Fusion GPS founders: The Steele Dossier is a lot more important than you may think

The founders of the research firm Fusion GPS discuss why they hired Christopher Steele and what he discovered

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 3, 2018 9:14AM (EST)
Donald Trump; Vladimir Putin (Getty/Mikhail Klimentyev)
Donald Trump; Vladimir Putin (Getty/Mikhail Klimentyev)

The former journalists who founded the research firm Fusion GPS — which hired British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to investigate potential collusion between Donald Trump and the Russian government — are defending their work against Republican attacks.

"Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators," explained Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch in an op-ed in The New York Times.

After describing how Trump, congressional Republicans and conservative media outlets had all tried to discredit their work, Simpson and Fritsch pointed out that "our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau [FBI] had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp."

They added, "The intelligence committees have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources during the campaign. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation."

Simpson and Fritsch also wrote that Congress has been unwilling to look into Trump's records with Deutsche Bank and other entities that were funding his businesses and that they were likewise disinterested in investigating "widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering."

They also pointed out that when they hired Christopher Steele, the author of the Steele Dossier, they did so without telling him who they were working for or giving any specific "marching orders." When Steele discovered an extensive effort by the Russian government to elect Trump to the presidency, he reported the crime to the FBI.

The dossier, which is being closely investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller III, has been the repeated target of Republicans who wish to discredit it and thereby protect Trump.

But a recent report by The New York Times has debunked at least one of the GOP claims against the dossier — namely, that it was put together as part of a Democratic scheme to thwart Trump. It has since been revealed that the FBI learned about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia through Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who drunkenly discussed Russia stealing Hillary Clinton campaign emails to help elect Trump, with an Australian diplomat in London.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Steele Dossier Trump Russia Scandal