations in the dossier have not been verified. It's brought assertion that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election is now accepted as fact by the U.S. Intelligence Committee." (CNN's "Newsroom," 12/26/17)
In November, Chris Hayes Of MSNBC Reported That It Was Clear The Fusion GPS Dossier Should Be "Taken Seriously As A Document…" MSNBC's CHRIS HAYES: "Yes, and the sort of final thing I think that seems important here is just the degree to which the status of this document, which always -- you know, this document has been at the center of a lot of the reporting, the earliest reporting that it was Comey himself who had to pull the President aside at a briefing and say this thing was out there. What does seem clear, and I want you to tell me whether this is how you understand it, is that this is taken seriously as a document, not itself verified, but as a skeleton to work off to attempt to verify." (MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes," 10/05/17)
HOWEVER, DESPITE THESE SWEEPING ASSERTIONS, MOST OF THE CLAIMS WITHIN THE STEELE DOSSIER ARE UNVERIFIED OR PROVEN FALSE
Allegations Of Salacious Activity At A Russian Hotel
Claim: Russian Authorities Have Material To Blackmail The President Due To His Previous Stays In Moscow Hotel. "Speaking separately in June 2016, Source B (the former top level Russian intelligence officer) asserted That TRUMP's unorthodox behavior in Russia over the ears provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material on the now Republican presidential candidate to be able to blackmail him if they so wished." (Christopher Steele, "US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities In Russia And Compromising Relationship With The Kremlin," Orbis Business Intelligence , 2016, p.2)
The Independent : "It Seems Unlikely Anyone In A Position Of Power Would Engage In Such Activity Given The Likelihood The FSB Would Be Monitoring His Movements…" "This aspect of the allegations seems at once one of the most salacious and the hardest to verify independently. It seems unlikely anyone in a position of power would engage in such activity given the likelihood the FSB would be monitoring his movements, but it would also be particularly compromising for that reason." (Adam Withnall and Kim Sengupta, "10 Key Donald Trump Allegations From The Classified Dossier," The Independent , 01/12/17)
Vox: "Nothing Like [This Claim] Has Been Proven." "The dossier states that during a trip to the Moscow Ritz-Carlton, Trump hired prostitutes to 'perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show in front of him', 'defiling' the presidential suite bed in which the Obamas had previously slept, with the implication being that Russian intelligence taped this and that it was one of several forms of 'kompromat' the Russians have on Trump. Nothing like this has been proven." (Matthew Yglesias and Andrew Prokop, "The Steele Dossier, Explained," Vox , 01/05/18)
The Allegation That Russia Has Been Cultivating Donald Trump "For At Least 5 Years."
Claim: Russia Has Been Cultivating Donald Trump "For At Least 5 Years." "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years." (Christopher Steele, "US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities In Russia And Compromising Relationship With The Kremlin," Orbis Business Intelligence , 2016, p.1)
The Washington Post : "There's No Evidence At Hand That This Cultivation Took Place , However." "There's no evidence at hand that this cultivation took place, however. The dossier claims a carrot-and-stick approach to keeping Trump in line, with the carrot being those real estate deals and the stick being the 'salacious' event." (Philip Bump, "What The Trump Dossier Says, And What It Doesn't," The Washington Post , 10/25/17)
The Allegation That The Trump Team And Russia Have Been Running A "Regular Exchange" Of Intelligence For "At Least 8 Years."
