Politics & Policy

Grassley: Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony ‘Extremely Misleading’ If Not ‘Outright Lie’

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley listens as Attorney General Jeff Sessions (not pictured) testifies before a Senate Judiciary oversight hearing, October 18, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) says that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the committee was “extremely misleading, if not an outright lie.

Simpson told the committee last summer that the firm behind the lascivious and controversial Steele dossier “had no client after the election.” But in a recent letter to Democratic colleague Chris Coons, Grassley challenged that statement, calling it “extremely misleading, if not an outright lie….Contrary to Mr. Simpson’s denial in the staff interview, according to the FBI and others, Fusion actually did continue Trump dossier work for a new client after the election.”

The House Intelligence Committee Republicans’ Russia report noted that a former FBI employee and staffer for Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein admitted under FBI questioning to having hired Fusion GPS after the 2016 election “to continue exposing Russian interference.”

“So, despite the fact Mr. Simpson said he had no client after the election, he in fact did, and that client revealed himself to the FBI,” Grassley wrote, citing the federal statute that prohibits lying to federal investigators.

Grassley in January also sent a criminal referral on dossier author Christopher Steele to the Justice Department, saying the former British spy lied about speaking to the press regarding allegations against Trump campaign operatives.

The Iowa Republican’s letter came in response to Senator Coons’ accusation that Donald Trump Jr. gave potentially dishonest testimony to the committee about his foreign meetings during the campaign.

Trump Jr. originally told the committee during his closed-door testimony that he was unaware of any other countries beside Russia offering to help elect his father president. However, it was reported later that he met before the election with an Israeli political strategist and George Nader, an emissary for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of whom were ready to help his father.

Coons asked Grassley to have Trump Jr. testify again publicly to correct the matter.

“Notably, even if the reporting is entirely accurate, it is not clear that anything in that article contradicts Mr. Trump, Jr.’s testimony, let alone materially so,” Grassley wrote back. “Your letter cited to [sic] five questions from the transcript, but the last three do not appear to be implicated by the content of the New York Times article. Even regarding the other two, while it is possible there could be contradictions, there are potentially innocuous explanations as well.”

Trump Jr. and Steele could be fined or imprisoned for up to eight years if they are found to have made false or fraudulent statements to Congress.

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