September 12, 2019 – State Dept official Jonathan Winer used a personal email account to hide his communications with Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson
Senators Ron Johnson and Charles Grassley have a few questions that are put in a letter dated September 12, 2019, to State Department OIG Steve Linick who reviewed a meeting between State Dept officials and Christopher Steele. The review or lack thereof appears to have left them with more questions than answers. Here is a clipping of the relevant part of their letter:
September 4, 2019 – Devin Nunes files a RICO lawsuit against Fusion GPS
“When we were investigating Fusion GPS, they were actively involved in working to smear me to obstruct justice, to derail our investigation — and so, I’m gonna hold these guys accountable, and this is just one of many steps we’re gonna continue to take,” continued Nunes.
Nunes filed a $9.9 million federal conspiracy lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia alleging that the Fusion GPS behind the anti-Trump Steele dossier coordinated with another group to file several fraudulent and harassing ethics complaints intended to derail his investigation.
The complaint named Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability (CfA) said the “smear” tactics kicked into action shortly after Simpson “lied” in his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017, as well as before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017.
“The bank records produced by Fusion GPS revealed that the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Perkins Coie paid for Fusion GPS’ anti-Trump research,” Nunes’ complaint stated.” (Sara A. Carter, 9/05/2019)
August 8, 2019 – Bruce Ohr 302 reports released
“Bruce Ohr is a DOJ official who was interviewed by the FBI during the DOJ/FBI collaborative effort to target president-elect Donald Trump after the 2016 election.
Mr. Ohr was interviewed on 12 different occasions between November 22nd 2016 and May 15th 2017. Judicial Watch has finally received the copies of the FBI investigative notes, aka “302 reports.”
The last interview of Bruce Ohr (May 15th, 2017) took place two days prior to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Throughout the interviews (full pdf below) Bruce Ohr was acting as the go-between delivering information from his wife Nellie Ohr at Fusion GPS and one of Fusion’s contract investigators, Christopher Steele.
The 302 reports are heavily redacted (sources and methods); however, we already know the majority of names underneath the redactions. Here are the *302 investigative notes:
August 8, 2019 – Bruce Ohr documents undercut FBI claims In Carter Page’s FISA applications
“Transcripts of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s interviews with the FBI could open the bureau to new scrutiny over claims government officials made in applications to spy on Carter Page.
During a Nov. 22, 2016 interview with the FBI, Ohr discussed meetings between dossier author Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Yahoo! News reporter Michael Isikoff, who two months earlier had published an article that alleged that Page was under FBI investigation for contacts in Russia.
The potential problem for the FBI is that the bureau said in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications against Page that investigators did not believe that Steele was a source for Isikoff’s story.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s unverified dossier to argue to the FISA court that Page was working as an agent of Russia. The applications also cite Isikoff’s article and at least one other news report about Page.
“OHR met [redacted] in Washington, D.C. in late September, possibly close to the time when the Yahoo news article was published on September 23, 2016,” read the heavily-redacted Ohr notes, which were released on Thursday.
“Simpson and [redacted] could have met with Yahoo or Michael Isikoff jointly, but OHR does not know if they did.”
In four FISA applications — which the FBI submitted in October 2016, January 2017, April 2017, and June 2017 — the FBI “does not believe that Source #1,” who has been identified as Steele, “directly provided this information to the identified news organization that published the September 23rd News Article.”
It is unclear if the redacted portion of the footnote adds further context to possible contacts between Steele, Simpson and Isikoff.
July 28, 2019 – Rep. John Ratcliffe says it is clear crimes were committed by government officials in the Obama administration
“With the Justice Department conducting a review of that operation, Rep. John Ratcliffe said during a Fox News interview Sunday that he trusts Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to provide answers.
And while Ratcliffe said he does not want to prematurely accuse any specific person of a crime — as Democrats have done with President Trump — he stressed that it is clear crimes were committed by people during the Obama administration, including government officials.
“I think the first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t do what the Democrats have done,” the Texas Republican told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. “They accused Donald Trump of a crime and then they try and reverse engineer a process to justify that accusation. So I’m not going to accuse any specific person of any specific crime, I just want there to be a fair process to get there. What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is that it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”
(…) Ratcliffe recommended three leads for the “investigation of the investigators.”
