- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2018

The research firm behind the controversial Trump dossier demanded Monday that a federal judge appointed by President Trump recuse himself from presiding over a libel case involving BuzzFeed’s publishing of the dossier last year.

Fusion GPS, the firm that orchestrated production of the dossier, argued in legal papers that U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden served as a “vetter” on Mr. Trump’s transition team, at a time when the then-president elect was challenging the dossier and calling on Fusion GPS to be investigated for possibly criminal activity.

“President-elect Trump began making public statements expressing his animosity toward Fusion GPS and its work related to the Trump Dossier during the transition,” wrote Fusion GPS lawyers William W. Taylor, Steven M. Salky and Rachel F. Cotton in court documents. “Mr. Trump has continued making such statements on a regular basis as president, until the present day. Indeed, the president’s adversity to Fusion has been repeatedly expressed by his spokesperson and has become an element of his political agenda.”

Fusion GPS attorneys also noted Mr. McFadden donated $1,000 to the Trump campaign in October 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Other conflict-of-interest questions raised by Fusion GPS lawyers include allegations that Mr. McFadden, while still a private attorney, represented a trio of Russian businessmen who claimed they were libeled by the dossier’s publication, and the judge’s role at the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in 2017, when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley asked for an investigation into the research firm.

Mr. McFadden was a partner at Baker & McKenzie when he represented the Mikhail Fridman, head of VimpelCom, a Russian telecommunications business, and his partners in a lawsuit against Glenn Simpson, a principal at Fusion GPS. It is one of five libel lawsuits filed by people accused of felonies in the dossier by former intelligence officer Christoper Steele and Mr. Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter.

Mr. Steele complied the dossier, which details intelligence reports about Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

The lawsuit in which Fusion GPS is requesting Mr. McFadden’s recusal is related to a case pending in a Miami federal court where Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian internet mogul mentioned in the document, filed a libel suit against BuzzFeed.

The dossier alleges Mr. Gubarev is a “significant player” in Russian efforts to hack the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. He has denied the allegations, and BuzzFeed redacted Mr. Gubarev’s name from their published version of the dossier along with issuing an apology for including after the lawsuit was filed.

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