Getting a fix on Fusion GPS

The so-called Trump Dossier appears to be something like the Rosetta Stone that will allow us to decipher the true story underlying the Trump/Russia “collusion” hysteria. The hysteria has been driven by the Democrats and their media adjunct to explain the shocking outcome of the 2016 election.

Ishmael Jones argued the fraudulence of the Trump Dossier here on Power Line yesterday. The FBI apparently thought the Trump Dossier was the real deal. John Brennan and James Clapper disseminated it in briefings to Presidents Obama and Trump. Leaks to the media followed in due course.

The provenance of the Trump Dossier lies with GPS Fusion. GPS Fusion is the for-hire political outfit paid to dig up dirt on targets, as Kim Strassel put it in her Wall Street Journal Potomac Watch column yesterday. For whom was GPS Fusion working in the matter of the Trump Dossier? GPS Fusion isn’t saying. Strassel connects a few dots and offers a hypothesis or two:

We know that at the exact time Fusion was working with the Russians, the firm had also hired a former British spy, Christopher Steele, to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump. Mr. Steele compiled his material, according to his [Trump Dossier] memos, based on allegations from unnamed Kremlin insiders and other Russians. Many of the claims sound eerily similar to the sort of “oppo” [former Soviet counterintelligence officer] [Rinat] Akhmetshin peddled. [Akhmetshin attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner.]

We know that [GPS Fusion co-founder Glenn] Simpson is tight with Democrats. His current attorney, Joshua Levy, used to work in Congress as counsel to no less than Chuck Schumer. We know from a [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck] Grassley letter that Fusion has in the past sheltered its clients’ true identities by filtering money through law firms or shell companies (Bean LLC and Kernel LLC).

Word is Mr. Simpson has made clear he will appear for a voluntary committee interview only if he is not specifically asked who hired him to dig dirt on Mr. Trump. Democrats are going to the mat for him over that demand. Those on the Judiciary Committee pointedly did not sign letters in which Mr. Grassley demanded that Fusion reveal who hired it.

Here’s a thought: What if it was the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton’s campaign? What if that money flowed from a political entity on the left, to a private law firm, to Fusion, to a British spook, and then to Russian sources? Moreover, what if those Kremlin-tied sources already knew about this dirt-digging, tipped off by Mr. Akhmetshin? What if they specifically made up claims to dupe Mr. Steele, to trick him into writing this dossier?

Lee Smith has much more background on GPS Fusion in his Tablet column here. Ken Dilanian has more on Simpson in his NBC News report here.

Bill Browder did business in Russia through Hermitage Capital Management, of which he is the chief executive officer; Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian auditor/attorney who represented Hermitage Capital. Magnitsky was arrested as a result of his work for Hermitage Capital and murdered in prison.

On Thursday Browder testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his close encounters with GPS Fusion (as did Thor Halvorssen, for which see Smith’s column above and Chuck Ross’s account below). Natasha Bertrand has much more on Browder and GPS Fusion in this Business Insider column. Browder’s 2015 memoir is Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice.

The text of Browder’s testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee “on FARA violations connected to the anti-Magnitsky Campaign by Russian government interests” is posted online here by the Washington Examiner and here in PDF. Video of Browder’s testimony as given before the committee is posted here.

The text of Thor Halvorssen’s testimony to the committee is posted online here. The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross has a good account of Halvorssen’s testimony and related background here.

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