THREAD ON FUSION GPS. I spent the afternoon reading the transcript that Senator Feinstein released today. Here are the salient points, with citations. I am a lawyer and CEO. I was a securities fraud and human rights litigator in DC/NY for over 15 years. Read on for takeaways.
2/ As I process the Fusion GPS transcript, I'll post significant points here in individual tweets. For starters: NO, Fusion GPS doesn't do hatchet jobs to try to get government agencies to start investigations against people. (Tr. 25)
3/ As well, Fusion GPS knows WTF it's doing. The descriptions of the investigation in the Prevezon case are deep and powerful and detailed and serious, and they do not mess around. (Tr. 38-49)
4/ Other items of note from the Fusion GPS background: Fusion has a deep background in understanding Russian money laundering. The Prevezon case got the into investigations of Russian organized crime, Cypriot banking, and the tax system in Russia. Serious business. (Tr. 38-49)
5/ On the Fusion GPS retention on Trump: "it evolved somewhat quickly into issues of his relationships to organized crime figures . . ." (Tr. 61-62)
6/ Fusion GPS concluded early in their investigation that Trump has serious ties to Russian organized crime, including money in his companies from "Kazakhstan, among other places, and that some of it you just couldn't account for." (Tr. 67-70)
7/ Fusion GPS hired Steele as a part of "drilling down" on specific areas of concern about Trump's business dealings internationally, and Steele was not the only subcontractor hired. (Tr. 76-78)
8/ Asked about Christopher Steele as an investigator, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS described him as a "quality" investigator in high profile situations and "a boy scout." (Tr. 81-82)
9/ Fusion sent Steele into Russia with a broad assignment to look into Trump's dealings in Russia. And what they found was that "it wasn't a giant secret" that "Donald Trump had a relationship with the Kremlin." “People were talking about it freely.” (Tr. 87-88)
10/ Now would be a good time to ask yourself why it is that @ChuckGrassley and others didn't want this transcript released. But keep going.
11/ Christopher Steele was trained as the lead Russianist in MI6 to spot disinformation from Russian intelligence. So what he found was not bullshit. What he found was real. (Tr. 88-89)
12/ What is clear in the questioning of Simpson from the Republican side of the fence is that they they were trying to set up a claim that Rinat Akhmetshin, who was present at the Trump Tower June 2016 meeting was an agent of Fusion and thereby HRC. (Tr. 109-110)
13/ This is plainly an attempt to try to claim that any Trump/Russia interactions were a democratic set-up—one that Simpson shot down hard. (Tr. 109-110)
14/ Glenn Simpson had dinner with Vesilnitskaya in New York the night before the Trump Tower meeting. Fusion was doing work on the Prevezon case, and it was a client dinner with the lawyers, of whom Vesiltnitskaya was one. This shit just gets weirder and weirder. (Tr.130-131)
15/ Asked by the Republicans whether he believes the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 was an effort by the Russian government to make contact with the Trump campaign, Simpson responded "I think that's a reasonable interpretation." (Tr. 134-135)
15/ Fusion sent Steele into Russia to learn more about Trump's business dealings. What they found was "very different and obviously more alarming, which had to do with . . . a political conspiracy . . . the government of Russia or someone was doing some hacking. . ."(Tr. 133-134)
16/ "there were rumblings at that time about whether there had been lot of hacking and there was going to be -- political digital espionage was going to be a component of the campaign." (Tr. 133-134)
17/ And so they set out to determine if what they were learning was credible. (I mean, Jesus. If he isn't impeached after this, America is toast.)
18/ Fusion evaluated the credibility of the information they received that the Trump campaign may be involved in digital espionage to throw the election. Steele is credible. The methods described are consistent with Russian intelligence. Nothing appears to be false. (Tr. 148-150)
18/ The very first memo within the dossier discusses that Trump and his inner circle accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin. (Tr. 154-155)
19/ In response to a question about election interference, Simpson stated "If you're getting help from a foreign government and your help is intelligence, then the foreign government's interfering," and that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting is consistent with that. (Tr. 154-155)
20/ Only two memos in to the memos that make up the dossier, Fusion knew that what they were dealing with was a criminal attempt to influence the election, a conspiracy to violate campaign laws, and potentially the blackmailing of the @GOP candidate for President. (Tr. 158-160)
21/ "it's 26 July. So by this time Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been the subject of a very aggressive hacking campaign, weaponized hack, the likes of which, you know, have never really been seen." (Tr. 158)
22/ "We've seen hacking in politics before, but this kind of, you know, mass theft of e-mail and then to dump it all into, you know, the public sphere was extraordinary and it was criminal." (Tr. 158)
23/ "In [Steele's] mind this is already a criminal matter, there's already a potential national security matter here." (Tr. 159)
24/ "Chris said he was very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat and said he wanted to -- he said he thought we were obligated to tell someone in government, in our government about this information." (Tr. 159)
25/ "He thought from his perspective there was an issue -- a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed.” (Tr. 159)
26/ "From my perspective there was a law enforcement issue about whether there was an illegal conspiracy to violate the campaign laws, and then somewhere in this time the whole issue of hacking has also surfaced." (Tr. 159-160)
27/ So why did they go to the FBI? "[L]et's be clear, this was not considered by me to be part of the work that we were doing. This was -- to me this was like, you know, you're driving to work and you see something happen and you call 911, right.” (Tr. 164)
28/ 25/ It wasn't part of the -- it wasn't like we were trying to figure out who should do it. He said he was professionally obligated to do it. Like if you're a lawyer and, you know, you find out about a crime, in a lot of countries you must report that." (Tr. 164-165; 167-168)
29: "So it was like that. So I just said if that's your obligation, then you should fulfill your obligation." (Tr. 164-165; 167-168)
26/ What we can take from this is that the reporting of the dossier to the FBI was ETHICAL, HONEST, and NOT A HATCHET JOB. (Tr. 164-165; 167-168)
31/ (sorry for the screwy numbering of thread tweets, folks. this is a lot.)
