Another Fusion GPS Transcript? House Intel Panel Votes On Whether To Unveil It

January 18, 2018

Updated at 7:45 a.m. ET

The House Intelligence Committee is set to decide on Thursday whether to release the transcript of its meeting with the man who commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Lawmakers have scheduled a closed meeting at which they’ll vote about whether to unveil the text of hours’ worth of testimony by Glenn Simpson, founder of the private intelligence firm Fusion GPS.

The testimony will show that Simpson gave the committee a road map of names, places and leads that Fusion GPS unearthed during its investigation, a source with knowledge of the proceedings said.

He and his company hired the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, whose memos about Donald Trump’s relationship form the dossier that has become so much a part of the sprawling Russia matter.

Simpson and his partner, Peter Fritsch, called on members of Congress to release the testimony after enduring months of political attacks by allies of President Trump.

One member of Congress was receptive to that idea: California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the transcript of her committee’s meeting with Simpson last week.

She did so over the objections of the Republican majority and Trump called her “sneaky Dianne.”

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to take a different path in putting the question before members in both parties. It’s in the middle of a busy week, having already convened closed sessions with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

If lawmakers vote to release the transcript, imbroglio-watchers will begin looking for areas that Simpson did not cover in his Judiciary Committee testimony.

Much of his story by now has become familiar: Simpson’s private intelligence firm was hired, first by conservatives, then later by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to look into Donald Trump’s background during the 2016 presidential election.

Fusion GPS then paid Steele, a respected British spy with a background in Russian affairs, to look into any potential Trump-Russia ties. NPR has not detailed the contents of the dossier he compiled because it remains unverified, but it includes a description of attempts by the Russian government to cultivate a relationship with Trump.

Republicans have targeted the Steele dossier’s more scandalous details as a way to discredit the document — and by extension the idea that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

In his Judiciary Committee testimony, Simpson said he did not instruct Steele to dig up embarrassing information on Trump — but that the resulting investigation yielded allegations so alarming that Steele felt compelled to go to the FBI without coordination with or the recommendation of Democrats.

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