Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview with Dossier Firm

Pablo Martinez Monsivais  AP Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP
Charlie Simmons | 10 January, 2018, 02:12

Glenn Simpson, a founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, spoke to investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours in August.

Steele first reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his concerns in early July 2016, according to people familiar with the matter. He invited Mr. Simpson to instead testify publicly. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to release transcripts of an interview with a founder of the firm that commissioned the controversial dossier about President Donald Trump and Russian Federation. But Simpson's comments appear to confirm that the FBI did not launch its Trump-Russia investigation just because of the dossier. Mr Simpson, this source said, had mischaracterised a tip from an Australian diplomat about Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos.

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The move follows committee a decision by Republicans Chuck Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham to issue a criminal referral last week against Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the largely unverified "Trump dossier".

Jay L. Clendenin  Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Jay L. Clendenin Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Simpson's testimony, however, was not accurate, according to a person close to Fusion. It was unclear if that source was Papadopoulos.

But in the late stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, Steele broke off with the FBI, Simpson said, because he did not believe it was taking him seriously enough. "It was someone like us who chose to pick up the phone and report something". Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told reporters that the release was a "good idea" and that transparency is important as they work to understand the impact of the dossier. Steele "deals in a very different kind of information, which is human intelligence, human information", he told the panel. "The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice, " she said.

On January 4th, Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the House Intelligence Committee is entitled to the firm's bank records. However, a person close to the investigation said Fusion GPS has long anxious that Steele's sources could be in danger, given a handful of killings that took place in the months after the dossier's existence became known. A lawyer for the firm also did not respond to a request for comment. In the op-ed, they called for the transcripts of Simpson's congressional testimony to be released.

"In those sessions, we toppled the far right's conspiracy theories and explained how The Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign-the Republican and Democratic funders of our Trump research-separately came to hire us in the first place", Simpson and co-founder Peter Fritsch wrote in the Times last week.

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