TEL AVIV — Glenn R. Simpson, the co-founder of the controversial opposition research firm Fusion GPS, admitted in testimony he was not “convinced” that any “specific crime” was committed by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign when ex-British spy Christopher Steele approached the FBI about the contents of the infamous, 35-page anti-Trump dossier produced by Simpson’s company.
Fusion GPS hired Steele to do the work cited in the anti-Trump dossier.
In November 14 testimony before the House Select Committee on Intelligence released last week, Simson was asked to comment on “allegation versus fact” when it came to the anti-Trump charges inside the dossier.
Here is a transcript of Simpson’s response (emphasis added):
I think it’s a great question. The – you know, I mean, essentially we ended up spending almost a year on this project. And, you know, it was a private –because it’s all private work in the sense of nongovernmental, without any legal process to compel production of information, we can only reach a certain point.
And at the time that we — you know, that Chris decided to take this to the FBI, I wasn’t convinced of the facts of anything in terms of – I wasn’t convinced that there was a specific crime that occurred. I thought it was a possible crime of progress and that there was possibly very serious crimes, but, you know, I’m an ex-journalist, so I’m not really in a position to prove that anyone’s engaged in a crime. I mean, you know, sometimes you do find proof of criminal activity in investigation, but more often than not you find things that are suggestive or raise questions.
In the same testimony, Simpson admitted he is not sure whether some of the most controversial claims inside the dossier are true or false.
Last July, Steele reportedly traveled to Rome, where he met with an FBI contact to supply the agency with the anti-Trump dossier and other information he found during the course of his opposition work.
Steele’s dossier reportedly served as some of the basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and unsubstantiated claims of coordination with Russia.
In August 22 testimony released earlier this month and reviewed in full by Breitbart News, Simpson stated that Steele’s outreach to the FBI was “something that Chris took on on his own.” Simpson also stated that as far as he knew Fusion GPS did not fund Steele’s trip to Rome to meet with the FBI. He said he believes that the trip expenses may have been reimbursed by the FBI.
The FBI’s national press office did not return a Breitbart News request seeking comment on whether the agency paid for Steele’s Rome trip or reimbursed him for any expenses.
In March, CNN cited people familiar with the matter as saying that the FBI reimbursed Steele for some expenses.
The FBI reimbursed some expenses of the former British intelligence operative who produced a dossier containing allegations of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, people familiar with the matter said. …
An official familiar with the discussions said the FBI didn’t hire Steele as an informant, but that the arrangement instead allowed for expenses to be paid. It couldn’t be learned how much he was paid and for how long.
In October, the Washington Post reported that in April 2016, attorney Marc E. Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPS to conduct the firm’s anti-Trump work on behalf of both Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The BBC reported that the information in the dossier served as a “roadmap” for the FBI’s investigation into claims of coordination between Moscow and members of Trump’s presidential campaign.
Last April, CNN reported that the dossier served as part of the FBI’s justification for seeking the FISA court’s reported approval to clandestinely monitor the communications of Carter Page, the American oil industry investor who was tangentially and briefly associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.
That purported FISA warrant is currently at the center of controversy as House Republicans seek the release of a memo described as alleging FISA surveillance abuses under the Obama administration.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Written with research by Joshua Klein.