I have had the opportunity to read the entire transcript of the Glenn Simpson Senate hearings. With my usual unorthodox viewpoint, I came away with some observations.
Mr. Simpson indicated that not all campaigns can afford GPS’s services, which would explain why the Clinton campagne engaged them rather than the DNC. This also explains to me why the Sanders campaign was not in the loop. Not just because Clinton was running against him, but because his party couldn’t afford to pay for it.
It appears that the research project started with the conservative group the Washington Free Beacon originally retaining them to do the research on Trump. The plan was to gain information that would be helpful to several candidates in the 2016 election. At some point, they ended their agreement with GPS.
If it was me, given the substantial amount of information that had already been collected by Fusion GPS, I would jump at the chance to get them to help me, which the Clinton campaign did.
Interestingly, a lot of what Fusion GPS found in the beginning of their process focused on Trump dealings in countries other than Russia. Also, I understand that the first thing that pointed them into the direction of ongoing improper business dealings, was Trump’s connection to the Russian mob.
In my opinion, it would make sense to focus a significant amount of intellectual resources to uncover issues related to the financial health and practices of Trump’s organization. It is apparent that everywhere Fusion GPS was digging for information, Trumps name and involvement popped up.
For Glenn Simpson, It is a good thing he subcontracted or associated with people he has been dealing with for years who have significant expertise or ongoing relationships with certain groups. Not only does that mean he can trust them, he is also able to utilize their expertise effectively. A great example is the retaining of the Russian diplomatic interpreter. If you don’t speak Russian and were trying to gain information from Russians, it would be imperative that you worked with a translator you can trust to properly convey or gather relative information.
It also sounds like his projects are not based on party affiliation which is supported by the make up of his group. As an aside, I am sure that Mr. Simpson has run across some real flakes over the years, especially when he was an investigative reporter working for the Wall Street Journal.
When he first started his investigation, he testified that he was very familiar with Trump, his slimy business practices and his association with unsavory characters well before he was commissioned to take on this project. He also said that during the most recent investigation, he discovered through public records that Trump is a horrible business man with many properties that didn’t make any money and are always embroiled in lawsuits related to his practices including his failure to pay his bills. He also revealed that Trump’s ability to get money for places like the building in SOHO could only happen with the help of Russian financeurs. If you remember anything from the old mob movies, you should remember that when you get into bed with the mob, you usually end up with a debt so large that you have to give them major control over what you do. Can you say money laundering?
Fusion GPS didn’t commission Christopher Steele to do his research until long into the project. Simpson testified that Steele was brought into the fold because of his ability to do extensive “human” research. By the time he was commissioned, Fusion GPS had basically come to the end of their ability to gain information using their traditional methods.
Simpson testified that Mr. Steele was not given anything specific to investigate. Instead, he was instructed to see what he could find out about Trump without any real expectations of what he was going to dig up.
The Dossier, actually a series of memorandums was the form of communication used by Simpson and Steele. Given the content and chronology of the memos, it supports Simpson’s contention that he was not looking for anything specific. As an aside, both Simpson and Steele were cognisent of the fact that they were, along the way, being given misinformation designed to effect their findings. To me, that may be why there are some events in the dossier that may not be factual.
As Steele’s research unfolded, it became apparent that he and Simpson uncovered that Trump was involved in just about everything Russia. They discovered relationships with oligarchs, banks controlled by the Russian government and so on. He also discovered that the Russian government was playing Trump for a fool and had in fact among other things, set him up to be blackmailed. When Steele discovered this happening he insisted on informing the government. After settling a disagreement with Simpson on whether or not they should contact law enforcement, Steele met with his FBI contact in Paris.
Simpson testified that at the time, Steele’s information was considered credible by the FBI based on information they already had knowledge of through their own investigaion. When the FBI was going public with information about Hillary’s email, they apeared to ignore the Dossier that Steele had been working with them on, so he quit cooperating with them.
Fusion GPS had no idea that the Russian government was hacking into the Clinton’s emails and were going to dump them on the American public. The timing of their investigation proves that.
As far as Mr. Simpson’s testimony, after 10 hours of grilling which generated 312 pages of testimony, I can’t see how anyone would not take him at his word. I believe that even though there was a lot of “I don’t recall” and “won’t answer” responses to the panel, his overall testimony supported the truth. You would have to be pretty misanthropic to think otherwise.
You would have to be in denial if you can’t see the obvious connection between Trump’s Russian relationships and the meddling in our election brokered by Putin.
I personally am of the opinion that if any of the information gleaned by Fusion GPS were to have been shared with the American people during the campaign rather than six months later, we would possibly have had a totally different outcome to the election. I am also of the opinion that the attacks on Hillary’s campaign were more a product of Putin’s hate and distane for her, not some overwhelming admiration of Trump.
It is my opinion that Mueller has a ton information that is not related to the Fusion GPS investigation and that the overall Fusion GPS/Steele findings are just one piece of a much larger puzzle for Mueller’s group.
To me the testimony was fascinating, informative and sometimes confusing. Anyway, that is just a few of my thoughts on the latest news. I could go on for hours, so I will spare you.