Grassley Presses Fusion GPS About Inaccurate Testimony
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is asking the opposition research firm behind the infamous Trump dossier to explain how its founder mischaracterized statements in an interview with the panel last August.
In a letter sent on Thursday, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Fusion GPS lawyer Joshua Levy about Fusion founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony that the FBI had a voluntary source from inside the Trump orbit who corroborated parts of the dossier. (RELATED: 7 Revelations From Glenn Simpson’s Senate Testimony)
A transcript of Simpson’s testimony was released on Tuesday by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary committee.
Simpson’s reference to the walk-in FBI source was touted by some news outlets as a bombshell revelation. The idea that the Trump campaign had a mole who told the FBI about collusion was perceived as a game-changer.
But it turned out that Simpson had “mischaracterized” the FBI’s sourcing. Several news outlets reported that a “source close to Fusion” said that Simpson was referring to an Australian diplomat who had passed along information to the FBI in July 2016 about a barroom conversation he had two months earlier with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos, who was 28 years old at the time, reportedly told the diplomat, Alexander Downer, that he had been told that the Russian government had hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about some of his interactions with his source for the claim about the Russian hacks. It is still unclear if Papadopoulos attempted to access the emails or whether he told the Trump campaign about the stolen documents.
Grassley is questioning why Simpson or Levy did not correct the testimony even though the lawyer was given 14 hours in October and November to review a transcript of the interview.
“Given that sources close to your client are reportedly trying to correct the public record regarding his statements to the Committee about this purported source, the questions arises as to whether or when your client plans to correct the Committee’s record,” Grassley wrote.
“Neither you nor he has attempted to correct this alleged mischaracterization in his statements,” the Republican added.
Grassley wants Levy to explain when he and Fusion realized that Simpson’s statement was a mischaracterization and why they did not attempt to correct the official record.