Grassley Closing in on Rogue D.C. Firm Fusion GPS

Last Monday, January 29th, Sen. Grassley was accused of “knowingly” endangering employees of Fusion GPS, the lobbying and opposition-research firm hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee to produce dirt on rival Donald Trump. The charge stems from Joshua Levy and two other lawyers representing the firm, who claim that individuals employed there were named in six letters posted on the website of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Grassley chairs, despite requests that their names not be made public; adding that they “expect” both Sen. Grassley and the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation into the matter, the lawyers copied the Chairman and Vice Chairman of that committee, Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Christopher Coons (D-CT).

The first thing to note about the accusation is that it is demonstrably false: as a spokesman for Sen. Grassley, Taylor Foy, countered last Tuesday, the documents published by the Committee did not identify specific individuals as employees of Fusion GPS; it was instead the letter of the lawyers themselves which first revealed that some of the individuals concerned were such.

The second thing to note about the letter from the lawyers is its arrogant tone. Besides copying the Ethics Committee and thus implying that the Judiciary Committee had done something wrong, the lawyers went on to characterize the publication of the names as “leaks,” and to ascribe a base motive for the action, asserting that “these leaks are unauthorized and unethical,” and that they were made to “please the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal”; that paper is quite familiar to Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, who once worked as a reporter there, and presumably bears it a grudge. Mr. Foy replied that “official releases of information by the chairman of the Judiciary Committee about its work are, by definition, not leaks.” The haughtiness of the lawyers seems to betray a belief on their part that their client is untouchable; only a little while ago Fusion had Crooked and the DNC as clients (though the relationship was disguised by funneling payments through the law firm Perkins Coie), and the garbage which the firm procured from former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele was used by corrupt officials in the FBI and DOJ to deceive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges into granting requests to surveil private citizen Carter Page; even now Democrats in Congress and their allies in the MSM are fighting to keep the public from learning about the weaponization of government agencies against Donald Trump both before and after his election, a circumstance which might encourage Mr. Simpson to be recalcitrant; just as the FBI and the DOJ wanted names redacted from the Nunes memo, Simpson seems to believe that no one working for his firm should have to come clean about his actions during the 2016 campaign and since.

It is conceivable that the lawyers for Fusion, in their haste to criticize the Judiciary Committee, failed to appreciate that the documents the latter released do not associate any of the persons named with the firm; as things now stand, if something untoward were to happen to any of them, the lawyers would share in the liability. Mr. Foy surmised that they were trying to divert attention from the circumstance that Fusion has not complied with a document request made last year by Chairman Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking minority member. It seems likelier that they were trying instead to create a climate in which it would be uncomfortable for Sen. Grassley and the Judiciary Committee to look very far into the activities of Fusion employees, or ever to follow up with them directly, in which case it is quite possible that they were conscious of the fact that they were themselves revealing what they were accusing Sen. Grassley of having revealed. This strategy is suggested by the six letters dated 25 Jan. 2018, all signed by Sen. Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, which precipitated the letter from the lawyers for Fusion to the Committee; the senators had asked former officials of Hillary for America (John Podesta, Chairman; Robby Mook, Campaign Manager; Joel Benenson, Chief Strategist), and both the former (Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile) and the current (Thomas Perez) Chairs of the DNC, for “all communications to, from, copying, or relating to” the individuals named, some of whom, as we now know, thanks to the lawyers for the firm, are employees of Fusion.

If in fact the lawyers for Fusion with their letter were hoping to prevent the Committee from ever interviewing or seeking testimony from employees of Fusion, we may ask why. Two reasons Mr. Simpson would want to keep his employees from talking to the Committee immediately spring to mind. Firstly, even low-level employees, who might not have knowingly committed any criminal act, could provide information about such things as the circular reporting revealed by the Nunes memo, i.e., the process whereby content from the Steele dossier was fed to reporters, so that media accounts of topics covered by the dossier might seem to corroborate the dossier to someone ignorant of the circumstance that the media treatments are drawn from the dossier rather than being independent of it; as long as the Fusion employees did not know that the media reports were being used to deceive FISA judges, they would not be criminally liable for their actions, whereas Mr. Simpson himself would be, if he did know. Secondly, Mr. Simpson has testified at length before Congressional Committees, and it is possible that various statements about the activities of Fusion made by him, under oath, would be contradicted by his employees, thus exposing him to a perjury charge.

Sen. Grassley, seeing the ruse of the lawyers for what it is, will keep from being manipulated into going “easy” on the Fusion employees by failing to call them to testify.

Since the letter sent by Sens. Grassley and Graham to the six recipients in late January references the Washington Post story from October 2017 revealing that Hillary for America and the DNC ultimately paid for the Steele dossier, and since it characterizes the dossier as “a series of memos relying largely on Russian government sources to make allegations against Donald Trump and his associates,” Sen. Grassley clearly realizes that the only 2016 presidential candidate whose collusion with Russians, and indeed with the government of Vladimir Putin, is an established fact is none other than Crooked Hillary Clinton. As happens otherwise, to discover what offense the Democrats have committed it is only necessary to learn what offense they are imputing to the Republicans; in their case, however, in addition to actual collusion with the Russians, which technically might not be a crime, they have committed many actual crimes by abusing government powers to frame Donald Trump for the collusion of which they alone are guilty.