The first related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “You talked earlier about Michael Flynn. His phone call with the Russian ambassador was a highly classified NSA intercept. Someone in the Obama administration leaked that call to the Washington Post. That’s a felony,” he said.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed in February 2018 that the Justice Department was investigating that leak, and that he was overseeing the inquiry himself. “I am directing it personally and we’re pursuing it aggressively,” Sessions said at the time.
Ratcliffe suggested investigators also look into conflicting congressional testimony between Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Fusion GPS was the opposition research firm behind British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which was full of unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia and was used extensively by the FBI in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify surveillance of Page. Ohr acted as an unofficial back channel between Steel and the FBI. “Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS in talking about the Steele dossier, said under oath that he and Bruce Ohr did not meet until after the election. Bruce Ohr said under oath that they met three months before the election. One of them is not telling the truth. We need a process to identify that,” Ratcliffe said.
The third area of interest, Ratcliffe said, is former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on his interactions with Trump before he was fired in May 2017. “Where it all started, Jim Comey. He admitted that he leaked his confidential conversations with the president to a reporter. Did that include classified information? We need a fair processes to find out answers to that,” Ratcliffe said.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 7/28/2019)
July 20, 2019 – Schiff says Inspector General Horowitz’s work is ‘tainted’ ahead of report on surveillance abuses
“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has pivoted from ‘deepfake doom‘ influencing the 2020 election, to downplaying an upcoming watchdog report by the DOJ’s Inspector General due sometime in September.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Conference (where he had a pow-wow with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson last July), Schiff claims that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was co-opted into a scheme to protect President Trump by instigating a “fast track” report last year at Trump’s behest, according to the Washington Examiner‘s Daniel Chaitin.
Schiff claimed the president wanted McCabe, who briefly took over as acting FBI director after Trump fired James Comey in May 2017, investigated and his pension taken away and suggested someone such as former Attorney General Rod Rosenstein obliged the president by making a referral.
“The inspector general found that McCabe was untruthful. He may very well have been untruthful,” the California Democrat said, but noted that is not where main his concern lies.
The initiation of the inspector general’s inquiry in McCabe happened, Schiff said, “because the president wanted it politically.” He added, “Once you go down that road, it leads to disaster.” –Washington Examiner
“I have no reason to question the inspector general’s conclusion, but that investigation was put on a fast track. It was separated from a broader inspector general investigation, which is still ongoing,” said Schiff. “Why was that done? It was done so he could be fired to not get a pension. It was done to please the president when the initiation investigation is tainted. So are the results of that investigation.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 7/22/2019)
May 9, 2019 – Who Were the Mueller Report’s Hired Guns?
By: Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent more than $732,000 on outside contractors, including private investigators and researchers, records show, but his office refuses to say who they were. While it’s not unusual for special government offices to outsource for services such as computer support, Mueller also hired contractors to compile “investigative reports” and other “information.”
The arrangement has led congressional investigators, government watchdog groups and others to speculate that the private investigators and researchers who worked for the special counsel’s office might have included Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, the private research firm that hired Steele to produce the Russia collusion dossier for the Clinton campaign.
They suspect the dossier creators may have been involved in Mueller’s operation – and even had a hand in his final report – because the special counsel sent his team to London to meet with Steele within a few months of taking over the Russia collusion investigation in 2017. Also, Mueller’s lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, had shared information he received from Fusion with the media.
Raising additional suspicions, Mueller’s report recycles the general allegations leveled in the dossier. And taking a page from earlier surveillance-warrant applications in the Russia investigation, it cites as supporting evidence several articles – including one by Yahoo! News – that used Steele and Fusion as sources.
Mueller even kept alive one of the dossier’s most obscene accusations – that Moscow had “compromising tapes” of Trump with Russian hookers – by slipping into a footnote an October 2016 text Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received from a “Russian businessman,” who cryptically intimated, “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia.” Lawyers for the businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze (who is actually a Georgian-American), are demanding a retraction of the footnote, arguing Mueller omitted the part of his text where he said he did not believe the rumor about the tapes, for which no evidence has ever surfaced.
Mueller’s reliance on the Steele dossier is raising questions because it occurred long after FBI Director James B. Comey described the dossier as “salacious and unverified.”
U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the report should be renamed “The Mueller Dossier,” because he says it contains a lot of similar innuendo. Even though Mueller failed to corroborate key allegations leveled in the dossier, Nunes said his report twists key facts to put a collusion gloss on events. He also asserted that it selectively quotes from Trump campaign emails and omits exculpatory information in ways that cast the campaign’s activities in the most sinister light.
