Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson refused to answer key questions during his seven-hour closed-door appearance Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, Fox News reported Wednesday. But he did acknowledge that he personally discussed allegations in the Steele dossier with members of the media, even though he did not speak to the sources behind the allegations himself to verify whether they were true.
Moreover, he reportedly said that he leaked details from the dirty dossier to reporters right before the 2016 election because he was “upset” that then-FBI director James Comey had reopened the Clinton email case.
Simpson told investigators he never spoke to the underlying sources of the document, never traveled to Russia and did not verify the dossier beyond comparing the claims to “open source” media reporting.
The source said Simpson also told investigators he was “upset” when then FBI Director James Comey re-opened the Hillary Clinton email investigation in late October 2016, and Simpson wanted to push back.
Simpson’s attorneys negotiated the details of his appearance before the committee last week, agreeing to voluntarily testify rather than be subpoenaed.
“Throughout this entire year, the White House and its allies on the Hill and elsewhere have attempted at every turn to smear Fusion GPS because of its connection to the Steele dossier,” Simpson’s attorney Joshua Levy said Tuesday.
Levy admitted that Steele and Simpson had briefed reporters on the dossier last year, but insisted that neither Simpson nor Fusion GPS paid members of the media to publish stories of any kind.
Banker turned human rights activist Bill Browder has accused Fusion of hiring journalists to plant stories in the media.
Fusion, meanwhile, continued to fight the Intel Committee’s request for their bank records in court on Wednesday.
According to The Daily Caller, Steele has revealed in court papers in London that “he was directed by Fusion to brief reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Yahoo! News and The New Yorker in September 2016.”
Steele also gave an interview via Skype to Mother Jones reporter David Corn, who published an article about Steele’s allegations on Oct. 31, 2016.
Levy maintains that the dossier is legitimate.
“What they did do is they contracted with Christopher Steele…. This experienced British intelligence official came back with a report that now in hindsight looks quite accurate,” Levy said.
Fox News is standing by its report that Simpson met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya before and after the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials.
But Levy said Simpson was “shocked and surprised” when he discovered through the media that the Trump team had met with Veselnitskaya.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) called for a special counsel to investigate the dirty dossier, Uranium One, and the Clinton Foundation.