Accompanying Veselnitskaya to the meeting was Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who had served in the Soviet Union’s military counterintelligence service. His role remains unclear, but evidence suggests he may have been the source Simpson was alluding to in December 2016 when Ohr recorded that Simpson told him, “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.”

Veselnitskaya hired Simpson in spring 2014 for work that lasted, according to Simpson’s Senate testimony, until “mid to late 2016.”

Fusion GPS assisted Veselnitskaya — representing Pyotr Katsyv and his son Denis, both Kremlin-tied businessmen — in her campaign to repeal U.S. legislation sanctioning Russian officials under the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which was named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian corruption whistleblower who died in police custody. Simpson, sources told RealClearInvestigations, was tasked with running a smear campaign against the driving force behind those sanctions, Chicago-born financier William Browder, who had employed Magnitsky.