Details are finally beginning to trickle out about Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s closed-door interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. In short, according to sources, Simpson not only refused to answer “basic questions,” the documents he provided were so useless that a source described them as “disrespectful of congressional investigators.”
The committee, chaired by Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, has been seeking information regarding the anti-Trump dossier, which began as an opposition research project by Fusion GPS, Simpson’s shady left-wing research firm.
Separately, the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the FBI and Justice Department for documents related to the “dodgy dossier” and its author, Christopher Steele. Fox News’ chief intelligence reporter, Catherine Herridge, is reporting that both FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be required to appear before the committee if the documents are not provided.
According to Fox News:
The former journalist who commissioned the unverified anti-Trump dossier repeatedly refused to answer basic questions about his client – including how much his firm Fusion GPS was paid and whether he knew the sources behind the dossier’s sensational allegations – according to a source familiar with Glenn Simpson’s closed-door interview last month with Senate Judiciary Committee staffers.
The source, on the condition of anonymity, said Fusion co-founder Simpson and his lawyer Josh Levy provided thousands of records to the committee, but most were blank or press clippings.
The documents were described to Fox News as “useless” and “disrespectful” of congressional investigators.
The source said Simpson’s team also wanted an assurance the transcript would be kept “confidential,” and only made public after they reviewed it for accuracy and redactions were made. This appears to conflict with a statement from Simpson’s team to MSNBC on the evening of Aug. 23, after the questioning was complete, saying, “The committee can release the transcript, if it so chooses.”
A separate statement to Fox News on Aug. 22 from Fusion representative Tracy Schmaler – who ran the Obama Justice Department media office and was a special adviser to then-Attorney General Eric Holder – also claimed Simpson was transparent: “Mr. Simpson told Congress the truth and cleared the record on many matters of interest to congressional investigators. He also kept the identities of Fusion GPS’ clients confidential…Fusion GPS honors that commitment without exception – just as law firms and businesses do all over the country.”
Tracy Schmaler, you may recall, was the DOJ flack who used to yell at then CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson over the phone when she called the Justice Department press office for information when she was covering the Fast and Furious scandal back in 2011.
In September of 2012, The Daily Caller obtained internal Department of Justice emails that showed Holder’s communications staff — including Schmaler — collaborating with the left-wing advocacy group Media Matters for America in an attempt to quell negative news stories involving the attorney general and the scandal-plagued DOJ.
Dozens of pages of emails between DOJ Office of Public Affairs Director Tracy Schmaler and Media Matters staffers show Schmaler, Holder’s top press defender, working with Media Matters to attack reporters covering DOJ scandals. TheDC obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Emails sent in September and November 2010 show Schmaler working with Media Matters staffer Jeremy Holden on attacking news coverage of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation scandal.
Holden attacked former DOJ Civil Rights Division attorneys J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky on Sept. 20, 2010 for what he called an attempt “to reignite the phony New Black Panther Party scandal.”
Schmaler has gone from defending the Holder DOJ’s “botched” gunwalking program “Fast and Furious” to defending the deep state’s “Dodgey Dossier.”
In a statement on August 22, she blasted the Senate investigation, calling it a “desperate attempt by the Trump campaign and its allies to smear Fusion GPS because of its reported connection to the Trump dossier.”
She noted that “a special counsel and three congressional committees are investigating ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign” today in defending the firm’s work. “Fusion GPS is proud of the work it has conducted and stands by it,” she said.
She also said, “The Committee has a transcript of the interview. We are not permitted to have a copy. The Committee has the right to disclose the transcript, if it wishes to do so.”
As Herridge notes, Fusion GPS was also allegedly involved with “Russian efforts to repeal the Magnitsky Act, U.S. legislation that leveled sanctions on senior Russian officials blamed for the death of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky.”
Bill Browder, who testified publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July, filed a complaint in July 2016 with the Justice Department against Simpson and Fusion GPS for its work with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskya, who famously met in June 2016 with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign figures at Trump Tower. A Justice Department spokesman would not comment on the status of the Browder complaint, or whether an inquiry was opened.
Not surprisingly, Simpson’s legal and media team did not respond to Herridge’s questions about his testimony, or even acknowledge receiving the questions.