The heat is turning up on opposition research firm Fusion GPS, including a lawsuit filed this week by California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes and scrutiny as part of the Trump-Russia investigation.
The firm played an important role in two meetings in Trump Tower in June 2016 and January 2017 that featured in recent high-profile reports by special counsel Robert Mueller and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. And more revelations about the controversial firm are expected to emerge in Horowitz’s impending report on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the FBI and the Justice Department.
Mueller’s report on Russian election interference detailed how the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., campaign chairman Paul Manafort, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a number of Russians, including Fusion GPS-linked attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, was pitched to the Trump campaign as an opportunity to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton. But Veselnitskaya pulled a bait-and-switch and turned the meeting into a presentation on Russia’s desire to repeal the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law hated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which sanctioned Russia over the death of Russian corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Fusion GPS, hired by Veselnitskaya in 2014, provided her with anti-Magnitsky research for years.
And Horowitz’s report on FBI Director James Comey’s mishandling of his memos explained how the January 2017 Trump Tower meeting of President-elect Trump and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and Comey involved briefing Trump on their assessment on Russian interference. Yet Horowitz also laid out details showing Comey’s one-on-one meeting with Trump after everyone else left wasn’t just about informing Trump of allegations from British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s Fusion GPS-funded dossier, but was treated by Comey and the FBI as a chance to gather information in their Trump-Russia investigation.