A group of wealthy donors from New York and California have forked out $50 million to fund a Russia investigation being conducted by Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS and a former Senate staffer for Dianne Feinstein.
That bombshell revelation is made in a footnote to the House Intelligence Committee’s newly released report on Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
Fusion GPS hired Steele, a former MI6 agent, to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia. He would go on to produce a 35-page report alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funded the project. A law firm representing the organizations hired Fusion GPS in April 2016.
While the dossier project failed to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton win the presidency, Fusion GPS and Steele have continued their investigative work.
That’s according to statements from Daniel Jones, a former Feinstein staffer who runs the Penn Quarter Group (PQG), a Washington, D.C., consulting firm. (RELATED: Back Channel To Christopher Steele Reveals Details Of Senate Testimony)
The House report states that in March 2017, Jones told the FBI about a project he is working on with Steele and Fusion GPS that is being funded to the tune of $50 million by 7 to 10 wealthy donors from New York and California.
“In late March 2017, Jones met with FBI regarding PQG, which he described as ‘exposing foreign influence in Western election,'” reads the committee’s report.
“[Redacted] told FBI that PQG was being funded by 7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million.”
“[Redacted] further stated that PQG had secured the services of Steele, his associate [redacted], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election,” reads the report, which adds that Jones “planned to share the information he obtained with policymakers…and with the press.”
Jones “also offered to provide PQG’s entire holdings to the FBI,” the report says.
The report cites a transcript of an interview that Jones gave to the FBI. The transcript, known as an FD-302, is dated March 28, 2017.
The report confirms recent reporting about Jones’ work with Fusion and Steele. The Federalist first reported on Feb. 20 that evidence suggested Jones was working with Fusion.
Jones’ name first emerged in connection with the Russia probe in February after Fox News published a batch of text messages exchanged between Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Adam Waldman, a lawyer for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is under scrutiny in the Russia probe.
The texts show that Waldman was working as a backchannel between Steele and Warner. Waldman referred to Jones in two exchanges with Warner, who sought to meet with Steele separate from the rest of the Senate Intel panel.
According to text messages seen exclusively by TheDCNF, Jones first contacted Waldman on March 15, 2017, saying that he was with a non-profit group that had just been formed in Washington, D.C.
“Dan Jones here from the Democracy Integrity Project. Chris wanted us to connect,” Jones wrote, referring to Steele.
Waldman met with Jones on March 16, 2017.
During that meeting, Waldman says that Jones revealed that he was working with Fusion GPS. Jones also said that a “group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros” were funding the project with Fusion GPS, according to Waldman, who testified to the Senate Intelligence panel on Nov. 3.
It remains unclear how Waldman is connected to Steele, who is based in London. Waldman’s connection to the former British spy and to Deripaska has prompted questions from Republican lawmakers. Waldman has told TheDCNF that he cannot discuss his relationship to Steele.
According to Waldman, Jones also referred to Fusion GPS during their March 2017 meeting as a “shadow media organization helping the government.”
In one text message, Jones suggested to Waldman that his team helped place a report with Reuters about Trump’s real estate activities.
“Our team helped with this,” Jones wrote, linking to the March 17, 2017 Reuters article.
Jones sent Waldman several other news articles, including one from McClatchy alleging that the FBI was investigating whether Russian bots influence conservative media outlets like Breitbart and InfoWars.
The same McClatchy reporters who wrote that article also recently published a report alleging that special counsel Robert Mueller has been provided with evidence supporting the Steele dossier’s allegation that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague in Aug. 2016. Cohen has vehemently denied the allegation. The McClatchy report has not been corroborated. (RELATED: Here’s Why You Should Be Skeptical Of That Michael Cohen Story)
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