Claim: There Has Been A "Regular Exchange" Including Intelligence Feeding Running Between The Trump Team And The Kremlin For "At Least 8 Years." "Source close to TRUMP campaign however confirms regular exchange with Kremlin has existed for at least 8 years, including intelligence fed back to Russia on oligarchs activities in US." (Christopher Steele, "US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities In Russia And Compromising Relationship With The Kremlin," Orbis Business Intelligence , 2016, p.11)
The Independent : "Suggesting Mr. Trump Fed Information To The Kremlin Consistently Over Almost A Decade Is A Big Stretch." "Time and other news outlets have previously reported how Mr Trump, while failing to establish business links within Russia itself, has several interests outside the country which are nonetheless entangled with members of Mr Putin's circle. The Los Angeles Times reported that three of Mr Trump's top advisors have themselves extensive financial ties to Russian financiers - and Paul Manafort, Carter Page and retired Lt General Michael Flynn are all named in the new memos. But to go from that to suggesting Mr Trump fed information to the Kremlin consistently over almost a decade is a big stretch." (Adam Withnall and Kim Sengupta, "10 Key Donald Trump Allegations From The Classified Dossier," The Independent , 01/12/17)
Vox: "Nothing Like [This Claim] Has Been Shown To Be True." "1) Trump had cooperated with Russian authorities for years. A core claim of the dossier is that Russia 'had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents,' including Clinton, for 'several years' before 2016, and that in exchange, Trump's team fed the Kremlin intelligence on Russian oligarchs and their families 'for at least eight years.' The premise of this theory, that many Russian nationals have bought Trump-branded properties and thus he might be in a position to offer useful information to Russian authorities, is clearly correct, but nothing like it has been shown to be true." (Matthew Yglesias and Andrew Prokop, "The Steele Dossier, Explained," Vox , 01/05/18)
The Washington Post : "This, Too, Hasn't Been Proven." That Trump's team and Russian actors were colluding. This, too, hasn't been proven, and it's not clear the extent to which the investigations of that collusion that we know exist were spurred by the dossier itself. It's hard to evaluate the other claims made above, but it's clear that Trump did seek some business deal in St. Petersburg (perhaps including a reality show). (Philip Bump, "What The Trump Dossier Says, And What It Doesn't," The Washington Post , 10/25/17)
The Allegation That Trump And His Campaign Team Had Knowledge And Gave Support Of The Hacking Of The DNC
Claim: Trump And His Campaign Team Had "Full Knowledge And Support" Of Russia's Hacking Operation Of The DNC. "The reason for using WikiLeaks was 'plausible deniability' and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team." (Christopher Steele, "US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities In Russia And Compromising Relationship With The Kremlin," Orbis Business Intelligence , 2016, p.08)
Vox: Nothing That Has Come To Light So Far Demonstrates, "What The Dossier Claims." "The dossier claims that Trump and his campaign team had 'full knowledge and support' of Russia's leak of the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, and that in return, Trump's team 'had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.' This is obviously a subject of ongoing investigation, but none of the conversations about Russian dirt on Clinton that have come to light so far demonstrate what the dossier claims." (Matthew Yglesias and Andrew Prokop, "The Steele Dossier, Explained," Vox , 01/05/18)
The Washington Post: DNC Emails Were Published In Mid-June, And The Washington Post Had Already Identified Russian Actors As The Likely Culprits. "The Information Released Analysis: It's not clear when this report was written, but the contents and context suggest that it is from late July. Emails from the DNC were published on WikiLeaks on July 22, but some files were published by "Guccifer 2.0″ in mid-June. Before any files were released, The Washington Post had identified Russian actors as the likely culprits. It's unlikely, then, that an outside observer wouldn't have known what the émigré claimed about the hacks." (Philip Bump, "What The Trump Dossier Says, And What It Doesn't," The Washington Post , 10/25/17)
The Allegation That Trump Advisor Michael Cohen Had A Secret Meeting With Kremlin Officials In Prague
