The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board is accusing Democrats and “the Beltway media” of ignoring questions raised about the Trump dossier and the firm behind the infamous and uncorroborated document, Fusion GPS.
What’s significant about the newspaper’s piece is that Fusion GPS was co-founded by three former Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan. But that relationship provides no cover for the Fusion trio.
“The Beltway media move in a pack, and that means ignoring some stories while leaping on others. Consider the pack’s lack of interest in the story of GPS Fusion [sic] and the ‘dossier’ from former spook Christopher Steele,” writes the Journal’s editorial board, which is considered right-of-center on the political spectrum.
“Americans don’t need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson’s media buddies.”
The dossier, which Steele began working on after being hired by Fusion GPS last June, has become a centerpiece of the ongoing investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian operatives.
Fusion was working for an ally of Hillary Clinton’s when it hired Steele to look into Trump’s activities in Russia. The result was a 35-page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated from June 20 to Dec. 13 containing a slew of salacious allegations about Trump’s personal activities in Russia. It also alleges that the Trump campaign was exchanging information with the Kremlin to help the election effort.
U.S. officials reportedly cited the dossier in an application for a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign chairman Carter Page.
Page, an energy consultant, is alleged in the Steele dossier of serving as the campaign’s liaison to Russian operatives. He denies the allegations, saying that he has never met the people Steele links him to in the dossier. FBI agents last October also reportedly struck an informal agreement with Steele to pay the former MI6 officer $50,000 to continue his Trump investigation.
But nine months after BuzzFeed published the dossier, no proof has emerged supporting its most serious allegations. And as Republicans have stepped up efforts to question the basis of the dossier, Democrats have pushed back, accusing the GOP of attempting to discredit the document and Steele in order to protect Trump politically.
Democrats are especially upset that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recently subpoenaed Fusion GPS for information about the dossier. Nunes has also subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as part of an effort to find out how much the agencies relied on the dossier for their investigation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has also raised questions about Fusion GPS given its work last year on a project to roll back the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law opposed by the Kremlin. Two of Fusion’s partners on that project are Russian political operatives who attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Oppo Researcher Behind Trump Dossier Is Tied To Pro-Kremlin Lobbying Effort)
All the while, mainstream media outlets have ignored some of those questions about Fusion GPS and the dossier because of their cozy relationship with the opposition research firm, The Journal’s editorial board asserts.
“The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016,” they write.
Fusion GPS has maintained close ties to reporters at the major news outlets, not just on the Trump-Russia story but for other investigations conducted for corporate and political clients.
During the campaign last year, Fusion GPS and Simpson shared some of Steele’s reporting with reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News and Mother Jones. Steele has revealed in a court in London, where he is based, that Fusion GPS directed him to brief reporters on some of his findings. He has also said that Fusion directed him to provide some memos in the dossier to Arizona Sen. John McCain.