The Washington Post’s bombshell report alleging that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund the famous, salacious Trump-Russia dossier presents some new details about the role of Fusion GPS, the “sketchy” opposition research group that compiled the scandalous document that helped spawn the “collusion” narrative. Here’s what you need to know about Fusion GPS.
Fusion GPS has produced oppo-research for Democrats, Planned Parenthood, and a senior Russian government official.
Fusion GPS produced oppo-research for multiple Democrat and left-leaning causes. Soon after being founded in 2012, the firm was hired by Democrats to dig up dirt on then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The investigative firm also worked on behalf of Planned Parenthood to discredit pro-life activists behind a series of undercover videos targeting the abortion giant. As The Hill notes, the firm also “worked for an American law firm defending Prevezon Holdings, a company owned by the son of a senior Russian government official. The U.S. government sued Prevezon in 2014, alleging fraud.”
A congressional witness told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Fusion GPS was being paid by Russian sources for the “anti-Magnitsky campaign” at the same time that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were funding the dossier, though the Post has pushed back on claims that the money was coming from the Russian government.
The DNC and the Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS to perform oppo-research on Trump that ultimately focused on his alleged ties to Russia.
A still unknown Republican client reportedly hired the firm prior to April 2016 during the primaries to start doing standard oppo-research on Trump. The Post‘s sources say that lawyer Marc Elias and his firm Perkins Coie retained Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in April 2016. Fusion GPS then hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who has “ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community.” Steele began to look into Trump’s possible connections to Russia and ultimately authored the dossier, with Simpson’s help, according to NBC.
Through Perkins Coie, the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the dossier until days before the election, the Post reports. According to the Post, Fusion GPS provided the dossier to Elias, though how much of it he presented to the DNC or the Clinton campaign is unclear. The 35-page dossier alleges that over the years, the Russian government had collected compromising information about Trump, including video tapes of him with prostitutes. The dossier also pushes the “collusion” narrative, claiming that the Kremlin was actively trying to help Trump secure the election.
A congressional witness says that Fusion GPS was being paid by the Russians for the “anti-Magnitsky campaign” at the same time that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were funding the dossier.
The man who co-founded Fusion GPS and helped create the dossier is a former WSJ journalist whose work on the Magnitsky case has raised eyebrows.
Former Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Glenn Simpson co-founded Fusion GPS with two other former WSJ journalists in 2012. Simpson is one of the authors of the dossier, which, as NBC News phrases it, “includes unproven, salacious allegations about President Donald Trump and Russian prostitutes.” The most salacious of those allegations involves Trump supposedly instructing hookers to urinate on a bed that the Obamas supposedly slept in. Some of the claims of the dossier have been dismissed and many remain “unconfirmed.”
As NBC highlights, Simpson represented a cause “dear to the heart” of Putin:
And, in a less well known role, Simpson has worked for several years on a cause dear to the heart of Vladimir Putin — investigating the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a tax accountant whose death in prison helped prompt Congress to pass a set of sanctions in his name. Simpson believes he uncovered information contradicting the account of the Magnitsky case generally accepted by the U.S. government.
Simpson’s work on that case connects him to the controversial meeting of Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with a Russian government-connected lawyer.
Fusion GPS has attempted to conceal the identities of the dossier’s funders.
Representatives of the firm pleaded the fifth when questioned recently by the House Intelligence Committee about who supported Steele’s dossier project. The firm has cited client confidentiality agreements as its rationale for refusing to disclose the identities of the dossier’s funders. Fox News provides more details:
Officials with the firm have also invoked their right to refuse to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., subsequently subpoenaed the firm’s bank records in order to identify the client who subsidized the dossier.
Meanwhile, Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS founder, already gave a 10-hour interview to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The firm says it’s proud of the salacious and still “unconfirmed” dossier.
Despite the dossier still having failed to be “independently verified or publicly confirmed by U.S. intelligence officials” after a year of circulation, and having been rejected by multiple outlets for its dubious claims before BuzzFeed decided to publish the salacious document, as The Hill reports, “Simpson’s attorney, Josh Levy, said Tuesday after the interview that the firm remains ‘proud’ of the dossier and ‘stands by it.'”