In Defense of Subpoena for Fusion Bank Records, HPSCI Alleges Fusion Paid Journalists

The House Intelligence Committee continues to fight with Fusion GPS over records and testimony. Most specifically, they continue to fight over how many of Fusion’s bank records it should have to turn over. Yesterday, HPSCI submitted a filing that suggests a number of fairly inflammatory things about Fusion’s work, most notably that they may have paid up to four journalists and/or researchers besides Steele in conjunction in relation to topics relating to Russia, if not the dossier.

HPSCI is currently asking for:

The context in the declaration from Scott Glabe suggests the following about these requests.

The 30 initial transactions would relate to Perkins Coie and BakerHostetler, as well as the payments to Steele’s firm, though a redaction elsewhere suggests there are 6 counterparties total that Fusion has already provided records on.

HPSCI is interested in the law firms because of the way Fusion’s true clients (the Democrats and Prevezon, for example) have had law firms pay Fusion to hide their role in the project. It wants to know if those 8 law firms served as cut-outs for other Russian related work.

It is interested in Business A because it might pertain in some way to “links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other U.S. person,” particularly some policy matter at issue in the inquiry/reflected in the dossier. HPSCI is interested in Business B because it may pertain to collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

With regard to journalists or researchers, Fusion has apparently already provided records related to one journalist or researcher. HPSCI is seeking records pertaining to three more. Given the reference, below, which seems to suggest an earlier redacted reference to Mother Jones, I don’t rule out the earlier one being David Corn or someone else from Mother Jones, and MoJo has a specific effort associated with Russia coverage. The 8 transactions mentioned must pertain to payments from Beacon, which funded the early work on the dossier.

The 12 transactions appear to involve payments from Yahoo to Fusion, based on the following passage:

As Mr. Steele has acknowledged in other dossier-related litigation, in addition to sharing memos comprising the dossier with Mother Jones, in fall 2016 he met with at least five major media outlets at Fusion GPS’ direction. Those outlets included Yahoo News, which on September 23, 2016, reported purported meetings between Trump campaign advisor Carter Page and specified high-ranking Russian officials, attributed to a single “well-placed Western intelligence service.” Substantively similar allegations were contained in the dossier. Given Fusion GPS’ demonstrated patter of dossier-related engagement with media outlets, the Requested Records include records from [line and a half redacted].

Mind you, I don’t understand why Yahoo would be paying Fusion if they were at the same time publishing its dirt. But the allegation is of particular interest given the way Michael Isikoff’s September story has been a central self-referential piece of “proof” dossier boosters always rely on to prove its value.

First, note that Sipher relies on “renowned investigative journalist” Michael Isikoff to validate some of these claims.

Renowned investigative journalist Michael Isikoff reported in September 2016 that U.S. intelligence sources confirmed that Page met with both Sechin and Divyekin during his July trip to Russia.

[snip]

A June 2017 Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff described the Administration’s efforts to engage the State Department about lifting sanctions “almost as soon as they took office.”

Among the six journalists Steele admits he briefed on his dossier is someone from Yahoo.

The journalists initially briefed at the end of September 2016 by [Steele] and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction were from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker and CNN. [Steele] subsequently participated in further meetings at Fusion’s instruction with Fusion and the New York Times, the Washington Post and Yahoo News, which took place in mid-October 2016.

That the Yahoo journalist is Isikoff would be a cinch to guess. But we don’t have to guess, because Isikoff made it clear it was him in his first report after the dossier got leaked.

Another of Steele’s reports, first reported by Yahoo News last September, involved alleged meetings last July between then-Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page and two high-level Russian operatives, including Igor Sechin — a longtime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin who became the chief executive of Rosneft, the Russian energy giant.

In other words, Sipher is engaging in navel-gazing here, citing a report based on the Steele dossier, to say it confirms what was in the Steele dossier.

Fusion is claiming a First Amendment interest in keeping this all hidden. Me, I’m actually a bit interested in which journalists and researchers were getting and giving Fusion money.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

10 replies
  1. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    I’m not interested in finding out who did and paid what to whom in the completely corrupt relationship between professional “journalism” and corrupt politicians. And I am less interested in using such an “investigation” to throw a ton of obfuscating horse shit out to daze and confuse those who are tryin’ to keep their eyes on the prize in this fight against the fascist coup that threatens to eat our children and their future.

  2. orionATL says:

    “… HPSCI is interested in the law firms because of the way Fusion’s true clients (the Democrats and Prevezon, for example) have had law firms pay Fusion to hide their role in the project. It wants to know if those 8 law firms served as cut-outs for other Russian related work… ”

    the first question i’d want answered about any hpsci inquiries is who is responsible for making them:

    devin nunes free lancing?

    trey gowdy?

    or trey gowdy and adam schiff cooperating?

    a second basic question would be with regard to “cut-outs for other russian related work”. exactly what is meant by “russian related work” . there is a difference between trying to discover what the russian gov did to influence the 2016 election and trying to discover what the democrats did to discover if trump was cooperating with russians.

    one involves the russians, the other involves the democratic party. the existence of the steele dossier does not justify mixing the two up.

    hpsci being under republican control, it seems highly unlikely that nunes – the allegedly recused ghost chairman of hpsci – has any interest at all in finding out if trump incited or collaborated with russians to effect the election.

    gowdy might be a tad straighter, but i’d doubt much.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      OMG “It’s the Democrats it’s the Democrats it’s…”  Is there anyone who doesn’t understand that this is an internecine fight among the oligarchs behind their proxies and political parties??!! If Mrs. Clinton and her toadie husband had not hollowed out the entire structure of the Democratic Party Obama wouldn’t have had to go outside the party for his election and re-election at the expense of down ballot and the states. And of course after being beaten Mrs. Clinton would have disappeared and there would have been a chance to restructure a progressive operation. So no I ain’t interested in who was investigating the Ruskies.

  3. Karl Kolchak says:

    Given how unhinged Mother Jones has become in recent years, it would not surprise me one bit if they were one of the illustrious four. By lowering their standards to that of Faux News and Rush Limbaugh, the current editors of MJ have totally destroyed that publications once sterling reputation. Mark Ames and Ken Silverstein have pretty well summarized what MJ has become:

    http://exiledonline.com/russia-blog-7-when-mother-jones-was-investigated-for-spreading-kremlin-disinformation/

    http://washingtonbabylon.com/hack-list-2017-putintrump-org-formerly-known-as-mother-jones-makes-its-case/

  4. Rugger9 says:

    Actually, Mother Jones is anything but a Putin-controlled operation. Your handlers must be mighty scared to have you start up this screed. Thanks for trolling by Night Stalker, next time pick a better name.

    • J-Mann says:

      ???  Logic- and reading comprehension-fail.

      Links point out how craptastic MJ has become by spreading RussiaRussiaRussia! hype; not that MJ is in the bag for Putin.  Jeebus.  The 1st link gives ironic perspective re Reagan-era Rooskie hunt which leaned on MJ for being “Kremlin disinformation dupes.”

      Best to read the information presented before posting your 180-degree wrong dismissive opinion.

  5. Willis Warren says:

    So, it’s possible that Fusion was, at the same time, paying Akhmetshin to be at the June 9th meeting to overturn Magnitsky, and paying Steele to get dirt on the Russians.

    What a world.

    And paying journalists to smear Carter Page????  This will destroy what credibility Yahoo never had.

    • bmaz says:

      It is unfathomable that anybody would pay to smear Carter Page. That idiot is a walking talking self destructive bomb. No pay needed.

Comments are closed.