Fusion GPS – the firm that in 2016 commissioned the explosive Steele Dossier which revealed details about the Trump campaign’s involvement in Russian interference in the presidential election – fired back today at Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who charged that the company founders have refused openly discuss their research and how it is linked to President Trump.
“Mr. Simpson refused to provide public testimony,” said Grassley in a statement today, “using his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to negotiate for a closed-door interview.”
A spokesman for Fusion GPS, Joshua Levy, said the company’s founders have already testified for ten hours behind closed doors before the Senate committee and called on the committee to release the 300-page transcript of what they said.
Grassley was reacting to an opinion column that Simpson and co-founder Peter Fritsch published yesterday in the New York Times which accused the Republicans of focusing on them instead of on the real issue – the behavior of President Trump.
“The public still has much to learn about a man with the most troubling business past of any United States president,” wrote the pair in the New York Times.
In the op-ed, Fritsch and Simpson said there was “widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering.”
Fusion GPS pushes back on Trump, and says Hill uninterested in exploring Trump finances despite being urged. Steele dossier taken seriously "because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp" https://t.co/sMMJ9DTcWa
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 3, 2018
The Fusion GPS founders charged that Grassley and the Republicans are going after them to take the focus off the real reason “the U.S. government is investigating the president’s campaign.”
“We suggest Chairman Grassley acknowledge that fact,” said GPS Fusion in a statement, “and be transparent with the American people.”
If the Republican-dominated leadership of the committee really wants to know what happened, the Fusion GPS founders said they would demand that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manfort testify and that Donald Trump Jr. be made to testify again before the committee, but this time on the record and in public.
They said they don’t believe Grassley is really interested in getting to the truth.
“Why hasn’t he served a subpoena on other members of the Russian campaign,” the Fusion GPS leaders demanded to know. “What about Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin, individuals who travel freely in this country?”
Instead, the Fusion GPS statement said, the Committee continues to make unreasonable demands on them to provide business and financial records, many of which have to do with their clients who have no involvement in the Steele dossier or the Russia probe.
In their Op-Ed, they confirmed that the Steele dossier was financed by The Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign, originally as a form of opposition research.
They deny that the Steele dossier was the trigger for the FBI investigation into the Russian interference in the election, which has been confirmed by other sources who point out British intelligence and other national intelligence agencies first warned the FBI about chatter that indicated a link between the Russians and the Trump campaign.
“Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation,” they wrote in the op-ed.
“We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach,, Florida, and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.”
So once again, it appears the Republicans leading the Congressional investigation into the Russian-Trump connection are more focused on protecting the president than on finding out what really happened.
Fusion GPS founders: "We suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses…we found widespread evidence…Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians."https://t.co/26q1JUK0n1
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 3, 2018
Whether the allegations in the Steele dossier are true or not – and most have not been conclusively proven with second and third sources – there is both smoke and fire to show what the intelligence community already knows – the Russians spent months working to interfere in the election, much of it with the goal of electing Trump.
Company leaders say this is what it told House/Senate investigators —> pic.twitter.com/WDcpSGdOw1
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 3, 2018
It is unlikely Congress will make real progress on this investigation until and unless the November election brings a change of control in the House and or Senate.
Until then, we must depend on Special Counsel Mueller to ferret out the truth, while Fusion GPS and other minor players are harassed as a way to avoid the real subject – how deeply Trump was in bed with the lying Russians who set out to pervert the U.S. election.