Questions raised about Fusion GPS boss's credibility

Lee Smith:
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It’s not hard to see why the Times, which rejected the dossier before embracing it, is now backing off the dossier again. For all of the newsprint and air-time used to push the dossier for 14 months, nothing that hadn’t already been publicly reported prior to the 2016 campaign has panned out, nor have any of the accusations regarding Trump. There is also the fact dossier may have been used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s associates, and therefore on the candidate himself, which would be a political scandal of a magnitude likely to transcend partisan divides.

For if the FBI and Department of Justice used a piece of opposition research paid for by a political campaign as evidence for a warrant to intercept the communications of a rival campaign—and the questions asked by congressional investigators suggest they did—then we are now living in a very different America than the one that generations of civil libertarians and small-government conservatives alike desired to maintain, and which large majorities in Congress have repeatedly voted for. The DOJ, the FBI and perhaps the CIA would be embroiled in a scandal likely to have long-lasting and sweeping consequences for intelligence collection, national security, and the safety and privacy of American citizens, to say nothing of how it will demoralize federal law enforcement, which will appear to be mired in partisanship and political corruption.

Even more disconcerting is the increasing likelihood that the Steele dossier was used as a platform for a Russian information operation, which successfully managed to leverage nearly the entire American press corps and sections of the security bureaucracy toward the goal of encouraging Americans to rip their own country apart.
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Simpson explains in his testimony that as a “Russianist” Steele knew how to recognize disinformation. “Disinformation is an issue that Chris wrestles with, has wrestled with his entire life. So if he believed any of this was disinformation, he would have told us.”

Maybe. But Simpson’s assertion is premised on the idea that Steele was responsible for everything that went into the dossier, or that he was indeed the author.

I recently reported that the dossier’s passages regarding former Trump convention campaign manager Paul Manafort were likely sourced to Simpson’s own reporting. In one Wall Street Journal article from 2007 and another from 2008, Simpson, and his wife Mary Jacoby, detail Manafort’s work on behalf of former Ukrainian president, and Putin ally, Viktor Yanukovich. The corrupt nature of the Manafort-Yanukovich relationship is a key theme in the dossier—and the foundation of special counselor Robert Mueller’s October indictment of Manafort.

Simpson, in his recently released testimony, seems to confirm he was at least a co-contributor to the Manafort sections. A congressional investigator asks Simpson if it’s “fair to characterize the research” he was doing “as kind of a separate track of research on the same topic” Steele was researching.
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There is much more in this report on the Fusion GPS participation in the dossier and the attacks on Trump and his campaign.

Smith also goes into the Fusion attacks on William Browder who uncovered the scandal that led to the Maginsky Act the Russians os hate.  The attacks by Fusion GPS on Browder were pretty brutal as were the attacks on a journalist who uncovered alleged corruption in Venezuela.

In fact, the story in Simpson's old employer the Wall Street Journal, suggesting a hush money deal with a porn star seems to fit the pattern.  Because that attack also was aimed at not just Trump but his lawyer who had only days before filed suit against Fusion and others over the discredited allegations that he had flown to Prague to collude with Russians for Trump.  BTW, the porn denies the allegations of teh story.  Interestingly also is that she was urged to run for David Vitter's Senate seat in Louisiana when he was faced with his own sex scandal.  Reports suggest she seriously considered a run for the office.

This piece by Smith is worth reading in full despite its length.  He is right to suggest that this looks like a plot that was in itself a Russian information operation.

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