Last week, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, the man who employed Christopher Steele to create the now infamous Steele Dossier on Trump, demanded that the closed-door testimony that Simpson gave to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the dossier be released to the public. Republicans balked, so ranking Democrat on the Committee California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, released the transcripts.
And they are pretty shocking, even at this point in the proceedings.
The British ex-spy who authored a dossier of allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was told the FBI had someone inside Trump’s network providing agents with information, according to a newly released transcript of a congressional interview.
Glenn R. Simpson, a founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, spoke to investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours in August. As the partisan fight over Russian interference in the 2016 election has intensified, Simpson has urged that his testimony be released, and a copy of the transcript was made public Tuesday.
It was released by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. That decision marks the most serious break yet in the cooperative relationship she has had with the Republican chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).
[Read the full transcript of Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony]
Fusion GPS was hired in mid-2016 by a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to dig into Trump’s background. Earlier that year, the firm had been probing Trump for a conservative website funded by a GOP donor, but that client stopped paying for the work after it became clear Trump would win the GOP nomination, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FBI had a mole in the Trump campaign, and we know that because the FBI said as much. The FBI said as much because Steele corroborated their inside person on the Trump campaign.
Steele first reached out to the FBI with his concerns in early July 2016, according to people familiar with the matter. When they re-interviewed him in early October, agents made it clear, according to Simpson’s testimony released Tuesday, that they believed some of what Steele had told them.
“My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris 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 said. Using the parlance of spies and law enforcement officials, Simpson said the FBI had a “human source from inside the Trump organization.” Simpson added that his understanding was the source was someone who had volunteered information to the FBI or, in his words, “someone like us who decided to pick up the phone and report something.”
Somebody who volunteered to the FBI that something bad was going on. This was the reason why the Trump campaign got caught up in FBI surveillance. I surmised as uch, Simpson all but said so last week and essentially said "I stand by my testimony, make it public." He did that because of course the GOP is demanding an investigation into Steele himself for lying to the FBI...only the transcript kills that dead when it was released.
Sen. Feinstein did just that, although parts are heavily redacted. Still, the transcript backs up Simpson's story. The FBI knew that parts of the Steele Dossier were credible because they had a person inside the Trump campaign saying the same thing.
So who was the whistleblower in the Trump campaign? We don't know. Yet. We may never know. But the GOP isn't standing still on this, they're fully going after the FBI and the media for daring to report on Dear Leader Trump.
Broadening their political counterattack in defense of the White House, President Donald Trump's allies in Congress are placing new scrutiny on contacts between top Justice Department officials and reporters covering the Trump-Russia investigation.
In recent weeks, GOP congressional investigators have publicly and privately questioned senior Justice Department and FBI leaders about interactions with reporters covering the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. The goal, according to a half-dozen lawmakers and aides, is to expose any concerted effort by law enforcement officials to spin an anti-Trump narrative in the media through unauthorized leaks.
"There are a number of other inappropriate communications that have transpired between the FBI/DOJ and media outlets that have not been disclosed," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top House conservative and member of the Oversight Committee.
On Thursday, Republicans demanded more information from the Justice Department officials about a meeting Andrew Weissman, a career federal prosecutor now on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team, held with reporters last April. In a Jan. 4 op-ed, Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be replaced, citing in part an "alarming number of FBI agents and DOJ officials sharing information with reporters."
Last month, House Republicans cast public suspicion on communication they say occurred in the fall of 2016 between former FBI general counsel James Baker and a Mother Jones reporter who wrote stories at the time about the FBI’s probe of Trump-Russia ties. The lawmakers cited Justice Department documents for the claim but have provided no further details.
Republicans have offered no evidence of wrongdoing and say they are merely seeking more information for now. Democrats call the focus on reporter contacts the latest front in a wide-ranging campaign by some GOP lawmakers to discredit the Russia probe as an anti-Trump conspiracy fueled by what Trump has characterized as a “deep state” determined to bring him down.
We now know why the GOP is so eager to attack the FBI now. Stay tuned.