A co-founder of Fusion GPS — the firm that produced the Trump dossier — met with a Russian lawyer just hours before she met with Donald Trump Jr. last year, then again after the meeting, according to Fox News.
The revelation raises questions over Fusion GPS’s potential role in the Russian lawyer’s meeting with Trump Jr. Fusion GPS was hired two months earlier, in April 2016, by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to look into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to Fox News, Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS co-founder and former Wall Street Journal reporter, had met with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom just hours before the meeting with the Trump campaign at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. Court records, email correspondence, and published reports corroborate their presence together, the report said.
The source told Fox News that Simpson and Veselnitskaya were together after the meeting, too, although it’s not clear how soon thereafter.
The report also said that around the time of the Trump Tower meeting, Fusion GPS was paid by a law firm for work on behalf of a “Kremlin-linked oligarch.” At the same time, Fusion GPS was paying ex-British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump using his Russian contacts.
Trump’s critics have pointed to that meeting between the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the Trump campaign as a smoking gun showing collusion, since the lawyer had promised dirt on Clinton in order to set up the meeting, despite no evidence of follow-up meetings, or any information exchanged.
Earlier this year, British investment banker Bill Browder testified that Veselnitskaya had hired Simpson and Fusion GPS through BakerHostetler to run a smear campaign against him on behalf of the Russians. He was championing the passage of the Magnitsky Act, named after a Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who had uncovered fraud and was tortured to death.
Veselnitskaya and Simpson lobbied against the Magnitsky Act, which would sanction Russian businesses. The act passed, and Russia banned Russian adoptions by Americans in retaliation.
Last month, Fusion GPS executives plead the fifth after being subpoenaed to testify before the House intelligence committee.
After the committee subpoenaed the firm’s financial records, lawyer Marc Elias with Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, released Fusion GPS from a confidentiality agreement and admitted that he had hired Fusion GPS to conduct research that became the Trump dossier.
Lawyers representing Fusion GPS and Veselnitskaya did not respond to requests for comment sent by Fox News on Friday.
Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million, and Fusion GPS paid Steele $168,000, the report said. Steele’s research was shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.
The Washington Free Beacon, funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, had originally hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research into Trump and other Republican candidates, but stopped paying after the GOP primaries and before Steele was hired.
“What we are finding out is that there is a lot of Russian influence in Washington, and a lot of money flowing in to influence our political process in Washington,” Marc Thiessen, a Washington Post columnist and former Bush administration official, told Fox News.
“It’s going into Hlilary Clinton. It’s going to Fusion GPS. It’s going into a lobbying campaign up on Capitol Hill against Magnitsky.”