Author of Trump dossier had concerns about Russian blackmail

Pauline Gross
January 10, 2018

Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson told a Senate panel previous year that a controversial dossier his firm produced alleging Donald Trump had suspicious connections with Russians was substantiated and that the document's author briefed the Federal Bureau of Investigation on his findings, according to a newly released transcript. Following his lead, several GOP-led committees are now investigating whether the dossier formed the basis for the FBI's initial investigations.

Republicans and Democrats have tangled in recent weeks over the origins of the dossier, which was funded in part by Trump's political opponents, and how the FBI and other agencies may have used the dossier in their investigations.

Feinstein said she released the transcript to set the record straight.

Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson had asked that a transcript of his 10 hours of testimony before Senate Judiciary Committee staff be made public, Feinstein said.

Mr Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Russian Federation during the campaign, and called the entire investigation a "witch hunt".

The dossier was written by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele.

Republicans have sought to attack the credibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling in part by raising concerns about the Steele dossier. Steele's reports were eventually compiled into a dossier alleging the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin - a claim the president has repeatedly denied. In any event, he said don't worry about that, I know the flawless person, I have a contact there, they'll listen to me, they know who I am, I'll take care of it.

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Feinstein made the transcript public over the objections of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who called the move "confounding" in a statement shortly after Feinstein made it public.

"My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point - that they believed Chris's (Steele's) information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization", Simpson said.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has also interviewed members of Fusion GPS, also appeared to back Grassley's rationale last week.

"The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves", she said.

The disagreement between Grassley and Feinstein is further evidence of a breakdown on the panel after an initially bipartisan investigation.

Feinstein said Democrats supported releasing the transcript, CNBC reports.

Simpson told investigators that Steele is "basically a Boy Scout, " saying he has worked with Steele on and off since 2009 and he knew him to be "a person who delivered quality work in very appropriate ways".

Other reports by GizPress

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