The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross caught this first. Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to a Democratic colleague saying that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony before his committee was “misleading.”
Grassley was responding to a letter in which Sen. Coons alleged testimony by Donald Trump Jr. was not consistent with a subsequent media report in the New York Times. On that count, Grassley replied, ” as we have seen all too frequently, reporting related to the Russia investigation and the Trump campaign has often been inaccurate.” He then pointed to another, similar conflict involving Glenn Simpson:
Glenn Simpson told the Committee in his interview that the FBI had told Steele it had a source inside the Trump campaign, and then after the Ranking Member unilaterally released that transcript, subsequent news reports seemed to contradict this statement, claiming that Mr. Steele was actually just referencing Mr. Papadopoulos’ statement to Alexander Downer. Given that the discrepancy was between testimony to the Committee and unsworn news reports, I simply wrote to Mr. Simpson’s attorney, referencing the potential discrepancy with the news reports, and asking if his client stood by his testimony. He replied that his client did stand by his testimony.
Grassley says Coons can do the same thing, i.e. ask Trump Jr. about the apparent discrepancy. He then goes on to point out another place where Simpson’s testimony to the committee appears to be completely at odds with the facts:
Of course, where we do have actual evidence of misleading testimony in Committee interviews, we should treat it seriously. For example, when the Committee staff interviewed Glenn Simpson in August of 2017, Majority staff asked him: “So you didn’t do any work on the Trump matter after the election date, that was the end of your work?” Mr. Simpson answered: “I had no client after the election.” As we now know, that was 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. As part of
the public release of the House Intelligence Committee’s majority report on its Russia investigation, the executive branch declassified some previously classified information from an
FBI document. That information detailed a March 2017 meeting between Daniel Jones and the FBI. Mr. Jones stated that he was leading a research and investigatory advisory organization called the Penn Quarter Group, which “had secured the services Steele, his associate [redacted], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.” Mr. Jones further told the FBI that the Penn Quarter Group “was being funded by 7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million.” The report noted that Mr. Jones stated he planned to push the information he obtained from Fusion and Steele to policymakers on Capitol Hill,
the press, and the FBI. As with statements to the Committee, statements to the FBI, like Mr. Jones’, are subject to 18 U.S.C. § 1001. 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’s letter concludes, “I would welcome your views on what actions you are willing to take with regard to Mr. Simpson’s testimony.” Perhaps Sen. Coons with dash off a reply before the end of the week. I’m curious myself what Democrats are willing to do about Simpson’s apparent, shall we say, misstatement. It doesn’t seem likely that he’d have forgotten about a client with a $50 million bankroll.