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Democrat releases Fusion GPS testimony, revealing possible FBI informant in Trump organization
Fusion contracted a former British agent to compile the controversial Trump dossier.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released a full 300-page transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson on Tuesday.
Simpson’s 10-hour testimony before the committee, one of three investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, came about because of his research company’s involvement in compiling the controversial 35-page dossier on President Donald Trump.
“The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice,” Feinstein said in a statement. “The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”
In the transcript, Simpson revealed that the FBI told him that they were had some information similar to what was in Steele’s dossier, thanks in part to a source “inside the Trump network.”
Essentially what [Christopher Steele] told me was [the FBI] had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source and that — that they — my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.
However, the Washington Post, speaking with someone close to the investigation, described that as a mischaracterization.
One person familiar with the probe said Simpson’s comments misrepresent what had actually happened — that it was an Australian official who reached out to the United States in late July with concerns about a conversation months earlier in London with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
The release of the testimony transcripts had become a hot partisan issue over the past week, beginning when the committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked the Justice Department on Friday to open a criminal investigation into the dossier’s author, a former British intelligence officer named Christopher Steele.
Steele had compiled the 35-page intelligence dossier under contract, making several explosive and uncorroborated claims about then-Republican presidential candidate Trump.
The former British agent controversially claimed that Russian authorities held compromising material on the would-be president, and that this could be used to blackmail him if he were to make it to office. The content of the dossier, denounced by the White House when published by Buzzfeed News last January, has been at the center of congressional inquiries into Russian meddling.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Democrat lawmakers on the congressional panel, wrote a letter on Sunday condemning the referral by the Republicans and demanding that the transcript be released.
Simpson and another co-founding executive Peter Simpson Fritsch had urged the full publication of the testimony on Jan. 2 in a New York Times op-ed. The two accused panel Republicans of “selectively leaking” sections of the transcript.
Now in the public domain, the transcript touches on a number of areas ranging from Trump’s tax filings and business network—including his connection to Felix Sater, an individual with alleged connections to Russian organized crime gangs.
Read the full transcript here.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.