Today: 17.02.2018
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Did Putin’s pawns help assemble the Trump-smearing dossier?.

The “Steele dossier,” a compendium of salacious, unproven claims against President Trump compiled from Russian sources by former UK spy Christopher Steele, sounds to the trained ear a lot like Russian disinformation. Now we’re learning why that might be. Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, which was hired by Hillary Clinton to dig up dirt...
Time: 20:09     Date: 18.01.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Did Putin’s pawns help assemble the Trump-smearing dossier?. NY Post 24 - US News

Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, which was hired by Hillary Clinton to dig up dirt on Trump, suggested in Senate testimony that there may have been some “overlap” between his work for Hillary and his work for a Russian client lobbying the US on behalf of Vladimir Putin.

Simpson said that, while he farmed out the dossier to his old pal Steele, he also contributed to the dossier along with a mysterious Russian translator who worked directly with his other client, a Putin crony.

In 2016, Simpson hired Edward Baumgartner, an ex-journalist who shares his disdain for Trump, to work on the Hillary contract. Baumgartner says he has a masters degree in Russian and specializes in consulting “in the former Soviet Union,” where he has offices.

Baumgartner had been working alongside Simpson as a Russian translator for a New York law firm defending a Russian holding company, Prevezon, in a money-laundering suit filed by the US Justice Department in Manhattan. Owned by Denis Katsyv, a Putin-tied oligarch, Prevezon was sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act. Also defending Prevezon was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who Simpson helped lobby Congress to repeal the Magnitsky Act by attacking William Browder, the banker-turned-human-rights-activist who championed it.

“He speaks Russian,” Simpson said of Baumgartner, after Senate Judiciary Committee staff asked about “subcontractors” he’d hired. “So he would work with the lawyers on gathering Russian language documents, gathering Russian language media reports, talking to witnesses who speak Russian, that sort of thing.” He added Baumgartner also has an “ability to interface with the court system in Russia.”

“Was there any overlap between the employees from Fusion who were working on the Trump investigation and the Prevezon case?” he was asked. “I think the primary employees did not overlap, but I can’t tell you that there was a Chinese wall of separation,” Simpson responded, while allowing that “other people” may have contributed “ad hoc” to both cases and that he, too, worked on both. So in other words, “yes.”

Next, Simpson dodged when asked what steps he took to ensure the information unearthed for Prevezon wasn’t shared with the anti-Trump oppo team by saying Baumgartner “didn’t deal with the clients” — i.e. the Clinton campaign. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t share dirt with Steele.

Simpson admitted dining with her before and after the meeting and sitting in the Manhattan courthouse with her the morning of the meeting, but he claims he was in the dark about her Trump Tower meeting. He says they didn’t discuss her plans because of a language barrier — even though his pal Baumgartner, the Russian translator, was in the room with them.

Let’s make the implications of this clear: When put under oath, Simpson can’t guarantee that a Russian government disinformation campaign — which is precisely what Moscow’s attempt to reverse the Magnitsky Act sanctions was — didn’t make it into the anti-Trump dossier.

It strains credulity that Simpson wasn’t in the loop regarding that strange June 9 meeting. Did Clinton also know about it? How much other bleed-over was there between Simpson’s two clients?

Baumgartner may hold the answers. Congress ought to put him under oath next. Paul Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of the bestseller “Infiltration.”

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