Steele’s 17-memo dossier alleged that the Trump campaign was involved in “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russian government to rig the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. It claimed this conspiracy “was managed on the Trump side by Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy adviser Carter Page and others as intermediaries.” Specifically, the dossier accused Page of secretly meeting with Kremlin officials in July 2016 to hatch a plot to release dirt on Hillary Clinton. And it accused Manafort of being corrupted by Russian President Vladimir Putin through his puppets in the Ukraine.
Likewise, Mueller’s report focuses on Manafort and Page and whether they “committed crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
Though the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government, the Mueller report implies there may be a kernel of truth to the dossier’s charges.
“In July 2016, Campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page traveled in his personal capacity to Moscow and gave the keynote address at the New Economic School,” according to the section on him. “Page had lived and worked in Russia between 2003 and 2007. After returning to the United States, Page became acquainted with at least two Russian intelligence officers, one of whom was later charged in 2015 with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Russia.”
Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, heads to a news conference at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Page said he was in Moscow on a visit to meet with businessmen and politicians.
Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow and his advocacy for pro-Russian foreign policy drew media attention,” Mueller’s narrative continued. “July 2016 was also the month WikiLeaks first released emails stolen by the GRU [Russian intelligence] from the DNC.”
“Page acknowledged that he understood that the individuals he has associated with were members of the Russian intelligence services,” the report added, implying that Page in the 2015 case (referenced above) knowingly cavorted with Russian spies, which echoes charges Steele made in his dossier.
But federal court records make it clear that Page did not know that those men were Russian agents.
Mueller also left out of his report a detail RealClearInvestigations has previously reported: that Page was a cooperating witness in the case in question, helping the FBI eventually put a Russian agent behind bars in 2016. Nor did Mueller see fit to include in his report another exculpatory detail revealed in agent Gregory Mohaghan’s complaint and reported earlier by RCI — namely, that the Russians privately referred to Page as “an idiot” who was unworthy of recruitment.
Excluding such details is curious, given that the Mueller report quotes from the same FBI complaint and cites it in its footnotes. Similarly, in its section dealing with Manafort, the Mueller report echoes the dossier’s claims that the Trump campaign chairman was in cahoots with the Kremlin, even though Mueller never charged him with conspiring to collude with Russia.
The special prosecutor’s report indicated that one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers was Konstantin Kilimnik.
“Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election,” it said. “That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. It also included discussion of ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.”
Except that this wouldn’t have been an unusual conversation: Kilimnik was a longtime Manafort employee who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. Footnotes in Mueller’s report show that Manafort shared campaign information to impress a former business partner, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was suing him over financial losses. Mueller failed to tie the information exchange to Russian espionage. He also failed to mention that Deripaska is an FBI informant.
Mueller’s team worked closely with dossier author Steele, a long-retired British intelligence officer who worked for the Clinton campaign. Mueller’s investigators went to London to consult with Steele for at least two days in September 2017 while apparently using his dossier as an investigative road map and central theory to his collusion case. Steele now runs a private research and consulting firm in London, Orbis Business Intelligence.
It’s not clear if Mueller’s office paid Steele, but recently released FBI records show the bureau previously made a number of payments to him, and at one point during the 2016 campaign offered him $50,000 to continue his dossier research. Steele was also paid through the Clinton campaign, earning $168,000 for his work on the dossier.
Expenditure statements show that the Special Counsel’s Office outsourced “investigative reports” and “information” to third-party contractors during Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian “collusion” during the 2016 presidential election.
Over the past few months, Mueller’s office has rejected several formal requests from RealClearInvestigations for contract details, including who was hired and how much they were paid.
Washington-based Judicial Watch suspects Mueller’s office may have farmed out work to the private Washington research firm Fusion GPS or its subcontractor Steele, both of whom were paid by the Clinton camp during the 2016 presidential election. Several law enforcement and Hill sources who spoke with RCI also believe Steele and Fusion GPS were deputized in the investigation.
The government watchdog group has requested that the Justice Department turn over the contracting records, along with all budget requests Mueller submitted to the attorney general during his nearly two-year investigation. It’s also requested all communications between the Special Counsel’s Office and the private contractors it used.
A Judicial Watch spokesman said its Freedom of Information Act request is pending.
Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined comment when asked specifically if Mueller’s team hired or collaborated with Fusion GPS or any of its subcontractors. Mueller took over the FBI’s Russia probe in May 2017, whereupon he hired many of the agents who handled Steele and pored over his dossier.