Claim: Michael Cohen Had A Secret Meeting With Kremlin Officials In Prague, Czech Republic In 2016. "Kremlin insider reports TRUMP lawyer COHEN's secret meeting/s with Kremlin officials in August 2016 was/were held in Prague." (Christopher Steele, "US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities In Russia And Compromising Relationship With The Kremlin," Orbis Business Intelligence , 2016, p.18)
Politico : Michael Cohen's Passport Showed No Record Of Entry To Prague And Cohen Has He Denied Ever Being To Prague In His Life. "Cohen has strenuously denied that a Prague meeting occurred, and he provided a copy of his passport to BuzzFeed in May. The passport was stamped for entry and exit to the United Kingdom and Italy - but not the Czech Republic, whose capital is Prague. 'I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews,' Cohen tweeted on Jan. 10." (Josh Meyer, "Investigators Probe European Travel Of Trump Associates," Politico , 12/06/17)
Vox: While Cohen Might Have Traveled To Prague Via Another Schengen Area Country, "None Of This Has Been Proven." "Cohen's purported proof that he's never been to Prague - showing a passport that lacks a Czech Republic stamp - is unconvincing because he could have traveled to Prague via another Schengen area country and might have multiple passports. But none of this has been proven." (Matthew Yglesias and Andrew Prokop, "The Steele Dossier, Explained," Vox , 01/05/18)
FBI DIRECTOR MCCABE IN HIS TESTIMONY TO CONGRESS DECLINED TO VERIFY ANY OF THE FACTS OF THE DOSSIER OTHER THAN CARTER PAGE'S WIDELY KNOWN TRIP TO RUSSIA
FBI Director Andrew McCabe, When Pressed About What Facts From The Dossier Had Been Corroborated, Declined To Verify Any Facts Other Than Carter Page's Widely Known Trip To Russia
FBI Director Andrew McCabe Repeatedly Declined To Answer Questions Concerning The Veracity Of The Dossier, And Refused "To Identify A Substantive Allegation That Has Been Corroborated." "In a seven-hour interview with the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly declined to answer whether the bureau has been able to verify the substantive allegations in the dossier, or even to identify a substantive allegation that has been corroborated, according to sources familiar with the questioning." (Byron York , "Frustrated Lawmakers Pressed FBI's McCabe For Answers On Trump Dossier. They Got Nothing," The Washington Examiner , 12/21/17)
Director McCabe, When Pressed About What Parts Of The "Dossier" Had Been Verified, Cited Only Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page's Trip To Moscow. "Investigators say McCabe recounted to the panel how hard the FBI had worked to verify the contents of the anti-Trump 'dossier' and stood by its credibility. But when pressed to identify what in the salacious document the bureau had actually corroborated, the sources said, McCabe cited only the fact that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had traveled to Moscow." (James Rosen, Jake Gibson, "McCabe Draws Blank On Democrats' Funding Of Trump Dossier, New Subpoenas Planned," Fox News , 12/20/17)
- McCabe Could Not "Even Say That The Bureau Had Verified The Dossier's Allegations About The Specific Meetings Page Supposedly Held In Moscow." "Beyond that, investigators said, McCabe could not even say that the bureau had verified the dossier's allegations about the specific meetings Page supposedly held in Moscow." (James Rosen, Jake Gibson, "McCabe Draws Blank On Democrats' Funding Of Trump Dossier, New Subpoenas Planned," Fox News , 12/20/17)
- The New York Times Reported That Carter Page's Trip To Moscow Was Well Known And Never A Secret. "Mr. Page's trip to Moscow in July 2016 was never a secret, and during the trip, he gave a speech at a graduation ceremony at the New Economic School, a university there." (Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman, "Trump Campaign Adviser Met With Russian Officials In 2016," The New York Times , 11/03/17)
FUSION GPS CO-FOUNDER GLENN SIMPSON HIMSELF TESTIFIED TO CONGRESS THAT THE INFORMATION IN THE DOSSIER WAS UNVERIFIABLE
According To Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson, Information In The Dossier Produced By His Firm Was Unverifiable And Not "Particularly Useful"
