Fusion GPS bank records will blow the lid off Russian scandal
Kimberly Strassel in the Wall Street Journal (via Investor Village) gives us a preview of what the Fusion GPS bank records might reveal, as well as FBI documents on the Trump dossier that have finally been wrested from the bureau.
The Fusion GPS saga isn't over. The Clinton-DNC funding is but a first glimpse into the shady election doings concealed within that oppo-research firm's walls. We now know where Fusion got some of its cash, but the next question is how the firm used it. With whom did it work beyond former British spy Christopher Steele ? Whom did it pay? Who else was paying it?
The answers are in Fusion's bank records. Fusion has doggedly refused to divulge the names of its clients for months now, despite extraordinary pressure. So why did the firm suddenly insist that middleman law firm Perkins Coie release Fusion from confidentiality agreements, and spill the beans on who hired it?
Because there's something Fusion cares about keeping secret even more than the Clinton-DNC news – and that something is in those bank records. The release of the client names was a last-ditch effort to appease the House Intelligence Committee, which issued subpoenas to Fusion's bank and was close to obtaining records until Fusion filed suit last week. The release was also likely aimed at currying favor with the court, given Fusion's otherwise weak legal case. The judge could rule as early as Friday morning.
If the House wins, don't be surprised if those records include money connected to Russians. In the past Fusion has worked with Russians, including lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who happened to show up last year in Donald Trump Jr.'s office.
What should be of interest is how the Democrats will be able to continue the "Russia collusion" narrative if it turns out that the Russians assisted in developing a dossier that was designed solely to bring the Trump campaign down. If "every US intelligence agency" believes in Russian interference in the election to help Donald Trump win, how can they square that with Russian efforts to destroy his candidacy?
Any documents relating to the FBI's belief that the Trump dossier was so credible that it could help the FBI in its Russian collusion investigation will also be eye-opening. Speaker Ryan announced yesterday that the bureau had finally relented and would turn over their dossier files next week.
It might show the bureau was simply had. Don't forget that it wasn't until January the dossier became public, and the media started unearthing details. And the more ugly info that came out (Fusion, Democratic clients, intelligence-for-hire) the more former Obama officials seemed skeptical of it. In May, former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper said his people could never "corroborate" its "sourcing." In June, Mr. Comey derided it as "salacious and unverified."
Yet none of this jibes with reports that the FBI debated paying Mr. Steele to continue his work. Or that Mr. Comey was so convinced by the dossier that he pushed to have it included in the intelligence community's January report on Russian meddling. Imagine if it turns out the FBI was duped by a politically contracted document that might have been filled up by the Kremlin.
There's plenty yet to come with regard to the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Every senior Democrat is disclaiming knowledge of the dossier deal, leaving Perkins Coie holding the bag. But while it is not unusual for law firms to hire opposition-research outfits for political clients, it is highly unusual for a law firm to pay bills without a client's approval. Somewhere, Perkins Coie has documents showing who signed off on those bills, and they aren't protected by attorney-client privilege.
What the Democrats need is a distraction. They are trying to manufacture one by highlighting the "revelation" that Trump's data firm sought to work with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and/or the Russians to dig up dirt on Hillary. Assange didn't cooperate, and Democrats who think Cambridge Analytica and other data firms used by the Trump campaign colluded with Russia are just fishing.
Democrats are trying to dismiss the relevance of the Fusion GPS story.