GOP Congressional investigators have written six letters to individuals or entities involved or thought to be involved in the funding, creation or distribution of the salacious and unverified “Trump-Russia dossier” believed to have been inappropriately used by the FBI, DOJ and Obama Administration in an effort to undermine Donald Trump as both a candidate and President of the United States.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SCS) wrote six Judiciary Committee letters requesting information from: John Podesta, Donna Brazille, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Robbie Mook, the DNC, and Hillary For America Chief Strategist Joel Benenson.
A brief refresher of facts and allegations:
- The DNC and Hillary Clinton’s PAC was revealed by The Washington Post to have paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS for the creation of a dossier that would be harmful to then-candidate Donald Trump.
- Fusion commissioned former UK spy Christopher Steele to assemble the dossier – which is comprised of a series of memos relying largely on Russian government sources to make allegations against Donald Trump and his associates.
- According to court filings, Fusion also worked with disgraced DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and hired his CIA-linked wife, Nellie Ohr, to assist in the smear campaign against Trump. Bruce Ohr was demoted from his senior DOJ position after it was revealed that he met with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson as well as Christopher Steele – then tried to cover it up.
- Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, denied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he knew about the dossier’s funding, while Clinton’s former spokesman, Brian Fallon, told CNN that Hillary likely had no idea who paid for it either.
- Current and past leaders of the DNC, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) also denied knowledge of the document’s funding.
- Podesta met with Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson the day after the Trump-Russia dossier was published by Buzzfeed News.
The Senate Judiciary Committee letters read in part:
In October 2017, the Washington Post reported that Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee had funded, via Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele’s creation of a series of memos relying largely on Russian government sources to make allegations against Donald Trump and his associates. A letter from the law firm Perkins Coie acknowledged that, ” [t]o assist in its representation of the DNC and Hillary for America, Perkins Coie engaged Fusion GPS in April of2016″ and that “the engagement concluded prior to the November 2016 Presidential election
the Committee has been investigating the FBI’ s relationship with Christopher Steele during this time his work was funded by Hillary for America and the DNC. The scope of our review includes the extent to which the FBI may have relied on information relayed by Mr. Steele in seeking judicial authorization for surveillance of individuals associated with Mr. Trump. It also includes whether any applications that may have been made for permission for such surveillance fully and accurately disclosed:
(1) the source of Fusion GPS’s and Mr. Steele’s funding;
(2) the degree to which his claims were or were not verified;
(3) the motivations of Mr. Steele, his clients, and his sources; and
( 4) representations about their contacts with the press.
The letter then goes on to list twelve questions – the last being a request for all communications between a list of 40 individuals or entities – including Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, Glenn Simpson and former CIA Director John Brennan.
The six recipients of letters have two weeks to comply with the following requests (note; “Hillary for America” is replaced by “the DNC” depending on who the letter is addressed to):
1. Prior to the Washington Post ‘s article in October of 2017, were you anyone else at Hillary for America aware of Mr. Steele’s efforts on behalf of the Clinton campaign to compile and distribute allegations about Mr. Trump and the Russian government? If so, when and how did you first learn of his activities on the campaign’s behalf? Please provide all related documents.
2. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America receive copies of any of the memoranda comprising Mr. Steele’s dossier prior to its publication by Buzzfeed in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
3. Regardless of whether you or your associates received copies of the actual memoranda, did you or anyone else at Hillary for America otherwise receive information contained in the dossier prior to Buzzfeed publishing the dossier in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
4. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America receive other memoranda written or forwarded by Mr. Steele regarding Mr. Trump and his associates that were not published as part of the Buzzfeed dossier? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
5. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America distribute outside of the organization any o f the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list who distributed the information, what was distributed, and to whom it was distributed. Please provide all related documents.
6. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America communicate with any government officials – whether in the executive, legislative or judicial branches – regarding the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents. References such as “anyone at Hillary for America” include all of Hillary for America’s officers, employees, contractors, subcontractors, advisors, volunteers, and, of course, Secretary Clinton herself. Mr. Podesta January 25, 2018
7. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America instruct, request, suggest, or imply that any individuals should pass along information to Mr. Steele or his intermediaries? Please provide all related documents.
8. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America communicate with members of the press regarding the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents.
9. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America inform Secretary Clinton of Mr. Steele’s efforts, whether by name or not, or of the allegations he was spreading? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents.
10. Were you or anyone else at Hillary for America aware of Mr. Steele’s contacts with the FBI or other government agencies prior to the 2016 election? If so, who? When and how did you or they become aware? Please provide all related documents.
11. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America encourage, whether directly or through intermediaries, Mr. Steele to initiate or continue contacts with the FBI or other government agencies? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents.
12. For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to: Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser; 4 Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; 5 Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; 6 Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; 7 Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan.
Letter to John Podesta (links to all can be found here):