Simpson Told The Senate Judiciary Committee, That "He Made No Immediate Use" Of The Dossier And Called The Information Contained In The Dossier "Not Particularly Useful" Because It Did Not Contain "Things You Can Prove." SIMPSON: "So when this arrived it was also right around the time I think - Trump had said weird things about the Russians and Putin and things that are very atypical for a Republican and that people found to be odd. So when this arrived, you know, we made no immediate use of it at all in terms of, you know, giving it to anybody. It was essentially used to inform our researcher, but because it was -and because it was human source intelligence and some of it was of a personal nature, it was not particularly useful for the kind of things that are, you know, useful in politics, which are things that you can prove, things that you can say, things that people will believe." (Glenn Simpson, Senate Judiciary Committee On The Investigation Of Fusion GPS's Activities Related To The Dossier Compiled By Christopher Steele, The Prevezon Case, And The Magnitsky Act, U.S. Senate, Testimony , 08/22/17, p.144)
According To Simpson, Christopher Steele Warned It Should Be Assumed There "Will Be Some Disinformation" Within His Intelligence Gathering. REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): "In your conversations with Mr. Steele, did he express his level of certainty on these matters?" SIMPSON: "So, I mean, l'm not intimately familiar with how the Brits do it, but they seem to do it a little differently. Chris' standard presentation, I mean, essentially, you know, because he's a Russianist, his standard presentation starts with a little talk about disinformation. Then he says, you know: I was the lead Russianist at Ml6 in the final years of my career. And I was previously stationed in Moscow. And I speak Russian. And I've done Russian intelligence/counterintelligence issues all my life. And the central problem when you're a Russian intelligence expert is disinformation, and that the Russians have, you know, a long history and an advanced capability in disinformation. And so, you know, before we go any further, I just want you to know that, you know, this is my -- the fundamental problem with my profession. And it should be assumed that in any sort of intelligence gathering that you do there will be some disinformation. And I'm trained to spot that and filter it out, but, you know, you should understand that it's -- you know, no one's perfect." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 69-70)
According To Simpson, Steele Said He Would Not Warrant To Him That The Dossier Was, "All True." SIMPSON: "And so we've essentially filtered out everything that we think is disinformation and we're not going to present that to you here. We're going to present to you things that we think come from credible sources, but we're not going to warrant to you that what we - that this is -- that this is all true. And, you know--" (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 70)
Simpson Said While Fusion GPS Believed They "Had Very Credible Reporting," They "Wanted People In Official Positions To Ascertain Whether It Was Accurate Or Not." SIMPSON: "Again, at this time, you know, while we believed that we had very credible reporting here, you know, what we really - we just wanted people in official positions to ascertain whether it was accurate or not. You know, we just felt that was our obligation." (Glenn Simpson, Senate Judiciary Committee On The Investigation Of Fusion GPS's Activities Related To The Dossier Compiled By Christopher Steele, The Prevezon Case, And The Magnitsky Act, U.S. Senate, Testimony , 08/22/17, p.221)
Simpson Did Not Believe It Was "Necessarily Appropriate" To Report The Memo To The FBI And That He Was "Not Convinced A Specific Crime Had Occurred"
When Christopher Steele Proposed To Report The Memo To The FBI, Simpson Said He Did Not Think He Would Be Believed Or That "It Was Necessarily Appropriate" For Him To Do So. SIMPSON: "So he proposed to - he said we should tell the FBI, it's a national security issue. I didn't originally agree or disagree, I just put it off and said I needed to think about it. Then he raised it again with me. I don't remember the exact sequence of these events, but my recollection is that I questioned how we would do that because I don't know anyone there that I could report something like to and be believed and I didn't really think it was necessarily appropriate for me to do that." (Glenn Simpson, Senate Judiciary Committee On The Investigation Of Fusion GPS's Activities Related To The Dossier Compiled By Christopher Steele, The Prevezon Case, And The Magnitsky Act, U.S. Senate, Testimony , 08/22/17, p.160)
According to Simpson, Steele Said He Knew "The Perfect Person" At The FBI That Would Listen To Him. SIMPSON: "In any event, he said don't worry about that, I know the perfect person, I have a contact there, they'll listen to me, they know who I am, I'll take care of it. I said okay. You, I agreed, it's potentially a crime in progress." (Glenn Simpson, Senate Judiciary Committee On The Investigation Of Fusion GPS's Activities Related To The Dossier Compiled By Christopher Steele, The Prevezon Case, And The Magnitsky Act, U.S. Senate, Testimony , 08/22/17, p.160)
