Details on the Making of Trump Russia Dossier Are Disclosed

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from The Wall Street Journal,

In August 2017 testimony, Fusion GPS founder defended work of former British intelligence official in compiling research.

In congressional testimony released Tuesday, a founder of a research firm behind a controversial dossier about Donald Trump provided a detailed account of how the investigation began and how that information ended up in the hands of federal law-enforcement agencies during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The 35 page-dossier, which contain salacious and unverified material about Mr. Trump and Russia, circulated widely in law enforcement, intelligence and media circles in late 2016 and early 2017. The dossier has taken center stage in the investigation into Russian activity during the election and whether anyone from the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

In the August 2017 testimony, Glenn Simpson defended the work of his firm Fusion GPS and the former British intelligence official he hired to gather information. That intelligence official, Christopher Steele, ended up writing a series of memos on Mr. Trump’s purported ties to Russia that make up the dossier.

Mr. Trump has called the dossier “fake” and “discredited,” and has denied any collusion with Russia by his campaign. He also has denied having any business ties or debts to Russian interests or the Russian government. Moscow has denied interfering with the election.

“It’s political rhetoric to call the dossier phony,” Mr. Simpson testified. “The memos are field reports of real interviews that Chris’s network conducted and there’s nothing phony about it. We can argue about what’s prudent and what’s not, but it’s not a fabrication.”

According to Mr. Simpson’s testimony, Mr. Steele first approached Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in July 2016, believing the information he had gathered suggested the possibility that Mr. Trump was vulnerable to blackmail. Mr. Steele met with FBI officials again in Rome in September, Mr. Simpson said.

In one meeting, Mr. Steele was told the FBI had an internal source in the Trump campaign, according to Mr. Simpson. People familiar with the matter now say Fusion believes the FBI was referring to George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser who pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI.

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