32/ Simpson flagged how serious it got within the Fusion investigation when, post-reporting to the FBI, the hacking of the Democrats continued, the RNC platform as to Ukraine changed, and Trump continued to say bizarrely favorable things about Russia. (Tr. 169-170)
33/ And then Steele went to Rome, and met with the FBI, and gave them everything he had so far on Trump. Simpson says Steele's work was "really serious and really credible," and when he asked to go meet with the FBI and give them everything he had, Fusion said yes. (Tr. 171-172)
34/ And there is no question in the minds of Simpson or Steele that what they are dealing with is criminal espionage, a "crime in progress" by the Russians against the DNC and others. (Tr. 173)
35/ And then Simpson dropped a bomb: Steele went to Rome, gets debriefed by the FBI, and learns in the debriefing that the FBI, in September 2016, has a "voluntary" source inside the Trump campaign. (Tr. 175-176). READ THAT AGAIN.
36/ NOTE: that means this is not Papadopoulos. He was flipped when he lied to the FBI. This was also someone who was NOT also a source for Steele.
37/ @JamesComey sent the letter to the Hill concerning Hillary's emails after Fusion has reported espionage, election interference and the potential compromise of Trump to the FBI. (Tr. 178-179)
38/ Then the @nytimes reported that the FBI looked into Trump/Russia and found nothing. Simpson calls this cluster "a real Halloween special." (Tr. 178-179)
39/ And as a result, Steele stopped cooperating with the FBI. (Tr. 178-179)
40/ The FBI considered paying Steele to continue his work after the election, but did not. So all of this work by Steele was not on behalf of any US intelligence agency. (Tr. 214)
41/ And again, it's worth noting that this was not a hatchet job. No compensation to Fusion was conditioned on the FBI starting an investigation into Trump/Russia. (Tr. 217)
42/ After the election, Fusion was "obviously . . . as surprised as everyone else and Chris and I were mutually concerned about whether the United States had just elected someone who was compromised by a hostile foreign power . . ." (Tr. 219).
43/ " . . . more in my case whether the election had been tainted by an intervention by the Russian intelligence services, and we were, you know, unsure what to do.” (Tr. 219).
44/ They went to John McCain in the hope that McCain would share it with the highest levels of the FBI. (Tr. 219-221)
45/ And then there is this explosive bit: Steele and Simpson weren't sure that @Comey EVEN KNEW ABOUT THE ALLEGATIONS. Which would explain a lot. An awful lot. (Tr. 220-221)
46/ Just so there's no mistake about it, Simpson stated: "I was aware at the time (mid-2016) that the Russian mafia and Russian cyber crime was a subcontractor to the Russian intelligence services." (Tr. 233)
47/ Disinformation was a part of Steele's business training at MI6. He did not believe anything given to him that became a part of the dossier was disinformation. (Tr. 239)
48/ Carter Page lost money with the Russians, was really mad about sanctions, and apparently had been an espionage suspect under investigation by the FBI FOR YEARS preceding the election. Jesus. (Tr. 240-242)
49/ And add to that: Fusion had reason to believe that Page had been offered business deals in exchange for being compromised. (Tr. 240-242)
50/ Simpson was a solid witness generally. Asked about claims by SHS that the dossier was phony and Fusion took money from the Russians, he gave a scathing defense of his work and the work of Steele, concluding with he dossier "is not a fabrication." (Tr. 256-257)
51/ And then the really crazy stuff came out. Simpson was handed Manafort's contemporaneous notes from the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians. (Tr. 261-264)
52/ In those notes is a reference to a Cypriot holding company to engage in inward investment into Russia, the note "active sponsors of the RNC," Dick Cheney's press secretary, and finally, adoptions. (Tr. 261-264)
53/ But Cypriot holding companies, and "active sponsors of the RNC?" WTAF. There is something so deep and so corrupt here in the @GOP I'm nearly speechless. (Tr. 261-264)
54/ Fusion's conclusions were not influenced by the person paying them for their Trump research. (But Simpson did conclude on a personal level that Trump was unqualified for the job.) (Tr. 290-293)
55/ Fusion concluded that Trump had a long history of engagement in illegal activity with organized crime. (Tr. 293-294)
56/ More evidence of how good Simpson is as a witness. Asked about Fusion's investigations into the Trump Org in NYC, he denies direct criminal evidence of DJT the person being involved in crimes. The Trump Org of whom, of course, DJT is the head, is in deep. (Tr. 295-298)
57/ 49/ This is careful, careful testimony by this witness to preserve his credibility while still making his point, though Fox News will leap all over this as proof that DJT is not a criminal. The prior 295 pages of this transcript prove otherwise. (Tr. 295-298)
58/ Trump's golf courses are broke. (Tr. 299-300)
59/ And lastly, just in case you thought this wasn't as serious as it gets, one of Fusion GPS's sources has already been murdered by the Russians. (Tr. 279)
60/ Ok, people, that’s it. It's a bombshell of a day in America. And if Trump isn’t impeached after this, along with complicit members of the @GOP who have known this and tried to discredit Fusion and Steele and this dossier, there is no hope for our democracy. Period.
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