Jan 09

The Russian Connection: Fusion GPS Transcript Released

Ranking member of the Seante Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), has released the full transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson closed-door testimony. Mr. Simpson had testifies to the committee back in August regarding the dossier that his company had compiled on Donald Trump.

During his testimony, Simpson detailed ways that money had been stolen from a bank in Kazakhstan, then laundered throughout multiple countries — before possibly being funneled in part to the Trump Soho hotel project.

At the center of the ordeal appears to be Felix Sater, a Trump-linked Russian-born businessman who in 1998 pleaded guilty to taking part in a mafia-related stock fraud scheme, and who is now cooperating with an international investigation into an alleged money laundering network.

“So there was a civil case, at least one civil case in New York involving — filed by the city of Almaty… against some alleged Kazakh money launderers,” Simpson testified. “I don’t remember exactly how, but we learned that — it wasn’t from Chris. We learned that Felix Sater had some connections with these people, and it’s been more recently in the media that he’s helping the government of Kazakhstan to recover this money. There’s been media reports that the money went into the Trump Soho or it went into the company that built the Trump Soho.”

Sater’s financial relationship with Trump dates back to at least 2003, when the Trump Organization rented out office space to Sater’s former company.

Even though Trump initially tried to distance himself from Sater after news of his criminal past came to light in 2007, he subsequently tapped Sater in 2010 to scout out real estate. Additionally, Sater presented clients with business cards that claimed he was a senior adviser to Trump, and his office was on the same floor as Trump’s office in Trump Tower.

Sater wasn’t the only figure with ties to organized crime that Simpson found working with Trump, either. As he told the Senate Intelligence Committee, as he also discussed another man involved in the Trump Soho project by the name of Arif Tevfik, who according to Simpson is ” an organized crime figure from Central Asia and he had an arrest for involvement in child prostitution.”

Former British spy, Christopher Steele, who did the research for the dossier, told Simpson that he alerted the FBI because he thought that the Donald Trump was being blackmailed by Russia.

One of the important points that the transcript confirmed was that the FBI already had intelligence confirming much of the dossier.

Steele first reached out to the FBI with his concerns in early July 2016, according to people familiar with the matter. When they re-interviewed him in early October, agents made it clear, according to Simpson’s testimony released Tuesday, that they believed some of what Steele had told them.

“My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization,” Simpson said. Using the parlance of spies and law enforcement officials, Simpson said the FBI had a “human source from inside the Trump organization.” Simpson added that his understanding was the source was someone who had volunteered information to the FBI or, in his words, “someone like us who decided to pick up the phone and report something.”

That “someone” was former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.

Read the entire transcript here (pdf)

1 comment

  1. The transcript is over 300 pages long, a lot to wade through. I’ll be adding to this story as it develops.

    On a side note, last week Sen. Grassley (R-IA), the chais of the Judiciary Committee had sent a letter to the Justice Department recommending that they bring criminal charges against Christopher Steele. There were no details about what charges could be brought since exposing the possibility that a US presidential candidate might be blackmailed by a foreign government is not a crime

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