The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with a Russian lawyer before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.
The opposition research firm has faced renewed scrutiny after litigation revealed that the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for that research. Congressional Republicans have since questioned whether that politically financed research contributed to the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – making Fusion’s 2016 contacts with Russian interests all the more relevant.
The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya occurred during a critical period. At that time, Fox News has learned that bank records show Fusion GPS was paid by a law firm for work on behalf of a Kremlin-linked oligarch while paying a former British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump through his Russian contacts.
But hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a confidential source told Fox News. Court records reviewed by Fox News, email correspondence and published reports corroborate the pair’s presence together. The source told Fox News they also were together after the Trump Tower meeting.
Simpson’s presence with Veselnitskaya during this critical week in June — together with revelations about Fusion’s simultaneous financial ties to the DNC, Clinton campaign and Russian interests — raise new questions about the company’s role in the 2016 election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the Trump Tower meeting as part of his probe of Russian interference in last year’s election.
Simpson and Fusion GPS were hired by BakerHostetler, which represented Russian firm Prevezon through Veselnitskaya.
Veselnitskaya has said she sought the Trump Tower meeting in order to lobby the candidate’s team against Russian sanctions, but the initial approach included an offer of compromising information on candidate Clinton.
Lawyers representing Fusion and Veselnitskaya did not respond to requests for comment lodged on Friday.
Senate Judiciary Committee investigators interviewed Simpson for more than 10 hours on Aug. 22. A spokesman for the committee had no comment on whether Simpson confirmed his contact with Veselnitskaya during the closed-door session.
The DNC and Clinton campaign hired Fusion in April 2016 through lawyer Marc Elias, who was general counsel for the Clinton campaign. Fusion, in turn, paid Steele $168,000 for the dossier, memos from which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.
Fusion officials said last week Steele’s money came from $1.02 million it received in fees and expenses from Elias’ law firm Perkins Coie. Prior to contracting with the DNC, Fusion had been conducting research into Trump and other Republican candidates on behalf of the conservative website The Washington Free Beacon.
NBC News first reported that Veselnitskaya and Simpson were both at a hearing centered around another Fusion client, Russian oligarch Denis Katsyv. His company, Prevezon Holdings, was sanctioned against doing business in the U.S. for its alleged role in laundering more than $230 million. Fox News obtained audio records from that hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The wrongdoing had been uncovered by Russian lawyer and whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who was beaten to death in a Russian prison in 2009 after being arrested for probing Prevezon and other companies with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
I don’t think this is turning out like the liberals wanted.
They may shed light on Fusion GPS’s information gathering process. As in, They may have been collecting information from inside sources that were very close to the events in question. I’m not so sure team Trump will be celebrating this revelation.
@Greg: More likely, they were coordinating with the Russians they were colluding with and paying to create the image of Trump’s team’s collusion. See, there is a vast difference between the character of the two meetings. The Fusion meeting was funded by Hillary and sandwiched the Trump, Jr. meeting. The Trump, Jr. meeting saw no money change hands and was quickly terminated.
Or, are you implying that Hillary was using Russian agents to infiltrate the Trump campaign and report back to her? Doesn’t that sound a little collusiony?
It is pretty clear who the dirty dogs are here, Greg. Sorry, you lose again.
The dossier was fact-checked-to-death after it became public.
Like Donald Trump’s germ phobia would make him enjoy being pee’ed on impossible.
But BEFORE it was fact checked uninformed judges allowed it to become the basis for wiretapping Trump Tower including the family and all the campaigners, on and off the payroll.
The sit-down with a potential oppo source us perfectly legal but was twisted into collusion by a two-faced media.
What is most interesting, however, is that nothing was dredged up by all the illegal FISA taps.
Had anything been found, Hillary would have destroyed Trump before Election Day.
Nothing was so she couldn’t.
Ahh my dear Watson the plot is beging to thicken and looking more and more like a major crime
Republicans are about to make a public display calling for Robert Mueller to resign
As if he cares what they think. He won’t resign. He’s focused on the investigative task he was given like a cruise missile. He’s not going to be pulled off target by some bullshit distraction that came out of a hack political writer’s book of smears.
You know what the FBI is supposed to be, and the kind of person who’s supposed to be there? That’s Mueller. He’s the real deal. He’s a highly competent public servant who takes the law and the oaths he’s taken very seriously. He’s the anti-Trump, and not in any partisan political sense. He’s an honorable man. That’s more than can be said for the weasels who would like to stop him.
It’s not Comey, someone who knuckled under Lynch when she told him what he could and couldn’t do that the DNC would find satisfactory? Mueller isn’t showing to be much different.
Of course, nobody wants to wake up dead, suffering death by Clinton.