Simpson Testified That When Steele Took The Dossier To The FBI, Simpson Was Not Convinced That A Specific Crime Had Occurred And That He Was Not In A Position To Prove Anyone Was Engaged In A Crime. SIMPSON: "I think it's a great question. The - you know, I mean, essentially we ended up spending almost a year on this project. And, you know, it was a private -- because it's all private work in the sense of nongovernmental, without any legal process to compel production of information, we can only reach a certain point. And at the time that we -- you know, that Chris decided to take this to the FBI, I wasn't convinced of the facts of anything in terms of - I wasn't convinced that there was a specific crime that occurred. I thought it was a possible crime of progress and that there was possibly very serious crimes, but, you know, I'm an ex-journalist, so I'm not really in a position to prove that anyone's engaged in a crime." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 53)
Simpson Testified That Steele Never Actually Went To Russia As Part Of His Work For Fusion GPS. REP. GOWDY: "Did Chris Steele go to Russia as part of this project?" SIMPSON: "No, sir." GOWDY: "How do you know that?" SIMPSON: "Well, that's what he told me. I mean, assuming - unless it was a covert thing that he was keeping from his client, he would have billed me for it." GOWDY: "How was he able to accumulate information in Russia if he didn't go?" SIMPSON: "Well, so to be clear, he really would not be safe if he went to Russia. He's been exposed as a former undercover British Intelligence officer who worked in Moscow. So it wouldn't be wise for him to go to Russia." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 27)
Simpson Said He Could Not Evaluate The Credibility Of Steele's Sources. SIMPSON: "I knew generally where they're positioning. In other words, we would discuss generally where that person sat in relation to a senior government official or, you know, what other position they held. So--" REP. ROONEY: "Did you generally consider them credible, if you knew them?" SIMPSON: "Well, you can't --I mean, I can't evaluate the credibility of someone on the other side of the -" REP. ROONEY: "So you just trusted Mr. Steele's vouch?" SIMPSON: "I have great trust in Mr. Steele's professional ability to find sources with credible information." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 55)
Simpson's Testimonies To The House Of Representatives And Senate Abound With Inconsistencies And Obfuscations
Simpson Testified That Steele Suggested He Reach Out To FBI Agent Bruce Ohr, Whom He Had Met At An "Organized Crime Conference Or Something Like That." REDACTED: "Did Mr. Ohr reach out to you, or how did that shake out? Originally." SIMPSON: "I think Chris - it was someone that Chris Steele knows. think -" REDACTED: "I'm sorry. Chris Steele knows who?" SIMPSON: "Bruce Ohr." REDACTED: "Okay." SIMPSON: "And I met Bruce too through organized crime conferences or something like that. And Chris said he had been - Chris told me that he had been talking to Bruce, that he had told Bruce about what happened, and that Bruce wanted more information, and suggested that I speak with Bruce." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 56)
- Simpson Failed To Mention Bruce Ohr's Wife Nellie Had Worked With Fusion GPS During Their 2016 Investigation Of Donald Trump. "Note that Simpson's interview with members of the House Intelligence Committee was November 14. It wasn't until December 11 that it was reported that Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, had worked for Fusion GPS on its Russia investigations during the election. In a court filing on December 12, Simpson acknowledged that 'Fusion contracted with Nellie Ohr, a former government official expert in Russian matters, to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump …' Which raises the question: When Simpson was asked, back in November, how he came to meet Bruce Ohr, why didn't he mention the most obvious reason: that Ohr's wife had been working for Simpson? And not only that, but had been working for Simpson on the very matter that Simpson was meeting her husband about." (Eric Felten, "The Most Significant Part Of The Glenn Simpson Testimony Released Thursday," The Weekly Standard , 01/19/18)
- Bruce Ohr Was Demoted By The Department Of Justice For Concealing His Meetings With Fusion GPS. "Her husband, Bruce Ohr, was demoted at the DOJ last week for concealing his meetings with the same company, which commissioned the anti-Trump 'dossier' containing salacious allegations about the now-president. Together, the Fusion connections for Mr. and Mrs. Ohr have raised Republican concerns about objectivity at the Justice Department, and even spurred a call from Trump's outside counsel for a separate special prosecutor." (Jake Gibson, "Fusion GPS Admits DOJ Official's Wife Nellie Ohr Hired To Probe Trump," Fox News , 12/13/17)
