No matter how this thread turns out, just remember: it was better than reading that maddening tome from end to end.
Grab a beverage... and off we go.
Light pinching is okay. Open-handed smacking is frowned upon...
...and, oh, there will be typos.
In other words, it was a dog fight between Chuck's peeps and Dianne peeps.
Spoiler: it didn't go well for Team Chuck.
Their opening salvo was to suggest Fusion GPS (FGPS hereafter) might actually have been paid to spark an investigation.
Endless questions paraphrased to be "Who's paying you? Are you paid to just stir sh** up? Do you just leak stuff?"
Simpson testified that he first started get a whiff something was up long before the dossier was even a thing because he knew Trump was covering up shady ties...
Babyfingers had some shady money trails... and a lot of them started in the area around a certain country that rhymes with "Trussia".
For a guy who claims his business are worth a lot, they don't look that way when it's time to pay taxes...
...but we knew this.
People objected to questions. There were breaks and adjournments.
Sidebars were had in sotto voce - which is Italian for "so you can't hear us".
Fusion GPS is not political nor are they paid for dirt.
They are researchers. They are paid to find truth.
This frustrated Team Chuck immensely.
They succeeded only in making him seem like an ordinary, straight-shooting guy.
FGPS hired him in May of 2016 with an open ask: find out what you can about Trump.
Not "dig up dirt"... instead "see what you can learn about him".
If he wasn't doing observable business, why was he going?
They just wanted to see what they could find on the guy with mob ties with a penchant for overnights in Moscow.
Team Dianne would make progress and then Team Chuck would jump in and spend an hour trying to impugn FGPS... only to get answers like this one about Steele.
...and here's a sirloin.
When Steele started asking about Trump (in June 2016) no one was even thinking about Trump-Russia... and Russia's interference efforts weren't even a secret.
"The information was just sitting out there."
Steele didn't even have to dig for it. He made some calls. Everybody knew. People just talked to him about it.
Russian election interference was NOT A SECRET IN RUSSIA... until it became news.
In the world of intel, the guy is an honest broker.
Team Chuck was made quite sad by this, I suspect.
FGPS and Steele's reputations were utterly undented by ten hours of testimony.
e.g. he was a journalist most of his career. Wrote for the WSJ at one pt... and even wrote a piece that caused McCain a little embarssment (we'll come back to this)
If the purpose of Team Chuck's attacks were to make him look like an operative, they failed spectacularly.
Another tasty nugget came out about midway through.
Christopher Steele didn't deliver the dossier to the FBI. He became so concerned after the very first memo, he called the FBI immediately... and reached out to them.
(they're talking about the 2nd memo here)
He was worried Trump might be being blackmailed.
He wasn't trying to nail Trump. He thought Trump was the potential victim.
Why did a Brit and an American feel compelled to go to law enforcement?
It was their moral duty as people to report a crime they were witnessing.
These weren't guys digging for dirt. It was an intel guy and an ex-journalist digging for truth.
They weren't trying to sink Trump. They didn't think that was even possible.
Now, this is a tad interesting. Look at the word choice here.
There was some later back and forth about what that meant... and the net is that Simpson doesn't know whether the person who picked up the phone and called the FBI (as he described it) was part of the campaign or part of TRUMP'S COMPANY.
We don't know what the FBI knew or from whom... but we know someone else either wittingly or unwittingly put info in the FBIs hands before the dossier.
...and that doesn't sound like the Australian Ambassador.
...and suddenly they wondered if they had run into the arms of another corrupted party.
...and then the NY Times ran a story sourcing the FBI claiming they had seen no links btwn Trump and Russia... which FGPS knew to be false.
(more on the NYT later)
So, the guy Team Chuck tried to paint as a dirty operative trying to seed disinformation wasn't sure he could trust the FBI!
I've saved you the torture of even hearing about them.
...and there sits Glenn Simpson, a man appearing voluntarily despite his worries about how all of this further endangers the people around him.
A key theme: which one of you eyewitnesses had the audacity to tell people you had seen a murder?
FGPS and Steele had begun briefing media outlets by late September...
...including the NY Times...
The same NY Times that then ran a 10/31 story clearing Trump
The New York Times had begun to receive off-the-record briefings on the smoke that leads to a massive criminal fire by September... and they wrote a piece essentially exonerating Trump anyway.
They had witnessed the crime of the century.
By then, FGPS and their work were known. McCain had heard about them... and he reached out.
John McCain sought out FGPS because he wanted to hear what they knew so he could inquire at the FBI.
Still, even after the loss of faith in the FBI, they only wanted one thing:
For the government to do its job.
...and no matter how many times those questions were asked and answered, they couldn't process that the simple answer is the right one.
Instead, if you've read this far, stay with me... because I'm about to get all philosophical and sh**.
It was an agonizing tour of the descent of the Republican Party into something that isn't even partisan... that isn't self-serving.
It's political sociopathy.
We lionize ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances with difficult choices to make at great personal risk and cost.
One of their sources has already been killed. They risked their lives.
...only to have Republicans attack the witness for having reported the crime.
This was a treason.
Let us not forget this treason.