Fusion GPS to face grilling under oath about 'Steele Dossier'

The left long has recognized that lawsuits can be more effective than government actions in achieving its goals.  Different standards of evidence and different protections for defendants can make a lawsuit a better tool for uncovering confidential information than a formal inquiry from government officials.  Fusion GPS, the firm at the heart of the "dossier" used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign and presidency, will now be forced to submit to a deposition under oath and answer potentially explosive questions.

The Daily Caller's ace reporter Chuck Ross writes:

Representatives of Fusion GPS must answer a broad array of questions about the opposition research firm's role in creating, investigating and disseminating the infamous Steele dossier, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro issued the decision Tuesday in a defamation lawsuit a Russian tech executive filed against BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

The trial is scheduled to begin in Miami in November.

Ungaro ruled that attorneys for the executive, Aleksej Gubarev, can ask Fusion GPS representatives in a deposition about the firm's dossier clients, its efforts to verify the dossier, its decision to hire dossier author Christopher Steele and its interactions with government officials and media outlets, including BuzzFeed.

Fusion GPS has claimed that commercial secrecy and First Amendment protections should shield it from answering certain questions.  Judge Ungaro did not buy it:

Ungaro largely rejected Fusion's First Amendment objection, saying the firm's business relationships with its clients "are not protected from disclosure by the First Amendment even though the opposition research it conducts on behalf of clients may be political in nature."

The litigation is based on mentions of the plaintiff in the dossier that was published by BuzzFeed:

Gubarev is mentioned in the last of 17 memos in the dossier.  The final memo, dated Dec. 13, 2016, claims Gubarev's web hosting companies used viruses and malware to infiltrate the DNC's computer networks.  The dossier also alleges Gubarev worked for Russian intelligence services.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the allegations and claims that BuzzFeed was negligent in failing to investigate the claims before publishing the dossier.

Aside from embarrassing Fusion GPS and the FISA warrant writers with the lack of checking of the sensationalist allegations, another point may come to light with politically embarrassing implications:

Fusion GPS has denied being BuzzFeed's source.  It has been widely speculated that a longtime associate of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain provided the dossier to BuzzFeed.  David Kramer, a former Department of State official, was with McCain when the Republican was first told about the dossier by Sir Andrew Wood, the former U.K. ambassador to Russia and an associate of Steele's. 

In late November 2016, Kramer traveled to London on McCain's behalf to meet with Steele.  Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson has testified to Congress that he and Steele discussed whether to provide the dossier to Kramer.  Simpson told Congress he had long known Kramer and trusted him with the dossier.

McCain provided an incomplete copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9, 2016.  McCain did not know at the time that Comey and the FBI had already reviewed the Steele reports.

Let the sun shine in!

The left long has recognized that lawsuits can be more effective than government actions in achieving its goals.  Different standards of evidence and different protections for defendants can make a lawsuit a better tool for uncovering confidential information than a formal inquiry from government officials.  Fusion GPS, the firm at the heart of the "dossier" used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign and presidency, will now be forced to submit to a deposition under oath and answer potentially explosive questions.

The Daily Caller's ace reporter Chuck Ross writes:

Representatives of Fusion GPS must answer a broad array of questions about the opposition research firm's role in creating, investigating and disseminating the infamous Steele dossier, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro issued the decision Tuesday in a defamation lawsuit a Russian tech executive filed against BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

The trial is scheduled to begin in Miami in November.

Ungaro ruled that attorneys for the executive, Aleksej Gubarev, can ask Fusion GPS representatives in a deposition about the firm's dossier clients, its efforts to verify the dossier, its decision to hire dossier author Christopher Steele and its interactions with government officials and media outlets, including BuzzFeed.

Fusion GPS has claimed that commercial secrecy and First Amendment protections should shield it from answering certain questions.  Judge Ungaro did not buy it:

Ungaro largely rejected Fusion's First Amendment objection, saying the firm's business relationships with its clients "are not protected from disclosure by the First Amendment even though the opposition research it conducts on behalf of clients may be political in nature."

The litigation is based on mentions of the plaintiff in the dossier that was published by BuzzFeed:

Gubarev is mentioned in the last of 17 memos in the dossier.  The final memo, dated Dec. 13, 2016, claims Gubarev's web hosting companies used viruses and malware to infiltrate the DNC's computer networks.  The dossier also alleges Gubarev worked for Russian intelligence services.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the allegations and claims that BuzzFeed was negligent in failing to investigate the claims before publishing the dossier.

Aside from embarrassing Fusion GPS and the FISA warrant writers with the lack of checking of the sensationalist allegations, another point may come to light with politically embarrassing implications:

Fusion GPS has denied being BuzzFeed's source.  It has been widely speculated that a longtime associate of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain provided the dossier to BuzzFeed.  David Kramer, a former Department of State official, was with McCain when the Republican was first told about the dossier by Sir Andrew Wood, the former U.K. ambassador to Russia and an associate of Steele's. 

In late November 2016, Kramer traveled to London on McCain's behalf to meet with Steele.  Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson has testified to Congress that he and Steele discussed whether to provide the dossier to Kramer.  Simpson told Congress he had long known Kramer and trusted him with the dossier.

McCain provided an incomplete copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9, 2016.  McCain did not know at the time that Comey and the FBI had already reviewed the Steele reports.

Let the sun shine in!