- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The founders of Fusion GPS, the research firm responsible for the anti-Trump dossier, pushed back against Republicans who have attacked their company over its work and requested that congressional committees release full transcripts of their prior closed-door testimony.

“Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators,” wrote Fusion founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch in an op-ed published in the New York Times late Tuesday.

The two former reporters wrote that they don’t believe the dossier, which was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, “was the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.”

“As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp,” they wrote.

Mr. Simpson and Mr. Fritsch accused Republicans of selectively leaking details of their investigation without releasing a full transcript of their testimony before Congress.

“The public still has much to learn about a man with the most troubling business past of any United States president,” they wrote. “Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.”

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of the committees that had interviewed Fusion officials, pushed back Wednesday against the characterization and said an invitation for Mr. Simpson remains on the table.

A spokesman for Sen. Charles Grassley issued a statement indicating that while the lawmaker supports transparency in the investigation, it may be necessary to keep some of the testimony secret in order to not taint the memory of other witnesses.

Spokesman Taylor Foy said the committee had previously invited Mr. Simpson to testify in public before the committee, but that Mr. Simpson declined.

During the closed-door testimony, Mr. Foy said that “despite his public statements, Mr. Simpson and his attorney demanded during the interview that the transcript be kept confidential.”

Earlier this year it was disclosed that Fusion was previously paid to research then-candidate Donald Trump by both the Washington Free Beacon and the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. That research resulted in the salacious intelligence dossier that contained allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia. Mr. Steele eventually provided his research to the FBI, and Republicans have since raised concern about how opposition research paid for by the Clinton camp was used in an investigation of the opposing candidate.

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, has been among the lawmakers to suggest that the dossier was used to secure Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Appearing on CNN Wednesday morning, he said said the dossier was reportedly the central focus of investigators for months and was critical of the defense emerging now that after the research was tied to the Clinton campaign that Fusion is downplaying the importance of the document.

“Now suddenly the dossier wasn’t important. it was George Papadopoulos shooting his mouth off in England,” Mr. Jordan said, referencing a New York Times report from Dec. 30 that indicates the Russia probe began when the Trump campaign advisor disclosed to an Australian diplomat that the campaign knew Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The Australians passed on the information to American authorities about two months later after leaked DNC emails began to be released online, according to the report.

Mr. Simpson and Mr. Fritsch wrote that they told congressional committees probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election that the dossier was not the starting point for the FBI’s own investigation into the issue, rather it was one of many pieces of information investigators had received on the matter.

“The intelligence committees have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources during the campaign. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation,” they wrote.

The men said they suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses and that they had found “widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering.”

Mr. Simpson and Mr. Fritsch accused Republicans of selectively leaking details of their investigation without releasing a full transcript of their testimony before Congress.

“The public still has much to learn about a man with the most troubling business past of any United States president,” they wrote. “Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.”


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