For nearly five months, the firm Fusion GPS, hired by Democrats to research and write an “intelligence report” that the most senior members of the Obama administration circulated widely last summer and fall, has been stonewalling a U.S. Senate committee investigation. That “report,” many believe, was the basis for charges of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. So why are they being allowed to stonewall?
In February, Sen. Chuck Grassley sent questions to Fusion GPS about the dossier and the firm’s role in the scandal, and was rebuffed. The firm claimed it would not answer questions due to attorney-client privilege and First Amendment rights. He later asked the Department of Justice to investigate the firm’s ties to Russian clients.
But the firm, founded by former journalists, is neither a journalistic enterprise nor a law firm. It is actually nothing more than a political campaign opposition and disinformation company. Founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, it has worked extensively over the past five years for Democrat candidates and Democrat-tied entities. It provided opposition research against Mitt Romney in 2012 and was hired by Planned Parenthood in 2015 to spread misinformation about the undercover videos that revealed Planned Parenthood’s selling of aborted baby body parts. Fusion GPS has also been linked to foreign clients, including the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
Peddling Rumors as Intelligence
Media reports indicate a Republican opposed to Donald Trump hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research in early 2016. After Trump won the nomination, according to the reports, Democrat donors hired Fusion to finish the Trump research and produce the now-discredited dossier.
In June 2016, Fusion hired British national and former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele to draft memos regarding purported allegations about Trump and his associates, including allegations of Trump ties to Russia. Steele, who was posted by MI-6 to Moscow in the 1990s, is retained by businesses with Russian interests given his background in “intelligence” about the country.
Initially leaked to journalists like left-wing Mother Jones writer David Corn, the report was nothing more than copies of Google search terms, clips from foreign newspapers and left-wing conspiracy sites, and rumors from unnamed “sources.” Yet the document ended up in a “Top Secret” file shared by then-CIA Director John Brennan with the Obama White House and other senior Obama staffers in the national security and intelligence arenas.
Eventually, CNN published parts of the shady dossier in January. CNN claimed the document alleged Russia made attempts to compromise then-president-elect Trump. Later BuzzFeed published the entire unverified and unsubstantiated dossier. This reporting was so poor, even MSNBC host Chuck Todd asked BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, “Are you knowingly spreading false information?” Todd went on to say “I’ve known you a long time, but you just published fake news.”
So Who, Exactly, Is Colluding with the Russians?
By most media accounts, it was the Fusion GPS document that jumpstarted talk among the CIA, FBI, and Obama White House that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and aided the Russian government’s efforts to undercut faith in U.S. institutions and the election. In other words, the document accomplished exactly what Russia apparently set out to do. The point lost by most reporters and Congress? That the document was paid for by Democrats and produced by an American firm run by Democrats that is now refusing to cooperate with congressional investigators.
Congressional committees have thus far found no evidence of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign. By the day, as more and more Democrats are revealed to have had the same interactions with Russian officials that Republicans had—Sen. Claire McCaskill is but the latest—the story increasingly shows itself as the fairy tale many thought it to be.
It appears the one part of this scandal worth investigating, but not being investigated yet, is the one where many of the answers may lie: the role Fusion GPS played, who paid the firm for the discredited dossier, and how it ended up in the hands of the Obama administration.
Why aren’t Grassley’s Judiciary Committee and Rep. Trey Gowdy’s House Government Oversight Committee more aggressively pursuing and subpoenaing Fusion GPS? After all, it was that firm’s dossier (now fully discredited), written by a foreign national, paid for by Democrat donors with ties to the Hillary Clinton campaign, and shared by the Obama administration’s head of the CIA and other national intelligence agencies, that spread false stories about President Trump and claims of collusion with the Russian government.
“Inviting” Fusion GPS to submit answers to Congress isn’t good enough anymore. The firm must be treated for what it is: an uncooperative witness and key player in what may be one of the great political fraud cases in U.S. political history. It’s time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to subpoena the partners of Fusion GPS, and for Gowdy to do the same. Sure, Fusion GPS may refuse to answer questions under oath, but that in many ways would answer what most of us suspect: the “Russian collusion” fairytale was nothing more than a political hit job that has disintegrated when exposed to facts.
Only when the role of Fusion GPS and its clients is revealed will the American public have the full picture of the events that have distracted the White House, the FBI, Congress, and the media for many months.