For the first reporting period ending Sept. 30, 2017, and covering just four months, the Special Counsel’s Office reported paying $867 to unnamed contractors for “investigative reports/information,” along with $3,554 in “miscellaneous” payments to contractors.
In the next reporting period ending March 31, 2018, the office stopped breaking out investigative reports and information as a separate line item, lumping such contractual services under the category “Other,” which accounted for a total of $10,812, or more than 4% of the total spending on outside contracts.
For the six months ending Dona – the latest reporting period for which there is data – Mueller’s office showed a total of $310,732 in payments to outside contractors. For the first time, it did not break out such expenses into subcategories, though it noted that the lion’s share of the $310,000 was spent on “IT services.”
Mueller concluded his investigation and delivered his final report in March. The next expenditure report, for the period October 2018-March 2019, will cover contract work directly tied to compiling the report.
Asked if the contracting details were classified, Carr demurred. If the information is not deemed classified, it must be made public, Judicial Watch maintains.
Republican critics on the Hill say Mueller’s written narrative was slanted to give the impression there still might be something to the dossier’s most salacious allegations, even though Mueller found no evidence corroborating them or establishing that Trump or his campaign coordinated or cooperated with Russian meddling in the election.
“Whoever wrote the report leaves you with the idea there’s still something to all the allegations of collusion that were first promoted by the dossier,” said a witness who was interviewed by Mueller’s investigators late in the probe and is referenced in the report.
In a section on Donald Trump Jr., moreover, the report gives the misimpression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks on the release of the Clinton campaign emails.
“Donald Trump Jr. had direct electronic communications with WikiLeaks during the campaign period,” it stated.
In fact, Trump got an unsolicited message through his Twitter account from WikiLeaks. He described the outreach as “weird” in an email to senior Trump campaign staff at the time. Other contemporaneous messages make it clear he had no advance knowledge about any Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks.
The FBI first began receiving memos from Steele’s dossier in early July 2016 and used the documents as the foJeundation for its October 2016 application for a warrant to wiretap the private communications of Page. These milestones are missing from the Mueller report’s chronology of events. In fact, neither Steele nor his dossier is mentioned by name anywhere in the first half of the report dealing with collusion, though their allegations are hashed out.
Some Mueller critics are focused on the role played by his top prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter with longstanding ties to Steele and Fusion GPS.
“Weissman had a lot to do with the way the report was written,” said author Jerome Corsi, who, as a friend of Trump confidant Roger Stone, was targeted by Mueller. “That’s why it’s basically a political document.”
Corsi said he spent more than 40 hours with Mueller’s prosecutors and investigators, who grilled him about possible ties to WikiLeaks but never charged him with a crime.
Formerly a top Justice Department official under Obama, Weissmann not only donated to Clinton’s presidential campaign but also attended her election-night party in New York City in November 2016. Three months earlier, he was briefed on Steele’s dossier and other dirt provided by the Clinton contractor and paid FBI informant. In early 2017, Weissmann helped advance the Russia collusion narrative by personally sharing Steele’s and Fusion’s dirt on Trump and his advisers with Washington reporters.
In an April 2017 meeting he arranged at his office, Weissmann gave guidance to four Associated Press reporters who were investigating Manafort, according to internal FBI documents.
Among other things, they discussed rumors that Manafort used “some of the money from shell companies to buy expensive suits.” A month later, Weissmann became the lead prosecutor handling the Manafort case for Mueller. His February 2018 indictment of Manafort highlights, among other things, the Trump adviser’s taste for expensive suits.
Attempts to reach Weissmann for comment were unsuccessful.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said there are signs Mueller may have hired “researchers” like Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who worked with Steele on the dossier, along with Edward Baumgartner and Nellie Ohr, who have worked for Fusion GPS, which originally hired Steele in June 2016 after contracting with the Clinton campaign.
“I ran into Glenn at the 2017 Aspen Security [Forum], and I distinctly remember him leaning in and claiming he was working for the government,” said one associate, who wished to remain anonymous.
Congressional investigators say Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, has been feeding Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate investigative tips regarding Trump and his associates, including Manafort.
In 2017, for instance, he urged Democrats specifically to look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank, which has financed some of Trump’s businesses, because he suspected some of the funding may have been laundered through Russia.
Around the time Simpson began coordinating with Democratic investigators looking into Trump’s bank records, Mueller subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for financial records for Manafort and other individuals affiliated with Trump.
