Chuck Ross, DCNF
- Congressional investigators are taking a new look at Glenn Simpson’s testimony
- Simpson founded Fusion GPS and testified “a human source from inside the Trump organization” provided information to the FBI
- Sources close to Fusion GPS backpedaled from Simpson’s statement
Congressional investigators are taking a fresh look at testimony provided in 2017 by Glenn Simpson, the founder of the opposition firm that commissioned the Steele dossier.
In particular, investigators are looking at Simpson’s claim in an Aug. 22 interview that he had learned from dossier author Christopher Steele that the FBI had corroborated parts of the dossier with information from a source within President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Simpson, who runs Fusion GPS, told the panel that “a human source from inside the Trump organization” had provided information to the FBI that backed up some of the dossier. The person was “someone like us who decided to pick up the phone and report something,” he said.
Sources close to Fusion GPS quickly backpedaled from Simpson’s statement when a transcript of his testimony was released in January.
The sources told news outlets Simpson was mistaken. There was no mole inside the Trump campaign. Instead, he was referring to George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser whose encounter with an Australian diplomat in May 2016 was reportedly the catalyst for the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation. The diplomat, Alexander Downer, reportedly claimed that Papadopoulos discussed Russian dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Senate Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee are looking again at Simpson’s claims and questioning whether he was actually telling the truth during his testimony last summer.
One indication that Simpson’s initial testimony was accurate is a letter his lawyer sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, shortly after the release of Simpson’s interview transcript.
“Mr. Simpson stands by his testimony,” Joshua Levy, the lawyer for Fusion, wrote to the committee on Jan. 18. The lawyer had been asked in a Jan. 11 letterwhether Simpson’s testimony about the secret source was a mischaracterization, as news reports claimed.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is also revisiting the Simpson testimony.
“Glenn Simpson said that in what was closed testimony. Then it became public. Now he’s confirmed that he was telling Congress the truth, which is probably a good idea,” California Rep. Devin Nunes said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday. “We believe he was telling the truth. And what we’re trying to do is get the documents to figure out — did they actually have, what methods were used to open this counter intelligence investigation?”
“I think if the campaign was somehow set up, I think that would be a problem. Right? If they were somehow meetings that occurred and all of this was a setup,” Nunes, a Republican, added. “Because we have yet to see any credible evidence or intelligence that led to the opening of this investigation.”
Andrew McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, wrote Saturday in National Review that he now believes Simpson’s initial testimony was not a mistake. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, thinks Simpson realized the significance of his statement and walked it back after the testimony was released.
McCarthy noted the heated battle between the House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department over documents related to a top-secret FBI and CIA source whose existence was revealed on May 8. The source, who is American, has provided information about the Trump campaign to the special counsel’s office, The Washington Post reported.
The DOJ is resisting efforts to provide information about the source, saying that doing so would endanger their life.
Levy did not respond to a request for comment.
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