by Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post:
The news that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid forresearch used in the discredited Trump-Russia “dossier” is a bombshell. But even more shocking — and overlooked — is the revelation that the firm the Clinton campaign hired to compile that dossier, Fusion GPS, is the same firm that has been accused in recent congressional testimony of launching a smear campaign in Washington against Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who was tortured and killed in a Russian prison in 2009 after uncovering a $230 million tax theft by 23 Kremlin-linked companies and individuals close to President Vladimir Putin.
Which raises the question no one seems to be asking: Why was Hillary Clinton using an opposition research company with Putin-linked clients to dig up dirt on Donald Trump?
The claimed link that was identified in congressional testimony has its roots in the Putin regime’s lobbying for the repeal of the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which froze assets and banned visas for Russians involved in or benefiting from Magnitsky’s murder, as well as for others involved in torture, extrajudicial killings or abuses against those seeking to promote human rights or expose illegal activity by Russian officials. So far, some 35 Putin cronies have been sanctioned under the act, infuriating the Russian president.
After the act passed, prominent Magnitsky supporters in Russia began to be mysteriously poisoned, thrown off buildings or shot on bridges in front of the Kremlin. At the same time — according to testimony by Magnitsky’s boss, Hermitage Capital Management chief executive William Browder, recently made to the Senate Judiciary Committee — Fusion GPS launched a lobbying campaign in Washington to repeal the Magnitsky Act by charging (a) that Magnitsky was not murdered and (b) that he and Browder were, in fact, the ones responsible for the tax fraud. Of course, Magnitsky was blameless, and Browder’s only crime was that he virtually single-handedly led the charge for passage of the Magnitsky Act — originally opposed by the Obama administration, including Clinton’s State Department.
One of the faces of the campaign to repeal the Magnitsky Act was the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (the same lawyer who famously met with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016). She visited the United States in 2016 ostensibly to lobby on adoption issues (Putin had barred Americans from adopting Russian children in response to the passage of the Magnitsky Act), but her real purpose was to push the repeal of the act and prevent the passage of a global law bearing Magnitsky’s name. Concurrently, Veselnitskaya defended Prevezon, a company sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act for laundering money from the tax fraud Magnitsky uncovered. Prevezon is owned by Denis Katsyv, a Putin-linked oligarch and son of a former Russian government minister.
In July, Browder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he testified that Prevezon “hired Glenn Simpson of the firm Fusion GPS to conduct a smear campaign against me and Sergei Magnitsky. . . . He contacted a number of major newspapers and other publications to spread false information that Sergei Magnitsky was not murdered, was not a whistleblower and was instead a criminal.” As a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Simpson had extensive contacts with his former media colleagues he could use to spread anti-Magnitsky propaganda.