Simpson did not return calls and emails seeking comment.
Founded by the journalist-turned-opposition researcher, Fusion has rehired Steele to continue his anti-Trump work with millions of dollars in left-wing funding from The Democracy Integrity Project, a Washington-based nonprofit started in 2017 by former FBI analyst Daniel Jones, who also worked for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
In March 2017, Jones met with FBI agents to provide them data he collected from IT specialists he hired to analyze web traffic between servers maintained by the Trump Organization and a Russian bank mentioned in the dossier. The traffic turned out to be innocuous marketing emails, or spam. (RealClearInvestigations, 5/09/2019)
(This and all other original articles created by RealClearInvestigations may be republished for free with attribution. These terms do not apply to outside articles linked on the site.)
- Andrew Weissmann
- Carter Page
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton campaign
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Devin Nunes
- Donald Trump Jr.
- Edward Baumgartner
- Fusion GPS
- Glenn Simpson
- Gregory Mohaghan
- House Intelligence Committee
- Jerome Corsi
- Konstantin Kilimnik
- May 2019
- Michael Cohen
- Mueller Report
- Nellie Ohr
- Oleg Deripaska
- Paul Manafort
- private contractors
- Robert Mueller
- Russia collusion
March 28, 2019 – Nellie Ohr’s full transcript is released
(…) “Beginning in September 2015, Ohr began working for Fusion GPS. Ohr told investigators that she “read an article in the paper that mentioned Glenn Simpson. And I remembered because he had been a Wall Street Journal reporter working on things like Russian crime and corruption, so I recognized the name. I was underemployed at that time and I was looking for opportunities.”
When later questioned as to her previous knowledge of Simpson, Ohr stated, “I had been at a conference that he was at. I don’t recall directly talking with him at that conference, and I don’t know whether he knew who, you know, who I was other than the fact that I attended that conference.”
Ohr acknowledged to congressional investigators that Simpson was acquainted with her husband, Bruce Ohr. (read more)
The implication here is that Nellie Ohr approached Fusion-GPS owner Glenn Simpson for a job; essentially to work on political opposition research files Fusion-GPS was assembling in 2015. This is distinctly different from Glenn Simpson seeking out Nellie Ohr, and opens the entire background to larger ramifications.
Our research has always indicated that Nellie’s work product was transmitted to Christopher Steele as part of an intelligence laundry process. Chris Steele laundered Nellie’s information, provided second verification where possible, formatted into an official intelligence file, and returned that file -now named the Steele Dossier- to the FBI.
However, if it becomes verified that it was CIA contracted (former or current) Nellie Ohr who approached Simpson, then it becomes possible, perhaps likely, the intelligence information (seeds carried by Nellie), originated from the CIA.
Nellie Ohr petitioning Glenn Simpson for a job would be an explosive change in the dynamic. However, it could further explain some other unusual side-issues including why Nellie suddenly started using a HAM radio.
First, this revelation would imply that an inside government effort from the CIA was likely the origination of material that Nellie would “discover” while working for Fusion. Under this possibility the laundry process would have two washes.
The first wash was from some unknown CIA intelligence sources to Nellie Ohr…. The second wash was from Nellie Ohr to Christopher Steele (the second wash we always knew).
Second, whether Glenn Simpson knew of Nellie’s intent, or was likely willfully blind, is another question. I tend to think it didn’t really matter. Simpson hired Nellie to get valuable oppo-research he could turn into a commodity.
Simpson wouldn’t necessarily care how Nellie found the information, and he knew her background in the intelligence research community. The commodity was always the Trump-research file; which was then sold to the Clinton campaign after the contract with the DNC was made through Perkins Coie.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 3/28/2019)
March 20, 2019 – Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele and Dan Jones are running an elaborate media influence operation, pitching the Russia collusion and Trump impeachment narratives
“Key Democratic operatives and private investigators who tried to derail Donald Trump’s campaign by claiming he was a tool of the Kremlin have rebooted their operation since his election with a multimillion-dollar stealth campaign to persuade major media outlets and lawmakers that the president should be impeached.
The effort has successfully placed a series of questionable stories alleging secret back channels and meetings between Trump associates and Russian spies, while influencing related investigations and reports from Congress.
The operation’s nerve center is a Washington-based nonprofit called The Democracy Integrity Project, or TDIP. Among other activities, it pumps out daily “research” briefings to prominent Washington journalists, as well as congressional staffers, to keep the Russia “collusion” narrative alive.
