Trump Dossier Firm Turns Over Documents To Senate Panel, But There’s Just One Problem

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the Trump dossier, turned over thousands of pages of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee late Wednesday, The Daily Caller is told.

But the documents do not appear to be what the committee was hoping that Fusion GPS and its founder, Glenn Simpson, would provide.

“The committee is reviewing the production received late this afternoon from Mr. Simpson, but virtually all of the documents appear to be merely news clippings rather than records of Fusion’s substantive communications,” George Hartmann, a spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, told TheDC.

The paltry document production escalates the standoff between Fusion GPS and the Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

After Simpson declined an invitation to testify before the committee last month, Grassley issued a subpoena to compel him to appear. But the subpoena was withdrawn after Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, said he would voluntarily meet in a closed session with committee staff.

A date for that meeting has not been set.

Last month, the committee requested records from Fusion GPS, the Trump campaign, Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

Glenn Simpson in C-SPAN interview, 1996.

The Trump campaign gave the committee 20,000 pages of records last week while Trump Jr. and Manafort produced 250 pages and 400 pages of records, respectively.

The committee is one of three congressional panels investigating Russia-related matters, including the dossier and the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting held between Trump Jr. and a Russian attorney linked to Fusion GPS.

In its request to Fusion, the Judiciary Committee asked for contracts that the firm signed for its work on the dossier.

Fusion was initially hired to investigate Trump in Sept. 2015 by an unidentified Republican donor who opposed the real estate mogul. After Trump ascended to the GOP nomination, the donor dropped the project. But Fusion soon found a Democratic ally of Hillary Clinton’s — also still unidentified — to continue the research. Fusion hired Christopher Steele, a former MI6 agent, to conduct the investigation.

Fusion and Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, have worked together on various projects since 2010.

The committee also asked Fusion to produce contracts and communications regarding its work against the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law opposed by the Russian government.

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who attended the Trump Tower meeting, was involved in the same lobbying campaign. Veselnitskaya represents Denis Katsyv, the chairman of Prevezon Holdings.

Fusion GPS was working for BakerHostetler, a law firm that was also representing Katsyv and Prevezon.

Veselnitskaya was accompanied to the Trump Tower meeting by Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer who works in the same line of business as Fusion GPS, providing political and business research for shadowy clients.

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks during an interview in Moscow, Russia November 8, 2016. Picture taken November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kommersant Photo/Yury Martyanov

The Judiciary Committee is also inquiring whether Fusion and Akhmetshin have done business together in the past.

The strange overlap between Fusion GPS, the dossier, and the Trump Tower meeting has piqued Grassley’s interest. He has sought to find out who exactly was paying Fusion GPS for all of its projects.

Grassley is interested in the dossier because of its importance to the FBI’s collusion investigation.

The bureau has reportedly used information from the dossier as part of the basis for its probe. The dossier was reportedly used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Page, an energy consultant, is named in the dossier as one of the Trump campaign’s liaisons to the Kremlin. Page has dismissed the claims. He refers to Steele’s document as “the dodgy dossier.”

Grassley has also questioned the FBI over whether it paid Steele to investigate Trump. FBI agents reportedly made an informal agreement with Steele in October to pay the former spy $50,000 to continue his investigation. That payment was reportedly never made.

Follow Chuck on Twitter