If there really is a Deep State, suckering the Trumpers into talking about Fusion so that this would end up being in the release was a pretty smart play.
Alternate version: Trumpers harping on Fusion never understood what was going on in all this in the first place. https://t.co/l3t6wb51oe
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 9, 2018
Back on January 2nd, from Glenn R. Simpson & Peter Fritsch, “The Republicans’ Fake Investigations”:
… In the year since the publication of the so-called Steele dossier — the collection of intelligence reports we commissioned about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia — the president has repeatedly attacked us on Twitter. His allies in Congress have dug through our bank records and sought to tarnish our firm to punish us for highlighting his links to Russia. Conservative news outlets and even our former employer, The Wall Street Journal, have spun a succession of mendacious conspiracy theories about our motives and backers.
We are happy to correct the record. In fact, we already have.
Three congressional committees have heard over 21 hours of testimony from our firm, Fusion GPS. In those sessions, we toppled the far right’s conspiracy theories and explained how The Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign — the Republican and Democratic funders of our Trump research — separately came to hire us in the first place.
We walked investigators through our yearlong effort to decipher Mr. Trump’s complex business past, of which the Steele dossier is but one chapter. And we handed over our relevant bank records — while drawing the line at a fishing expedition for the records of companies we work for that have nothing to do with the Trump case.
Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators…
The NYTimes still has sources to protect, because this appeared online last night:
From the start, he was a central casting misfire — the dark artist slicing through the capital by electric scooter, a cloak-and-dagger digger better known to former colleagues for scratching his bare belly in plain office view.
In a past career, Glenn R. Simpson had been a reporter’s reporter, tenacious through two decades in journalism, often driving the Washington story of the day — congressional corruption, fund-raising shenanigans, sundry misbehavior — but never becoming it himself. “It’s not news when things go right,” he told a group of students in 1991, describing his craft. “When things go right, it’s boring.”
Mr. Simpson’s life has not been boring for some time now. It has, perhaps inevitably, become news.
As investigators circle President Trump’s administration over ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Simpson, a 53-year-old Wall Street Journal veteran-turned-master of high-dollar research, has arrived at the biggest story of either of his careers, lurching to the center of the Russia-tinged scandal that clouds the presidency…
Mr. Simpson himself has been hauled before three congressional committees for some 20 hours of questions and answers, placing him among the most significant players in the Trump-Russia affair, if math is the metric.
“Uncooperative,” Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said of Mr. Simpson’s turn before the Judiciary Committee, which he leads.
“Very cooperative,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, where Mr. Simpson also appeared.
Mr. Simpson can be both of these things — according to interviews with dozens of friends, colleagues and investigative targets — and a few more: brash, obsessive, occasionally paranoid, perhaps with cause…
In practice, Fusion’s task has often translated, roughly, to finding unsavory things about unsavory people, at the behest of not-especially-savory clients. The firm often represents corporations, hedge funds or law firms, providing a sort of public-records forensics that resembles journalism. It leans on its understanding of the news media, and its contacts among reporters, to elevate its clients and squeeze their adversaries.
In election years, political opposition research can consume more of Mr. Simpson’s time, with bipartisan demand.
The pay is good. And the targets are rich…
Gosh, however could you trust a guy who’s only in it for the money?, says the Grey Lady, piously.
… More notable to some lawmakers is Mr. Simpson’s connection to two figures with deep bonds to Russian power, who have long fought for a pet Kremlin cause: Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist, and Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, a lawyer known as a formidable Moscow insider.
The two have worked to turn back the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 American law detested by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, that punishes Russian human rights violators. And together with Mr. Simpson, the trio worked on behalf of a Russian-owned company accused by the United States government of laundering some of the funds stolen in a fraud uncovered by Sergei L. Magnitsky, after whom the act was named.
Mr. Simpson had been hired by a law firm, BakerHostetler, representing the company. As part of this work, he compiled damaging allegations against William F. Browder, an American-born financier and Kremlin foe who was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act.
“He’s a professional smear campaigner and liar for money,” Mr. Browder said of Mr. Simpson. “The credibility of anything that he does is in question.”…
“We collect facts,” Fusion said in a statement, describing itself as a research company. “Occasionally, the facts turn out to be helpful to people we deplore, like Vladimir Putin, or undermine people for whom we have considerable sympathy, like William Browder.”
For his efforts, Mr. Simpson has been presented with a defamation lawsuit and a congressional subpoena demanding bank records, which the firm is fighting in court, saying it could jeopardize a confidential client list in an industry where privacy is paramount. A legal defense fund has been formed, one of Fusion’s lawyers, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., said, adding that the firm’s legal costs had by now outstripped all compensation for investigations into Mr. Trump and his links to Russia during the campaign.
But the work has not stopped. Fusion continues to look into ties between Mr. Trump and Russia, according to several people briefed on the research. Mr. Simpson’s specific areas of focus, and information about any current benefactors, are closely guarded…
And that’s from just the first third of the article!
I have no doubt that Glenn Simpson is a “colorful” individual, who’s probably spent much of his “tumultuous life” straddling some ethical lines. Not many plaster saints take up journalism, never mind opposition research. But I’d have a lot more faith in the NYTimes’ sudden interest in the seamier side, if the people in charge of the paper weren’t so blatantly bent on sucking up to the worst of the Trump Oval Office Occupation.