Report: FBI Collaborated with Dem Oppo Research Firm to Smear Trump
The D.C. firm that commissioned the Russia intelligence dossier smearing President Donald Trump is refusing to answer questions and provide records to the Senate panel investigating its connections to the Democratic Party, according to the New York Post's Paul Sperry. The so-called "dodgy dossier" helped spark the Russia scandal that has been bedeviling Trump since the election. Astonishingly, the FBI became involved with the dossier last summer, even though it knew the salacious report lacked credibility -- and now it is also stonewalling the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Fusion GPS calls itself a “research and strategic intelligence firm” but is well known in Washington to be an opposition-research group for Democrats. According to Sperry, the firm's founders are "more political activists than journalists" and have "a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda."
“These weren’t mercenaries or hired guns,” a congressional source familiar with the dossier probe said. “These guys had a vested personal and ideological interest in smearing Trump and boosting Hillary’s chances of winning the White House.”
Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democrat ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.
More, federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign.
In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.
Property records show that in June 2016, as Clinton allies bankrolled Fusion GPS, Fritsch bought a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Bethesda, Md., for $2.3 million.
Fritsch did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Fusion GPS said the firm’s work is confidential.
Sources say Fusion GPS had its own interest, beyond those of its clients, in promulgating negative gossip about Trump.
Fritsch, who served as the Journal’s bureau chief in Mexico City and has lectured at the liberal Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, married into a family with Mexican business interests. His wife, Beatriz Garcia, formerly worked as an executive at Grupo Dina, a manufacturer of trucks and buses in Mexico City that benefits from NAFTA, which Trump opposes.
Fritsch’s Fusion GPS partner Thomas Catan, who grew up in Britain, once edited a business magazine in Mexico, moreover. A third founding partner, Glenn Simpson, is reported to have shared dark views of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. Before joining Fusion GPS, Simpson did opposition research for a former Clinton White House operative.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is also looking into the FBI's involvement with the anti-Trump dossier and Christopher Steele, the former spy who was hired by Fusion GPS to create a Russia file on Trump.
The FBI received a copy of the Democrat-funded dossier in August, during the heat of the campaign, and is said to have contracted in October to pay Steele $50,000 to help corroborate the dirt on Trump — a relationship that “raises substantial questions about the independence” of the bureau in investigating Trump, warned Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Senate investigators are demanding to see records of communications between Fusion GPS and the FBI and the Justice Department, including any contacts with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, now under congressional investigation for possibly obstructing the Hillary Clinton email probe, and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, who is under investigation by the Senate and the Justice inspector general for failing to recuse himself despite financial and political connections to the Clinton campaign through his Democrat activist wife.
According to Sperry, Senate investigators say McCabe is the FBI official who negotiated with Steele.
Steele contracted with Fusion GPS to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia starting in June 2016, whereupon he outlandishly claimed that Hillary campaign hackers were “paid by both Trump’s team and the Kremlin” and that the operation was run out of Putin’s office. He also fed Fusion GPS and its Hillary-allied clients incredulous gossip about Trump hating the Obamas so much that he hired hookers to urinate on a bed they slept in at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton, and that Russian intelligence recorded the pee party in case they needed to blackmail Trump.
Never mind that none of the rumors were backed by evidence or even credible sourcing (don’t bother trying to confirm his bed-wetting yarn, Steele advised, as “all direct witnesses have been silenced”). Steele reinforced his paying customers’ worst fears about Trump, and they rewarded him for it with a whopping $250,000 in payments.
But it’s now clear his “intelligence reports,” which together run more than 35-pages long, were for the most part worthless. And the clients who paid Fusion GPS (which claims to go “beyond standard due diligence”) for them got taken to the cleaners.
Bizarrely, the CIA gave the shoddy, uncorroborated report credence and it wound up in the White House, where then-President Obama was briefed on it. The FBI also used the dossier for investigative leads on Carter Page, who has been eager to testify before Congress so he can clear his name. Yet former FBI Director James Comey admitted under oath earlier this month that the dossier is “salacious and unverified.”
And of course, Democratic leaders in Congress keep referring to it to cook up more charges against Trump, while liberal media continue to use it as a road map to find “scoops” on Trump in the “Russiagate” conspiracy they’re peddling — still hoping against hope that the central thrust of the report — that Trump entered into an unholy alliance with the Russian government during the election — will one day prove true and bring about the downfall of his presidency.
On Fox and Friends Sunday, Sperry said the new developments on the case "do not bode well for Democrats."
"Not only is the Senate now investigating officially the Obama administration [Loretta Lynch] for obstruction of justice, but they're also investigating the origins of this discredited dossier that Democrats used to launch their witch hunt against Trump on Russia," Sperry said. "And that witch hunt could backfire on them now if this really heats up...with subpoenas, hearings, and also possibly a criminal investigation down the road."
Asked why he thinks the media has been ignoring these latest developments, Sperry answered that "they're part of the witch hunt" and "a lot of them are Democrat mouth pieces."
He said the Senate Judiciary Committee is eager to find out if the FBI collaborated with Fusion GPS on the dossier.
The dossier is "riddled with errors in fact and questionable sourcing" and "was a Democrat operation from top to bottom," Sperry told the Fox and Friends hosts.
He said the committee's next move will likely be to start issuing subpoenas.
"We've got to get to the bottom of this because when you combine Loretta Lynch and ... allegations against her of obstruction of justice in the Hillary investigation, and this whole thing is really starting to smell rotten," Sperry concluded.
President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that the investigations into Russian meddling should focus on the Obama administration -- not him.
"Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T," the president wrote on Twitter. "Obama Administration official said they 'choked' when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn't want to hurt Hillary?"
It looks like a shift in focus may be beginning to take place.