Collusion? Rep. Adam Schiff Met with Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson in Aspen Last July
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the new House Intelligence Committee chairman, is facing calls to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after photos emerged of him at an undisclosed meeting (colluding?) with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, a key figure in the Russia collusion scandal.
This comes as the Democrat-led committee is massively expanding the Russia probe to include Trump's business dealings.
The photos in question were taken at a prestigious Aspen security conference last July, The Hill's John Solomon reported. They show Schiff wearing a "sport coat and open-neck dress shirt, and Simpson wearing casual attire," according to Solomon, who has seen the pics.
Fusion GPS, which was hired on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump, has a long history of smearing Republicans for profit. In 2012, for instance, Barack Obama's presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as his donors, to literally create an enemies list.
During a November 14, 2017, closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence Committee, Simpson said Fusion GPS was originally hired in the fall of 2015 by the Free Beacon to take "an open-ended look at Donald Trump's business career and his litigation history and his relationships with questionable people, how much he was really worth, how he ran his casinos, what kind of performance he had in other lines of work."
Work for the Free Beacon ceased in spring 2016, he said. Fusion GPS was later hired by law firm Perkins Cole, which had been retained by the DNC. "We began to review what we had learned over the previous months and talk about what we would do, you know, now that we would have resources to pursue this - some of these matters further," Simpson said.
"Specific lines of inquiry" into the GOP presidential candidate "were a lot of Mr. Trump's overseas business deals, his history with regard to tax disputes" and labor practices with his clothing line.
Simpson hired former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the unverified anti-Trump dossier and went on to work closely with the FBI and DOJ official Bruce Ohr before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election. The Steele dossier was used by the FBI to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
After the FBI officially stopped using Steele as a confidential source (because he had leaked to the media), they used then-associate deputy attorney general Ohr as a backchannel to Steele.
As Solomon notes, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe at the time of his encounter with Schiff in Aspen.