Fusion GPS's ties to Clinton campaign, Russia investigation: What to know
Fusion GPS’s ties to Clinton campaign, Russia investigation: What to know
A request by Fusion GPS to void a House Intelligence Committee subpoena demanding its bank records has been denied by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the firm – which was behind the controversial dossier of allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia – had “unavailing” objections to the subpoena. Leon also denied Fusion GPS’s request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would have prevented it from turning over documents to House investigators.
Fusion GPS plans to appeal the ruling.
The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Fusion GPS’s records as part of its probe into who paid for the infamous dossier. It was commissioned by Fusion GPS, complied by former British spy Christopher Steele and published by Buzzfeed News in January 2017.
Here’s what to know about the firm and its connection to Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Russia investigations.
What is Fusion GPS?
Founded by veteran journalists, Fusion GPS “provides premium research, strategic intelligence, and due diligence services to corporations, law firms and investors worldwide,” according to its sparse website.
The Washington, D.C.-based firm also says it offers a “cross-disciplinary approach with expertise in media, politics, regulation, national security, and global markets.”
Fusion GPS was started in 2009 by former Wall Street Journal reporters Peter Fritsch and Glenn Simpson.
How is Fusion GPS linked to the Russia investigation?
The political firm was behind the controversial dossier that contained a number of colorful but unverifiable claims about Trump. The company retained British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who produced the 35-page dossier.
While it has not been verified, the dossier, which included explicit sexual and financial allegations against Trump, created further speculation about any Trump connection to Russian officials – a question that has dogged his campaign and presidency.
Who funded the dossier?
The firm was originally retained during the election by the conservative website Washington Free Beacon who wanted opposition research on Trump.
After Trump became the GOP presidential nominee, Clinton and the DNC retained Fusion GPS through lawyer Marc Elias and his firm, Perkins Coie, Fox News confirmed.
Clinton reportedly did not know about the dossier until BuzzFeed News published it in January 2017. Democrats have defended it as simply opposition research.
It’s unclear what Fusion GPS had dug up by the time Perkins Coie hired them, or how much money was involved in the transaction. The Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Perkins Coie more than $9 million – although it’s uncertain how much of that money, if any, went toward the dossier.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the project until October 2016 – right before the election.
Trump has suggested that the dossier was funded by Russia, Democrats or the FBI.
Simpson has done substantial investigative work on the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was imprisoned after reporting a massive tax fraud scheme. Magnitsky died in prison, and the U.S. enacted the Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on certain Russian officials.
During the campaign, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, took a controversial meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was supposed to have damning information about Clinton. Instead, those who went to the meeting said she just wanted to talk about the Magnitsky Act.
In his investigative work on Magnitsky, Simpson may have found evidence that contradicts details of the case accepted by the U.S., NBC News reported.
Fusion GPS also did work as a firm related to the Magnitsky Act.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.