Grassley, Republicans challenged on Trump investigation

Lloyd Doyle
January 12, 2018

Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

Fusion GPS, the smear firm employed by Hillary Clinton to produce the Steele dossier that was used to justify Obama's eavesdropping on Trump officials and the ensuing investigation, got a New York Times op-ed to defend itself.

Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent behind the salacious dossier on US President Donald Trump, earned almost $600,000, the Daily Mail reported.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that an invitation for the research company behind the "Trump dossier" to testify in public remains "on the table" - while outlining the chairman of the firm's reluctance to do so.

Fusion GPS founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch this week called those arguments "mendacious conspiracy theories" spun by Trump supporters who were seeking to create distractions from and to punish the firm for exposing Trump's links to Russian Federation.

Some GOP lawmakers have raised concerns in recent weeks that the law enforcement probe into the matter was sparked by the opposition research dossier, which contains unverified and salacious information about Trump.

They accused congressional Republicans of "selectively" leaking to far-right media outlets details of the firm's testimony to congressional committees and called for the full release of the testimony transcripts. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation.

The committee has been investigating who paid Fusion GPS, who received the dossier, whether steps were taken to verify its accuracy, and whether the FBI relied on it as grounds for its counterintelligence investigation. They say Congress appears not to have subpoenaed "Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump's businesses", despite their suggestion that legislators do so. Likewise, those deals don't seem to interest Congress.

"Yes, we hired Mr. Steele, a highly respected Russian Federation expert", they continued. Mr. Steele's sources in Russian Federation (who were not paid) reported on an extensive - and now confirmed - effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president.

Simpson and Fritsch serve up a grudging concession: "Yes, we hired Mr. [Christopher} Steele, a highly respected Russian Federation expert". They added that Fusion never spoke to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but deferred to Steele when he felt he needed to report what he had uncovered.

Simpson and Fritsch said that when they hired Steele, he did not know who would be getting the information he gathered.

In addition, Steele and Burrows also run another company Orbis Intelligence Limited, which more than doubled its profits previous year and paid dividends to Orbis Business International, which in turn paid the money to the owners, according to the Daily Mail.

We did not discuss that decision with our clients, or anyone else. "The goal was to alert the United States national security community to an attack on our country by a hostile foreign power". However, Simpson and Fritsch maintain that they did not share the dossier with BuzzFeed, which published the document in full during the presidential transition. The committee chairman, Sam Ervin, a Democrat, said that would be "as foolish as the man who went bear hunting and stopped to chase rabbits".

The writers, who note that their firm provided 21 hours of testimony to congressional committees, called on Congress to release the transcripts of their testimony "so that the American people can learn the truth about our work".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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