Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Browder Testimony: Fusion GPS, Firm Behind Trump Dossier and Planned Parenthood, Served Putin's Corruption

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, financier Bill Browder is expected to uncover another shocking revelation about Fusion GPS, the left-wing firm responsible for both the Trump-Russia dossier and the misleading defense of Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress sting videos. According to Browder's prepared remarks submitted to the committee ahead of his testimony, the firm spread vicious lies about Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was imprisoned and killed for exposing corruption in Putin's regime.

Browder's testimony will dwell on the Russian government's attempts to repeal a law passed in retaliation for abuses against Magnitsky, the Magnitsky Act. Russian attempts to repeal the law reached a fever pitch last year in Washington, and Browder will allege that the actors involved in this effort did not disclose their roles as agents for foreign interests, thus violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. One of the notorious players in this game was none other than Fusion GPS.

Before addressing Fusion GPS, Browder will detail Magnitsky's story. The financier — founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, one of the largest investment advisers in Russia — will explain that in 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin first took power, he had to rein in the oligarchs. At first, Browder and Putin had the same enemies, so exposing corruption helped Putin.

In 2003, that all changed, and by 2005, Putin was targeting Browder. The financier hired Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to investigate raids against his offices. Magnitsky uncovered astounding examples of identity theft and government corruption. For these discoveries, the lawyer was captured by Russian authorities and imprisoned.

Magnitsky was treated horribly and kept an official record of abuses against him by filing official complaints. He died on November 16, 2009, leaving behind a wife and two children. "Sergei Magnitsky was murdered as my proxy. If Sergei had not been my lawyer, he would still be alive today," Browder's testimony declares. So he pledged to "seek justice and create consequences for the people who murdered him."

Browder's efforts led to the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which froze assets and banned visas for those who killed Magnitsky, as well as for other Russians involved in human rights abuses. The bill passed the House (364 to 43) and the Senate (92 to 4) in November 2012 and was signed by President Obama in December that year.

Putin retaliated in the worst way possible. He banned the adoption of Russian orphans by American families. This was particularly horrible, Browder will argue, because Russia did not allow the adoption of healthy kids, only sick ones. American families adopted children with HIV, Down syndrome, and other ailments.