TDIP is led by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI investigator, Clinton administration volunteer and top staffer to California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. It employs the key opposition-research figures behind the salacious and unverified dossier: Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Its financial backers include the actor/director Rob Reiner and billionaire activist George Soros.
The project’s work has been largely shrouded in mystery. But a months-long examination by RealClearInvestigations, drawn from documents and more than a dozen interviews, found that the organization is running an elaborate media-influence operation that includes driving and shaping daily coverage of the Russia collusion theory, as well as pushing stories about Trump in the national media that attempt to tie the president or his associates to the Kremlin.
The group also feeds information to FBI and congressional investigators, and then tells reporters that authorities are investigating those leads. The tactic adds credibility to TDIP’s pitches, luring big media outlets to bite on stories. It mirrors the strategy federal authorities themselves deployed to secure FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign: citing published news reports of investigative details their informants had leaked to the media to bolster their wiretap requests.
Five days a week, TDIP emails a newsletter to influential Democrats and prominent Beltway journalists under the heading “TDIP Research” – which summarizes the latest “collusion” news, and offers “points of interest” to inspire fresh stories regarding President Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow.
Recipients of the TDIP reports include staffers at the New York Times and Washington Post and investigative reporters at BuzzFeed, ProPublica and McClatchy, as well as news producers at CNN and MSNBC, according to a source familiar with the project’s email distribution list. Democratic aides on Capitol Hill also subscribe to the newsletter.
The briefings typically run several pages and include an “Executive Summary” and links to court documents and congressional testimony, letters and memos, as well as new articles and videos.
The Steele dossier and impeachment are common themes in the reports, which generally spin news events against Trump, copies of the newsletter obtained by RCI show. A March 13 TDIP bulletin, for instance, highlighted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s sentencing without informing readers that Special Counsel Robert Mueller closed the case without any collusion accusation against Manafort, who was punished for personal financial crimes.
A Feb. 12 briefing led with an NBC News exclusive report on the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s two-year Russia probe. But it misstated what the news was — that both Democrats and Republicans agreed with the conclusion that there was “no factual evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia – claiming instead that Democrats “rejected” the conclusion.
“What’s significant about them is they’re totally one-sided,” said a veteran reporter with a major newspaper who is plugged into the national security beat in Washington and insisted on anonymity. “It’s really just another way of adding fuel to the fire of the whole Russia collusion thing.”
Jones’ project doesn’t just spin the news. Its more ambitious goal is to make news by essentially continuing the Clinton-funded investigation into alleged Trump/Russia ties that began in 2016, and then sharing findings with news outlets, congressional investigators and federal agents.” (Read much more: RealClearInvestigations, 3/20/2019)
- Christopher Steele
- Dafna H. Rand
- Daniel Jones
- Fund for a Better Future
- Fusion GPS
- George Soros
- Glenn Simpson
- March 2019
- Michael Caputo
- New Knowledge
- Reid Hoffman
- Renee DiResta
- Rob Reiner
- Russia narrative
- The Democracy Integrity Project
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
December 3, 2018 – Grassley accuses Fusion GPS founder, Glenn Simpson, of giving ‘extremely misleading’ testimony
“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is drawing parallels between the false testimony that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen gave to Congress in 2017 and the “extremely misleading” statements made by the founder of the firm that commissioned the infamous Steele dossier.
“I hope that the Justice Department is handling all these instances of false statements to Congress with the same level of seriousness they treated Mr. Cohen’s,” Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote Monday in a letter to Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Cohen pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 in the special counsel’s investigation to lying to Congress in 2017 about the extent of his attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen admitted he lied about how long he worked on the project, which was ultimately scuttled in June 2016.
Grassley accused Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS, of possibly lying during his Aug. 22, 2017 testimony when he claimed that his firm was not working for a client to investigate President Donald Trump after the 2016 election.
“So you didn’t do any work on the Trump matter after the election date, that was the end of your work?” Simpson was asked in his deposition.
“I had no client after the election,” said Simpson.
“As we now know, that was extremely misleading, if not an outright lie,” Grassley asserted in his letter to Blumenthal.
Grassley noted that a former Senate staffer named Daniel Jones told the FBI in March 2017 that he hired Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, after the election to continue an investigation into Trump’s possible ties to Russia. (Read more: Daily Caller, 12/04/2018)