John Podesta Set Up Fundraising Meetings For Fusion GPS After Trump’s Election Victory

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was one of Fusion GPS’s “most helpful” resources in an effort to raise money after the 2016 election to continue investigating President Donald Trump, the co-founders of the opposition research firm revealed in a book released on Nov. 26.

Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the co-founders of Fusion GPS, wrote in “Crime in Progress” that Podesta provided welcome support in early 2017 for an effort to raise money to fund The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), a nonprofit group former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel Jones created on Jan. 31, 2017.

Podesta agreed during a meeting with Simpson in early 2017 to contact potential donors to help arrange meetings with Fusion GPS and Jones, according to the book.

“In mid-February [2017] and then again in early March, Jones — supported by Fritsch and Simpson — took prospecting trips in the West. They didn’t know the tech community well, so before heading out, they sought some door openers and validators from the world they knew best,” the authors wrote. (RELATED: Firms Tied To Fusion GPS, Steele Were Paid $3.8 Million By Soros-Backed Group)

“One of the most helpful” resources turned out to be Podesta, according to Simpson and Fritsch.

“Podesta agreed to contact some friends out west on Jones’s behalf and told him to drop his name in talks with other potential supporters,” they said. “It was a brave gesture: He could have easily chosen to stay out of it altogether, given the fact that he had served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.”

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson on Capitol Hill on Oct. 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The Fusion GPS book provides the most detailed account to date of the Simpson-Podesta meeting, which The New York Times first reported on Nov. 10, 2017. The book also raises questions about what Podesta knew of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign funding the dossier.

Podesta reportedly told the Senate Intelligence Committee in October 2017 that he did not know who paid Fusion GPS to investigate Trump. Days after Podesta’s interview, news outlets reported that Perkins Coie, the law firm for the Clinton campaign and DNC, was the Fusion GPS client. Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie partner who hired Fusion, represented Podesta in the Senate interview.

Simpson met with Jones just after Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 and briefed him on Fusion’s work during the campaign, according to Simpson and Fritsch. Jones eagerly agreed to continue the investigation and formed TDIP on Jan. 31, 2017.

Jones told the FBI in March 2017 about his partnership with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, a former British spy who wrote the anti-Trump dossier. Jones said the consortium had secured $50 million in funding from between seven and 10 wealthy donors in California and New York, according to a summary of his FBI interview.

Jones told the FBI that the group planned to provide information to lawmakers, government investigators and the media.

Simpson and Fritsch do not identify TDIP’s donors in the book, but a spokesman for George Soros told The NYT in 2018 that the billionaire financier gave $1 million to TDIP in 2017. A nonprofit group called Fund for a Better Future contributed about $2.1 million to TDIP.

TDIP paid more than $3.3 million to Fusion GPS and more than $250,000 to Steele in 2017, according to the group’s tax returns.

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