Report: How Fusion GPS and the Obama Administration Weaponized the Trump Dossier

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by Kristina Wong, Breitbart:

Did the Obama administration launch an investigation into the Trump campaign based solely off of unverified political opposition research? And was that “research” dressed up and given more credibility than it should have? It appears that way based on an investigation of open-source information by Tablet.

The outlet’s investigation begins with a June 24, 2017, Facebook post by Mary Jacoby, the wife of Glenn Simpson, the former Wall Street Journal reporter who started Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier.

Jacoby, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who once shared bylines with Simpson, bragged how her husband was not getting the credit he deserved for the dossier.

“It’s come to my attention that some people still don’t realize what Glenn’s role was in exposing Putin’s control of Donald Trump,” she wrote on Facebook. “Let’s be clear. Glenn conducted the investigation. Glenn hired Chris Steele. Chris Steele worked for Glenn.”

Until this day, the dossier is often referred to as the “Steele dossier,” named after the former British spy Christopher Steele who is believed to have authored the document.

Steele’s background has been used by collusion-believers to argue that the document is credible. But Jacoby’s post suggests that Steele might not have played as big of a role in the dossier as he is given credit.

Indeed, Fusion GPS hiring of Nellie Ohr — the wife of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr — also shows that Steele’s role in producing the dossier may be exaggerated. Ohr is a Stanford Ph.D. whose expertise is Russia and she appears to be fluent in Russian. She may have conducted interviews or written parts of the dossier.

The dossier, however, only has Steele’s name on it — helping to credential the research as an “intelligence product.”

Tablet also took a look at Simpson and Jacoby’s work for the WSJ. In April 2007 — in the lead-up to the 2008 election — they co-wrote a story about Republican links to Russians.

In that story, titled “How Lobbyists Help Ex-Soviets Woo Washington,” they detail how prominent Republicans helped open doors for “Kremlin-affiliated oligarchs and other friends of Vladimir Putin.”

They reported on Viktor Yanukovich, who had paid political fixer Paul Manafort to introduce Yanukovich to powerful Washington, DC, figures. They later reported on May 14, 2008, that Manafort’s lobbying firm was escorting Yanukovich around Washington. Yanukovich would later become president of Ukraine in 2010.

Tablet explains how their reporting may have been the origins of the Trump dossier:

So when the Trump campaign named Paul Manafort as its campaign convention manager on March 28, 2016, you can bet that Simpson and Jacoby’s eyes lit up. And as it happened, at the exact same time that Trump hired Manafort, Fusion GPS was in negotiations with Perkins Coie, the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, to see if there was interest in the firm continuing the opposition research on the Trump campaign they had started for the Washington Free Beacon. In addition to whatever sales pitch Simpson might have offered about Manafort, the Clinton campaign had independent reason to believe that research into Manafort’s connections might pay some real political dividends: A Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist named Alexandra Chalupa, told the Clinton campaign about Manafort’s work for Yanukovich. “I flagged for the DNC the significance of his hire,” Chalupa told CNN in July of this year.

Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS in April, shortly after Trump hired Manafort.

Manafort’s role now allowed Simpson to highlight corruption that he already knew to exist, from his reporting. A line from the dossier states:

Ex-Ukrainian President YANUKOVYCH confides directly to PUTIN that he authorised (sic) kick-back payments to MANAFORT, as alleged in western media … Assures Russian President however there is no documentary evidence/trail.

Tablet notes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would later find corruption by Manafort related to money laundering (before he joined the Trump campaign). It also points out that Tony Podesta — Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s brother — worked for Manafort at the time he represented Yanukovich. (The Podesta Group disbanded this year after those connections were made public, and the special counsel is reportedly investigating Podesta too.)

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