Yesterday, the founders of Fusion GPS, published an oped in The New York Times. Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch mainly defended their work against ludicrous Republican accusations about the so-called Steele Dossier. The key passage on this front is his claim – which I have no doubt is accurate – that far from triggering the Russia probe, the Steele Dossier only confirmed the “credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia [which] were pouring in from independent sources during the campaign.”
But there is a not terribly subtle but so far little discussed different message in the column. In every way possible Simpson and Fritsch say: we have a ton more. They refer to their 21 hours of testimony about their work before Congress. They note that it was a “yearlong effort to decipher Mr. Trump’s complex business past, of which the Steele dossier is but one chapter.” They tell Congress to “share what our company told [congressional] investigators.” They encourage Congress to “look into bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses.” They say they “found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump … had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering.” They claimed (quite plausibly) also to be “deeply familiar with the political operative Paul Manafort’s coziness with Moscow and his financial ties to Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.”
The message is pretty clear. ‘We found a lot more besides what’s found in the Steele Dossier. But you don’t seem very interested in all this other stuff.’ (It’s enough to make you think that taking repeated whacks at people who are sitting on a big heap of evidence about the President’s work with the Russian criminal underworld and money laundering may not have been the wisest idea.) These are not surprising allegations. We know them in their outlines – the role of Deutsche Bank, money laundering relationships with Russian oligarchs around Putin. But it seems (and it is not surprising) that Fusion GPS has or can direct investigators to much more.
The House GOP certainly won’t be interested. Democrats will be very interested. They’ll likely start demanding their GOP colleagues start looking into these other matters as well. They almost certainly won’t get anywhere. But what Simpson and Fritsch describe here in hints and allusions sounds like the roadmap for any investigative committees run by Democrats starting in 2019.
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