During his testimony before Congress in August, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson said that the FBI had a source inside the Trump campaign who gave credence to the infamous dossier the company created for the Democrats.
He repeated the claim in a New York Times op-ed on January 2.
But today, Fusion GPS is retracting that statement, saying that Simpson “mischaracterized” the source.
Then suddenly, as quick as the headlines went up, some one close to Fusion was waving off reporters. Mr. Simpsonhad “mischaracterized” the source. It was not some one on the Trump inside, but apparently an Australian diplomat
He was featured in a Dec. 30 New York Times story as the source who tipped off the FBI. Campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos told him over drinks that a Russian-linked professor knew of “thousands” of Hillary Clinton emails in the hands of Moscow.
How Mr. Simpson knew of the diplomat last August was unclear. He would have known of him in January when he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he again told of an insider source.
“As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp,” he wrote.
Moments after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, unilaterally released the transcript, the inside-source story spread, especially in London. The city is home base of Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy who wrote the dossier.
In his testimony, Mr. Simpson told of Mr. Steele’s meeting with FBI agents in Rome in September 2016. Mr. Steele told Mother Jones magazine he was trying to jump-start an investigation into President Trump.
Mr. Simpson testified, “Essentially what he told me was they had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source and that — that they — my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.”
Simpson did not “mischaracterize” anything in his testimony or his Times op-ed. He stated flatly that the FBI told him they thought the information in the dossier was credible because they had a source in the Trump campaign.
It’s impossible to overstate the damage done by Simpson’s lies. They can “retract” anything they want, but the fact that they didn’t do it for two weeks after the Times op-ed appeared and several days after the actual testimony was leaked by Feinstein shows that their narrative about the dossier is unraveling. The media made a huge deal of the FBI source who, they say, validated what was in the dossier. Now we know there was no FBI source at all — just an Australian diplomat who spoke to a drunk Trump operative.
Needless to say, Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley was not pleased with the retraction:
The story corrections correction caught the eye of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, who on Thursday sent off a letter to Fusion attorney Joshua Levy. Mr. Grassley demanded to know why Mr. Levy did not correct the record after spending hours reviewing the transcript in October and November or contact the committee last Tuesday.” If it is true that your client’s statement to the Committee was a mischaracterization, why did you not attempt to correct your client’s statement as soon as you and/or he realized it was not accurate?” the senator wrote. Mr. Levy did not return a message seeking comment.
I don’t think this was a question of mischaracterization. You were either told the FBI had a source in the Trump campaign or you weren’t. Simpson said there was, but was obviously not told that, making his statement a lie under oath.
Grassley may be mad enough to look for a perjury vote. But the damage has been done. Those who wished to advance the collusion narrative got their ammunition while the truth was still putting on its boots.