When Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calf.) unilaterally released the transcript of an interview of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson (shown) by Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, it caused a firestorm of controversy. Now, the content of that transcript is fanning the flames of that controversy. Simpson’s lawyer claimed in that interview that as a direct result of the public release of the Trump “dossier” prepared by Fusion GPS, “somebody’s already been killed.”
On Tuesday, Feinstein took it upon herself to release a redacted version of the transcript to the public. Regardless of whether Feinstein had the authority — as a ranking member of the committee — to release the transcript, there is little doubt that the timing of the release is suspicious. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.) said Feinstein’s decision to go public with the document right in the “middle of an ongoing investigation” is “confounding.” “Confounding” is one good way to describe it; perhaps “politically motivated” would be better.
It is par for the course that Feinstein would be politically motivated to release the transcript in an apparent attempt to squeeze a little more mileage out of the Trump “dossier” which claimed that Donald Trump — as a candidate — was both being blackmailed by Russia (as a result of supposedly sexually deviant behavior while in Russia years ago) and being aided by Russia in the race against Hillary Clinton.
In the August 22 interview, Simpson deferred to his lawyer, Josh Levy, in regard to many of the questions he was asked. One part of the interview was focused on the “unnamed sources” cited throughout the “dossier” which had been prepared for Fusion GPS by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Unsurprisingly, Simpson repeatedly refused to answer questions about that subject. From the transcript:
MR. FOSTER: Earlier you talked about evaluating the credibility of the information in the memoranda that you were being provided by Mr. Steele and, by way of summary, you talked about your belief that he was credible and that you had worked with him before and the information he had provided you had been reliable in the past. Did you take any steps to try to assess the credibility of his sources, his unnamed sources in the material that he was providing to you?
MR. SIMPSON: Yes, but I’m not going to get into sourcing information.
MR. FOSTER: So without getting into naming the sources or anything like that, what steps did you take to try to verify their credibility?
MR. SIMPSON: I’m going to decline to answer that.
When Jason Foster, chief investigative counsel for Chairman Grassley, asked why Simpson would refuse to answer the question of what steps were taken to verify the credibility of the unnamed sources while being allowed to decline naming the sources, Simpson did not answer. Instead, Levy answered:
It’s a voluntary interview, and in addition to that he wants to be very careful to protect his sources. Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work.
Given the degree to which the honesty and credibility of the Trump “dossier” has already been established to be at or near zero, one could find humor in Levy calling it an “honest work.” He may not have committed perjury, but he was likely so close to the cliff that his toes were dangling over the edge.
Foster pressed for an answer, if it could given “generally without identifying the sources.” Levy replied that Simpson had already “given you over nine hours of information and he’s going to decline to answer this one question.” Of course, it was not “this one question” and that did not escape Foster, who replied, “and several others.”
The perplexing thing here is that the “revelation” that someone has “already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier” — dropped into the conversation as a dodge to answering a reasonable question — was simply let go. The natural response of questioning Levy or Simpson about that claim is missing from the conversation. Instead, the interview simply moves on to the next question.
And while the liberal media is acting as if the very existence of this claim in the transcript — without any corroborating evidence, details, or other insight — is proof of the validity of the “dossier,” nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, this is the same liberal media that acted as if the very existence of the “dossier” was proof of Trump/Russia collusion.
But as this writer explained in a previous article about the veracity of the “dossier” — which was illegally bought and paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign:
Besides the misspellings and factual errors, the document is rife with such poor grammar formatting, a high school teacher would be forced to either return the document as incomplete or give it a failing grade. Furthermore, the “dossier” accuses Aleksej Gubarev and his company XBT Holding of “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.” (A botnet is a group of Internet-connected computers often used to send spam e-mails or conduct other hacking operations.) Again, as before, the claim of the report lacks anything resembling evidence, and is, in fact, contradicted by facts.
Considering the following points, it is difficult to draw any other conclusion than that the intelligence community deliberately used a document that is fraudulent on its face in a politically motivated disinformation campaign for the purpose of either keeping Trump out of the White House or at the very least deligitimizing his presidency from the start.
• Aleksej Gubarev, who is supposed to have been “recruited under duress” by the FSB as a “hacking expert” to run a botnet operation to hack the DNC and Clinton campaign, was never even contacted by intelligence agents.
• Trump associates Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and Carter Page, who were supposed to have handled all the heavy lifting in Trump’s dirty deal with Russian intelligence, deny having done so and the intelligence community has provided no proof that they did.
• Michael Cohen has proved — by his passport — that he was not even out of the country at the time the report claims he was meeting with Trump’s FSB handlers; in fact, Cohen has never been to Prague.
Even a cursory investigation by any low-level agent of the intelligence organizations involved in this fiasco would have shown them that there is nothing to this document. Instead, the closest any intelligence official has come to admitting that it is a fraud is when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that the “document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product” and that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.” Of course, this concession falls short.
In fact, the liberal media’s willingness to accept the “dossier” at face value — without any corroborating evidence, details, or other insight — was a bridge too far for even Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. Greenwald — a man no one could accuse of being a Trumpeteer — chose neither to rubber-stamp the “dossier” nor to avoid addressing it. Instead, he attacked it head on, saying that the liberal establishment was guilty of ignoring President Eisenhower’s farewell address advice to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
While expressing his view — which is shared by many across the political spectrum — that a Trump presidency is fraught with danger, Greenwald wrote:
The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There are a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combating those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.
But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.
Now, by introducing yet another wild — and unsubstantiated — claim, the man responsible for the creation of the entirely discredited “dossier” has attempted to shine a false light of credibility on that document. And with the help of Feinstein and the liberal media, he has managed to create a stir. Fortunately, only the people who — as Greenwald described them — are willing to demand “that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth” are likely to believe a word of it.
Photo of Glenn Simpson: AP Images