Glenn Simpson, the co-.founder of political and corporate intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which was behind the discredited dossier about President Trump and his links with Russia, decided not to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, after he was scheduled to do so.
On Wednesday, the committee had announced a July 19 hearing that included him as a witness. Naturally, this request raised the expectation that Simpson would provide sensitive details about the unverified dossier, which was said to have been collected during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Most of the major media outlets only reported on the existence of the discredited dossier (leaving out specific information and details) after the chiefs of U.S. Intelligence agencies presented then-President elect Donald Trump a summary of the dossier in January.
The request for Simpson to testify was voluntary and it remains unclear if the committee will seek to subpoena him to appear. The committee is investigating Russia’s interference in the presidential election and whether President Trump’s campaign worked along with Moscow.
The author of the controversial dossier was former MI-6 officer Christopher Steele, who once served in Russia. He was paid by Simpson’s firm and later by Hillary Clinton supporters to compile the information as opposition research. Among other unverified details, the controversial dossier noted that Russian authorities tried to influence President Trump by preparing to bribe him with business deals and blackmail him with sex tapes.
Recently, a spokesman for the Trump’s legal team accused Fusion GPS of being associated with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who held a controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr. Although the firm says it didn’t know anything about that meeting, Veselnitskaya implied that Trump’s son was set up.
Donald Trump Jr. assures he thought she was going to provide the Trump campaign with damaging information about then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but instead she focused on the Magnitsky Act.
According to a Vanity Fair story on the discredited dossier, Glenn Simpson was an investigative journalist for The Wall Street Journal, known for his obsession with operational secrecy. That article pointed out that he decided to leave his profession and launch Fusion GPS in 2011 after 14 years doing financial and political investigations.
The Journal’s ties with the firm don’t end with Simpson, given the fact that one of its former senior editor Peter Fritsch is one of its main partners. Additionally, former reporter Thomas Catan is also involved in Fusion GPS.
Recently, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa accused Fusion GPS of acting as an agent for Russia, since he claimed that the firm was also involved in the pro-Russia campaign to kill the Global Magnitsky Act around the same time it created the unsubstantiated Steele´s dossier.
The former MI-6 agent has acknowledged in a defamation case in England that several data in some of his memos needed to be analyzed and further verified. However, he decided to share this information with the FBI and the Justice Department relied on parts of this dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to conduct a surveillance operation on Trump associate Carter Page.
The British agent wrote the 35-page dossier based on memos he compiled from June through December 2016. Apparently, Simpson was hired to compile an opposition-research dossier on Trump soon before the Steele´s came into play.
As revealed in Vanity Fair’s article, Simpson managed to find Democratic donors to fund the effort’s continuance, and eventually subcontracted the former MI-6 agent to look into Trump’s ties to Russia for at least $12,000 per month. The publication dubs Simpson as the co-conspirator and a facilitator for Steele and the information he collected.
So why is Fake dossier Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS backing out of testimony to Congress? What or who is he afraid of?
— DaBookster (@dabookster) 14 de julio de 2017
As reported by the BBC, the opposition research firm that commissioned the report had worked initially for anti-Trump Super Pac during the primaries. Nevertheless, during the general election, it was funded by an anonymous Democratic Party supporter. In fact, the New York Times went deep into this particular detail and revealed that the agent´s effort was funded by Hillary Clinton supporters who identities remain unknown.
During the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate intelligence committee, Senator Lindsay Graham had the main role in a mysterious moment that didn’t gain too much attention until now. He asked Comey about Fusion GPS and what the Senator called “the Russian intelligence apparatus.”
When the former FBI Director said he was aware of the firm, Graham immediately asked if they are part of the Russian intelligence apparatus. Comey’s words were “I can’t say.”
Given his vague response, the Senator asked a delicate question:“Do you agree with me that if Fusion was involved in preparing a dossier against Donald Trump, that would be interfering in our election by the Russians?” Comey responded, “I don’t want to say.”
Considering Simpson’s major role in this political scandal, his refusal to testify before the Congress only raises more suspicious in a case where Democrats seem to be more involved than anyone expected.