Simpson Testified That Christopher Steele Was Told The FBI Had A Confidential Informant Within The Trump Campaign. "Simpson said that Christopher Steele, the freelance spy paid for dispatches about Trump, was told by an FBI official that they had a confidential informant in the Trump campaign. This 'human source from inside the Trump organization' was acting in a 'voluntary' manner. It was someone 'who decided to pick up the phone and report something.' Understandably, that was the big headline many media outlets put with their initial stories on the transcript, including USA Today: 'Dossier author Christopher Steele told FBI had source inside Trump Org' and The Washington Post: 'Ex-spy behind Trump dossier was told FBI had source inside network, testimony reveals.' The only problem is that it apparently is not true." (Mollie Hemingway, "10 Takeaways From Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS Senate Testimony, The Federalist , 01/10/18)
- However, Ken Dilanian Of NBC Tweeted That A Source Close To Fusion Said Simpson Mischaracterized And That There Was No "Walk-In Source" Within The Trump Campaign. (Ken Dilanian, Twitter Feed , 01/09/18)
Chuck Ross Of The Daily Caller Tweeted That Simpson Testified To The Senate That He Met Businessmen Bill Browder While He Was With The Wall Street Journal, But He Told The House He Did Not Know Bill Browder When He Began Working With Prevezon In 2013. (Chuck Ross, Twitter Feed , 01/18/18)
Simpson Testified To The Senate In August That He Met William Browder When He Was A Journalist At The Wall Street Journal. "I'll Add that, you know, I've done a lot of Russia reporting over the years. I originally met William Browder back when I was a journalist at the Wall Street Journal when I was doing stories about corruption in Russia. I think the first time I met him he lectured me about. - I was working on a story about Vladimir Putin corruption and he lectured me about how have Vladimir Putin was not corrupt and how he was the best thing that ever happened to Russia." (Glenn Simpson, Senate Judiciary Committee On The Investigation Of Fusion GPS's Activities Related To The Dossier Compiled By Christopher Steele, The Prevezon Case, And The Magnitsky Act, U.S. Senate, Testimony , 08/22/17, p .44-45)
- Simpson Testified To The House In November That He Didn't Know Who William Browder Was Until 2013. "And so they approached me originally in late 2013 with this matter. I didn't know anything about Prevezon, didn't know anything about most of this stuff. Didn't know who Browder was, William Browder was." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 87)
Additionally, While Working For The DNC, Simpson Worked On Behalf Of A Russian-Linked Oligarch, Illustrating How Closely Fusion GPS' Interests Were Tied To Russia
Despite Stressing His "Obsessions" With The "Corruption in Russia and Russian Kleptocracy," Simpson Worked On Behalf Of Prevezon Holdings, A Firm Owned By The Son Of The Russian Official Pyotr Katsyv. "'Sometimes when Simpson is speaking about Russia, such as when discussing why he was investigating Trump's ties there, he is unsparing. Simpsons says, 'one of my interests or even obsessions over the last decade has been corruption in Russia and Russian kleptocracy and the police state that was there.' He says he's well-versed on Putin's consolidation of power. But the other part of the testimony is about his work for Prevezon Holdings, a firm owned by the son of Pyotr Katsyv, a powerful Russian government official. It battled with the U.S. government over its handling of some of its money, settling a few months ago. Fusion GPS was tasked with digging up dirt on Bill Browder, a businessman who launched an international campaign for sanctions against Russia.'" (Mollie Hemingway, "10 Takeaways From Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS Senate Testimony, The Federalist , 01/10/18)
Fusion GPS Was Hired By BakerHostetler, Which Represents The Russian Firm Prevezon Through Natalia Veselnitskaya. "Simpson and Fusion GPS were hired by BakerHostetler, which represented Russian firm Prevezon through Veselnitskaya." (Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, and Cyd Upson, "Fusion GPS Official Met With Russian Operative Before And After Trump Jr. Sit-down," Fox News , 11/7/17)
