USA: Russian collusion probe

Investigations continue into possible Russian collusion by both Democrats and republicans in last year’s US election.

Washington Examiner: Fusion GPS paid journalists, court papers confirm

Newly filed court documents confirm that Fusion GPS, the company mostly responsible for the controversial “Trump dossier” on presidential candidate Donald Trump, made payments to three journalists between June 2016 until February 2017.

The revelation could be a breakthrough for House Republicans, who are exploring whether Fusion GPS used the dossier, which was later criticized for having inaccurate information on Trump, to feed anti-Trump stories to the press during and after the presidential campaign.

The three journalists who were paid by Fusion GPS are known to have reported on “Russia issues relevant to [the committee’s] investigation,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a court filing.

“Fusion GPS is a research firm set up by former investigative journalists,” Fusion GPS’s lawyer, Josh Levy, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

“As such, it sometimes works with contractors that have specialized skills seeking public information. Contractors are not permitted to publish any articles based on that work, and Fusion GPS does not pay journalists to write stories.”

Levy also dismissed the Republican idea that these payments were somehow aimed at or otherwise used to help get anti-Trump stories written by the press.

“This is simply another desperate attempt by the president’s political allies to discredit Fusion GPS’s work and divert attention from the question these committees are supposed to be investigating: the Trump campaign’s knowledge of Russian interference in the election,” Levy said.

But House Republicans still have their doubts. One of the documents filed by lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee said each of the three reporters who received payments had written about the Russia probe, which could indicate that reporters were using Fusion GPS’s work to write their stories.

The dossier has become one of the central components of the investigations being carried out by the House and Senate Intelligence committees, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee. Investigators are trying to determine how the dossier may have influence the intelligence agencies during the 2016 election.

The Washington Examinerreported that “FBI and Justice Department officials have told congressional investigators in recent days that they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier.”

And more on that from The Hill: Mueller investigating Kushner’s communication with foreign leaders

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators are looking into White House senior adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his contact with foreign leaders, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller’s team is probing Kushner’s involvement in the controversy surrounding a United Nations resolution passed in December 2016 that condemned Israeli settlement construction.

Trump, who was president-elect at the time, called for the U.S. to veto the resolution, saying it was “extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

The U.N. Security Council passed the resolution days later as the U.S. abstained from vetoing it.

The newspaper reports that Israeli officials reached out to several top officials involved in Trump’s transition, including Kushner and former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, and that Mueller’s probe is asking questions about those overtures.

Mueller’s investigators are also looking into Kushner’s role in setting up meetings and communication with foreign leaders during Trump’s transition, according to the newspaper.

Investigations into possible collusion seem likely to take some time.

The end result may be that Russia tried to influence the election, but both Republicans and Democrats were trying to use Russian resources to gain an advantage.

US politics looks like a dirty business all round.

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 23, 2017

    Mueller’s investigation looks like a dirty business all round.

    Reply
  2. Missy

     /  November 23, 2017

    Oh the irony of the US investigating Russian collusion in US politics when the US is now being accused of the same thing in Hungary.

    The US State Department is funding rural media outlets in Hungary to train and equip journalists in defense of an independent media it sees subject to growing pressure and intimidation. This is seen in Hungary as an attempt by the US to fund anti Government propaganda.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hungary-us-media/u-s-launches-media-fund-for-hungary-to-aid-press-freedom-idUSKBN1DD21C

    The Hungarian Foreign Ministry summoned the US Charges d’affairs for an explanation and to advise them that the Hungarian Government considers this political interference.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hungary-us-media/hungary-summons-u-s-envoy-over-media-funding-plan-idUSKBN1DF182

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/15/the-associated-press-hungary-accuses-us-of-meddling-by-funding-objective-media.html

    Hungary are sensitive to outside interference in domestic matters mostly as a result of their experiences of communism and the influence of the USSR, and more recently they are not happy with the interference in domestic matters by the EU.

    Before the usual suspects get stuck in, I understand that this is a different situation, however, it goes to show how easily meetings, finance, or media influence, can be perceived as political interference when coming from official agencies.

    Reply
  3. David

     /  November 23, 2017

    Cant see why Mueller would investigate something that happened a month after the election, looks a bit like click bait.
    Still no evidence against Trump but the Democrats paid the Russian affiliated Fusion GPS 7 million for the dodgy dossier, the Clinton Foundation got 145 million from the Russians and Podesta,s brother was lining his pockets from the Russian as well. The FBI still sits on there hands but that could be because their boss McCabes wife took money from the Clintons for her election bid.
    The Democrats are starting to distance themselves from the Clintons, Bills accusers are now being acknowledged, the spin is Hilary bought and took over the party in order to rig the primary against Bernie. The stench coming off Russian collusion with the Clintons is starting to get a bit much for many.

    Reply

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