Anatomy of a Fusion smear (1)

This past weekend I noted the Wall Street Journal editorial decrying the wrong done to Cleta Mitchell in connection with the Russia investigation(s). Cleta is the prominent Foley & Lardner partner and campaign finance expert. The Journal editorial is “Anatomy of a Fusion smear” (truncated but accessible here on Outline). It appears that the Fusion smear was planted in his accustomed style by Glenn Simpson with a few of his friends at McClatchy.

I am continuing the exploration of this smear in a few more posts that take us to the Russia hoax engineered by Glenn Simpson as a Clinton campaign contractor. I am continuing this series under the same heading as the Journal editorial. Working on this series I have come to understand that it is Glenn Simpson’s world and we’re just living in it.

Simpson’s friends at McClatchy are reporters Peter Stone and Greg Gordon. In their March 15 article “Lawyer who worked for NRA said to have had concerns about group’s Russia ties,” they disseminated a fraudulent story about Cleta in Simpson’s continuing campaign to undermine the 2016 election.

Stone and Gordon allow Simpson to cloak himself under the veil of anonymity. He is vaguely described as one of two “sources” of the story/smear. Stone and Gordon say that they grant the sources anonymity “because of the sensitivity of the matter.” In any normal understanding of the language they employ, that is a bald-faced lie. They grant Simpson anonymity because he is a paid operative and identifying him by name would assist readers in evaluating his allegations for what they are worth.

What, however, is the evidence that outs Simpson as the key McClatchy source peddling the smear? There is a trail of circumstantial evidence:

• Simpson served up his conspiracy theory involving the NRA in his November 14, 2017 testimony to the House Intel Committee (HPSCI). The transcript of Simpson’s testimony is posted here. In this testimony Simpson retailed his Russia-NRA-Trump money laundering conspiracy theory.

• Simpson and Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch demanded that Simpson’s congressional testimony be made public in this January 2, 2018 New York Times op-ed column.

• The HPSCI Democrat status report made the first public mention of Cleta’s name in connection with the Russia-NRA-Trump money laundering conspiracy theory here.

• Two days after the HPSCI Dem status report appeared, McClatchy published the Peter Stone/Greg Gordon story smearing Cleta here.

• Kim Strassel then bashed McClatchy as Fusion GPS stooges in this Wall Street Journal column.

• Most recently, Chuck Ross reported for the Daily Caller last month that notes taken by Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr reflect Simpson retailing the smear to him. Ross’s key story is posted here.

This is essentially the thread that the the Journal editorial follows in calling out Glenn Simpson for the smearing of Cleta Mitchell. The Journal editors rightly state that “the evidence points to Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the outfit that financed the infamous Steele dossier.” QED, one might say.

The Journal editorial also calls out McClatchy (reminder: that would be reporters Peter Stone and Greg Gordon) for smearing Cleta via the anonymous Glenn Simpson. Thus the headline Anatomy of a Fusion Smear. So far as I can tell by searching the Journal online, neither Simpson nor McClatchy has responded to the Journal editorial. Insofar as the responsibility for the smearing of Cleta is concerned, a reasonable observer would judge the case closed.

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