Simpson Met With Natalia Veselnitskaya, A Russian Lawyer And Alleged Operative, Before And After Her Meeting With The Trump Campaign In 2016. "The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with a Russian lawyer before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump's son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump." (Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, and Cyd Upson, "Fusion GPS Official Met With Russian Operative Before And After Trump Jr. Sit-down," Fox News , 11/7/17)
- Simpson Stated In His Testimony He Had No Idea That Veselnitskaya Was To Meet With Trump, Despite Meeting With Her Before And After, And Despite Working With Or Knowing The Four Other Attendees At The Meeting. "In his testimony, Simpson says he had no idea that Veselnitskaya was going to meet with Trump, despite meeting with her both shortly before and shortly after the meeting. He tells investigators that some of Paul Manafort's notes from the meeting 'touch on things that I worked on' on behalf of Prevezon, but that he didn't realize she was going to talk about it with them. And he acknowledges that he either worked with or knows of four attendees at the meeting: Irakle Kaveladze, Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin, and Anatoli Samochornov. The last one also worked on the Prevezon case." (Mollie Hemingway, "10 Takeaways From Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS Senate Testimony, The Federalist , 01/10/18)
- Both Simpson And Veselnitskaya Were Also Present At The Hearing Of Another Fusion GPS Client, Russian Oligarch Denis Katsyv. "NBC News first reported that Veselnitskaya and Simpson were both at a hearing centered around another Fusion client, Russian oligarch Denis Katsyv." (Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, and Cyd Upson, "Fusion GPS Official Met With Russian Operative Before And After Trump Jr. Sit-down," Fox News , 11/7/17)
Katsyv's Company, Prevezon Holdings, Was Sanctioned Against Doing Business In The United States For Allegedly Laundering More Than $230 Million. "His company, Prevezon Holdings, was sanctioned against doing business in the U.S. for its alleged role in laundering more than $230 million." (Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, and Cyd Upson, "Fusion GPS Official Met With Russian Operative Before And After Trump Jr. Sit-down," Fox News , 11/7/17)
- The Information That The Russian Lawyer Brought To The Trump Campaign Was Based On Research Done By Fusion GPS. "The information that a Russian lawyer brought with her when she met Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 stemmed from research conducted by Fusion GPS, the same firm that compiled the infamous Trump dossier, according to the lawyer and a source familiar with the matter. In an interview with NBC News, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya says she first received the supposedly incriminating information she brought to Trump Tower - describing alleged tax evasion and donations to Democrats - from Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS owner, who had been hired to conduct research in a New York federal court case." (Ken Dilanian, "Trump Dossier Firm Also Supplied Info Used in Meeting of Russians, Trump Team," NBC News , 11/10/17)
Fusion GPS Also Allegedly Worked With Rinat Akhmetshin, A Former Soviet Counter-Intelligence Officer Turned Russian-American Lobbyist, To Fight Against U.S. Sanction Policy. "In December 2012, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was passed into U.S. law, freezing Russian assets and banning visas for sanctioned individuals. Fusion's Simpson is believed to have been working with Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer turned Russian-American lobbyist, to overturn the sanctions. Akhmetshin also attended the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, along with about a half-dozen others…" (Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, and Cyd Upson, "Fusion GPS Official Met With Russian Operative Before And After Trump Jr. Sit-down," Fox News , 11/7/17)
Simpson's Meeting With Veselnitskaya During The Campaign, And The Revelations About "Fusion's Simultaneous Financial Ties To The DNC, Clinton Campaign And Russian Interests Raise New Questions" About The Firm's Role In The 2016 Election. "Simpson's presence with Veselnitskaya during this critical week in June -- together with revelations about Fusion's simultaneous financial ties to the DNC, Clinton campaign and Russian interests -- raise new questions about the company's role in the 2016 election." (Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, and Cyd Upson, "Fusion GPS Official Met With Russian Operative Before And After Trump Jr. Sit-down," Fox News , 11/7/17)