The mystery of who paid for the Trump dossier
As official Washington (meaning Democrats and the press) continues to chase its tail in the Russia investigation, over at the Wall Street Journal, columnist Kim Strassel asks a fundamental question about one of the key elements of the investigation: who paid for the so-called "Trump dossier?" And why have Democrats suddenly gone wobbly on the whole investigation of late? The answer:
Fusion GPS. That’s the oppo-research outfit behind the infamous and discredited “Trump dossier,” ginned up by a former British spook. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson also was supposed to testify at the Grassley hearing, where he might have been asked in public to reveal who hired him to put together the hit job on Mr. Trump, which was based largely on anonymous Russian sources. Turns out Democrats are willing to give up just about anything—including their Manafort moment—to protect Mr. Simpson from having to answer that question.
What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility.
We know Fusion is a for-hire political outfit, paid to dig up dirt on targets. This column first outed Fusion in 2012, detailing its efforts to tar a Mitt Romney donor. At the time Fusion insisted that the donor was “a legitimate subject of public records research.”
Mr. Grassley’s call for testimony has uncovered more such stories. Thor Halvorssen, a prominent human-rights activist, has submitted sworn testimony outlining a Fusion attempt to undercut his investigation of Venezuelan corruption. Mr. Halvorssen claims Fusion “devised smear campaigns, prepared dossiers containing false information,” and “carefully placed slanderous news items” to malign him and his activity.
William Browder, a banker who has worked to expose Mr. Putin’s crimes, testified to the Grassley committee on Thursday that he was the target of a similar campaign, saying that Fusion “spread false information” about him and his efforts. Fusion has admitted it was hired by a law firm representing a Russian company called Prevezon.
There are a number of "what ifs" and other unknowns in Strassel's piece. But she might be on to something very big and incredibly damaging...to Democrats.
If the Russian intention was to sow chaos in the American political system, few things could have been more effective than that dossier, which ramped up an FBI investigation and sparked congressional probes and a special counsel, deeply wounding the president. This is all to Mr. Putin’s benefit, and the question is whether Russia engineered it.
If Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Democrats and the media really want answers about Russian meddling, this is a far deeper well than the so-far scant case against Mr. Trump. If they refuse to dive into the story, we’ll know that the truth about Russia and the election was never what they were after.
We have our suspicions that this entire episode has been nothing but a ploy, and that truth was never the goal. Destruction of a president the left despises, and the press loathes (but we repeat ourselves) has been on their public agenda since the November election ended in their humiliting defeat.