On September 1 the Wall Street Journal published an 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).
The editorial addressed the smearing of Cleta Mitchell by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon in their March 15 McClatchy News story “Lawyer who worked for NRA said to have had concerns about group’s Russia ties.” The smear was planted in his accustomed style by Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson with his friends at McClatchy. Chuck Ross’s August 13 Daily Caller story “Fusion GPS founder shared ‘false story’ about GOP lawyer in meeting with DoJ’s Bruce Ohr” presented the final piece in the puzzle of the trail from Simpson to the Department of Justice, Congress and McClatchy.
Ross’s story elicited the Journal’s September 1 editorial. The editorial must have been written by editorial board member Kim Strassel. Strassel originally broached the smear in her invaluable March 22 Potomac Watch column “Russia, the NRA and fake news” (accessible here on Outline). Everything I have tried to elaborate in this series is implicit in Strassel’s March 22 column.
The smearing of Cleta Mitchell by Glenn Simpson via McClatchy News replicates in small the techniques that Simpson used to conjure the Russia hoax and roil the United States over the past two years. My theme in this series is that it is Glenn Simpson’s world. We’re all just living in it.
I know and respect Cleta. Having read the Journal’s September 1 editorial, I wrote Cleta to ask if she had anything she wanted to add to it. Oh, yes. Indeed she did. This series followed. I invite readers to retrace my steps:
A word from Cleta Mitchell: Drawing on her own experience at the hands of Simpson and his friends at McClatchy, Cleta comments: “I was vociferous about the false story they [the McClatchy reporters] were told, and which they repeated. Simpson should be prosecuted for making false statements to federal investigators [as set forth in the Journal editorial]. That’s a crime. The Mueller investigation should be stopped. Ended. It is built on lies and false narratives from beginning to end.”
Cleta Mitchell: Glenn Simpson is a liar: Cleta forwarded a copy of the April 24 letter from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to her this past April. In the letter the committee requested records of her contacts with specified Russian and Russian entities. I have posted that letter here.
Cleta responded to the committee by letter dated May 8, 2018. In her letter Cleta wrote: “I have no information about any of the individuals referenced in your letter. Whatever stories Glenn Simpson, Dan Jones, and other operatives associated with FusionGPS, have told your staff about me, they are lying. They have made false statements regarding my knowledge, or role, or information in my possession related to the persons listed in your letter – none of whom had I ever heard of before reading their names in the erroneous news reports falsely accusing me of having some information that you now think I have. The story is false and you are wrong. I have nothing whatsoever to say on this topic other than it is a lie, completely fabricated and concocted by Glenn Simpson & Co. You should be pursuing them for perjury and for making false statements to congressional investigators.” I embedded a copy of Cleta’s letter at the bottom of the “Glenn Simpson is a liar” post via Scribd.
Fake news: A case study: Cleta forwarded a copy of her email correspondence with McClatchy reporters Peter Stone and Greg Gordon before and after their publication of the story retailing Simpson’s smear. I pasted it into a single document and posted it in its entirety at the bottom of this post. Here the reader can see with his own eyes that Stone and Gordon had nothing to back up the substance of their smear.
The smearing of Cleta Mitchell: Martha MacCallum usefully reviewed the story so far and invited Cleta to discuss it briefly on her Fox News show. I posted the video of this six-minute segment.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (1): In this post I trace the circumstantial evidence laying the smear at the feet of Glenn Simspon and Fusion GPS.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (2): We are getting to know Glenn Simpson and his modus operandi. He works with his media friends under the veil of anonymity. There is no good excuse for the anonymity that Simpson’s conduits in the press grant him. The Fusion smear follows a template with four hallmarks in the news stories that disseminate it after it has been planted. I lay out the template and illustrate it with examples in this post.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (3): In this post we follow the trail of Glenn Simpson to ProPublica with a little help from Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson knows what she is talking about.
Anatomy of a Fusion smear (4): Stone and Gordon are still pushing the line that Michael Cohen visited Prague in 2016, assumedly in furtherance of the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Russian intelligence. They reported that Mueller has the evidence, but where is it? Working on this series over the past 10 days, I finally came to understand Simpson’s modus operandi and to absorb related news of which I was only vaguely aware. Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS have not given up their efforts to undermine Donald Trump. The Federalist’s Sean Davis reported earlier this year “CONFIRMED: Former Feinstein Staffer Raised $50 Million, Hired Fusion GPS And Christopher Steele After 2016 Election.” The mission continues unabated.
Postscript: I should have stated explicitly in this series that Simpson and Fusion GPS have at all relevant times worked on behalf of the Clinton presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and other Democrat moneybags.