5 Things to Know About Fusion GPS's Sordid Past
On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the transcript of Glenn Simpson's interview with congressional investigators last August. The investigation centered on the Trump-Russia dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and potentially used by the Obama administration to secure FISA surveillance on officials in the Donald Trump campaign.
Fusion GPS has a long sordid history of twisting the truth to attack political opponents, and Trump is merely the latest victim.
"They try and promote themselves as a sort of opposition research or strategic intelligence firm when really what Fusion GPS is, it's a company that sells itself to the highest bidder to bring together smear campaigns and to try and destroy honest, good people who are going against their clients," Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation, told Tucker Carlson on Fox News last July. Fusion GPS attacked Halvorssen, a whistleblower, on behalf of criminal Venezuelans.
Without further ado, here are five incidents that show Fusion GPS's penchant for twisting the truth and smearing people.
1. The Trump-Russia dossier.
The infamous dossier compiled by Christopher Steele documented alleged connections between then candidate Donald Trump and various Russian actors. Steele reportedly went to the FBI in order to report the connections, because he feared Trump could be blackmailed by Russians.
Last October, The Washington Free Beacon admitted to hiring Fusion GPS for anti-Trump opposition research during the 2016 Republican primary, but the outlet insisted that none of its research appeared in the Steele dossier. The dossier has become particularly infamous for allegations that Trump had Russian prostitutes perform grotesque sex acts for him. The Free Beacon's research did not have such allegations.
In April 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie, in representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), hired Fusion GPS to continue its research. At this point, the firm hired Steele.
Some aspects of the dossier have been verified, but Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen vehemently denied the allegation that he met with Russian officials while in Prague, producing his passport as evidence. Furthermore, Clinton and the DNC had an incentive to try to find dirt connecting Trump to Russia, perhaps to distract from Clinton's own connections with Russia in the Uranium One deal.
According to an FEC complaint, the Clinton campaign and the DNC hid their hiring of Fusion GPS by listing payments to Perkins Coie as being for "legal services" when they really went to opposition research. Why did the Clinton campaign go to this extra trouble to hide its connection to Fusion GPS?
One fascinating detail begs more questions, however. The Federalist's co-founder Sean Davis noted that The New York Times reported that Fusion GPS is still being paid to research Trump. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the firm refused to release its list of clients, and why Feinstein redacted large parts of the firm's testimony when she published it.