02:24 GMT +323 November 2019
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    Senate intelligence committee chair, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Cal., speaking at Capitol Hill.

    US Senator Feinstein Releases Transcript of Fusion GPS Co-Founder Interview

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    On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the transcript of congressional investigators' interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson in August 2017. Fusion GPS is the opposition research firm that compiled the infamous Trump-Russia dossier in 2016.

    It was known that Simpson met with the Senate Judiciary Committee in August for 10 hours, but the transcripts of his appearance had not been revealed. Reportedly, Republican senators were opposed to revealing them to the public.

    "The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves," Feinstein said in a statement accompanying the release. "The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public."

    The full interview transcript can be read here.

    The interview, primarily conducted by Deputy Chief Investigative Counsel Patrick Davis, began with an establishment of the history and scope of Fusion GPS. The early parts of Simpson's testimony, while rote, contain several notable nuggets of information: the names of all of Fusion's partners were redacted, and Simpson dodged a question on whether or not Fusion GPS had ever tried to start a government investigation on behalf of a client.

    It was reported that the earliest version of the dossier was sponsored by conservative groups hoping to dig up dirt on Trump to prevent him from securing the Republican nomination for president. Once it became clear that Trump would secure the nomination, Fusion GPS allegedly found a new sponsor: the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, which paid Fusion GPS through the law firm Perkins Coie. Simpson refused to confirm or deny any of this.

    When the DNC and the Clinton campaign started funding the dossier, Fusion GPS retained former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele due to his expertise on Russian politics after many years stationed in Moscow. The dossier only took on its tone of a vast conspiracy between Trump and Russian leaders once Steele became its lead author.

    When the dossier was completed in October 2016, Simpson testified, Steele pushed to reveal its contents to the FBI, as his findings constituted a "national security risk" — including and perhaps especially the revelation that Trump was apparently being blackmailed by the Kremlin after an incident in which he paid Russian sex workers to urinate on a bed Barack Obama had once slept in, due to his pee fetish and loathing of the former president. No, really.

    Despite the dossier being filled with salacious, histrionic and unverified claims, the FBI took it seriously and incorporated it into their investigation into Trump — even reportedly offering to pay Steele to continue his research. Simpson claimed the FBI took the dossier seriously because Steele told him that, after his second meeting with the bureau in September, they were already looking into Trump's ties with Russia due to information received from a mystery person "inside the Trump administration."

    Dramatically, Simpson claimed that one of Steele's sources was killed as a result of the dossier's publication. He offered little information on this murder.


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