Dear readers, I have spent the vast majority of the day reading, reviewing, and re-reading the transcript of Glenn Simpson’s testimony – as the founder of Fusion GPS, the research firm hired to do opposition research on Donald Trump first by a Republican client, and then by a Democratic one – before Congress last August. There are more than 300 pages of text in the release, which was authorized and carried out “unilaterally” early Tuesday by Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The word in quotes there is important because it denotes the nature of this release: It was against the wishes of Republicans, including Senator Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the highest-ranking Congressional body investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Senator Grassley had initially promised he would vote to release this transcript, both in public and in “town hall” style meetings directly to his constituents, but recently reneged on that promise.
That fact is also important to note, because at the very beginning of the transcript – available here for download or to read in your browser – it is outlined that the entire testimony is unclassified, meaning that its public disclosure presents no national security concerns, and no Senator involved could credibly claim it does.
So why would the GOP work so hard to keep Glenn Simpson’s testimony out of the public record? At this point, the Republican Party has called for an FBI investigation into the former British agent who compiled the “dossier,” they have cited privilege, and they have refused to recall certain witnesses.
So far as I can tell, there are a few key reasons they would not want this testimony seen:
- Simpson personally knows many of the key players in the infamous “secret meeting” at Trump Tower, including Natalia Veselnitskaya
- The testimony undermines the effort by Republicans to paint the research as “paid for by Democrats”
- Simpson revealed that his primary investigator, Christopher Steele, went to the FBI as soon as he was convinced a crime had been committed
- It is revealed in this testimony that Senator John McCain was personally made aware of certain findings
- It becomes, in the course of this testimony, a corroborated fact that the Trump Campaign was actively accepting help from Russia
- The testimony reveals that Fusion GPS worked for Republicans who wanted research on Trump for nine months before any Democrat or Democratic firm was involved
- Above all, the testimony essentially reveals that the research is airtight
Most importantly, this testimony put the lie to the statement given by Sarah Huckabee Sanders back in August that the “Democrat linked firm Fusion GPS actually took money from the Russian government while it created the phony dossier that’s been the basis for all of the Russia scandal fake news.”
Fusion GPS never got a dime from the Russian government, there is no quote-unquote dossier – rather, a collection of reports and memos, and what’s in it is most certainly not “phony.”
But the very best thing that I read in all 300 pages of this document came from extrapolation:
As you can see, I got almost all the way to the end of the document before I got to this gem. What this means is that Congress already had Paul Manafort’s notes from the “secret meeting” in Trump Tower all the way back in August.
And that means that Robert Mueller is much further along in this investigation than any of us previously realized.