WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley today sought clarity from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson following reports that he mischaracterized information in his bipartisan interview with committee investigators. Grassley is asking Simpson, through his attorney, whether his statement to the Committee is accurate, in light of the contradictory press reports.
In the transcript of Simpson’s August, 2017, interview, which was released earlier this week, Simpson stated that Christopher Steele had told him that the FBI had a voluntary walk-in source from inside the Trump organization or campaign, which was then reported as fact by media outlets. Later media reports
, citing “a source close to Fusion GPS,” stated that was a mischaracterization by Simpson, and that he was referencing the Australian diplomat who reportedly provided information about a conversation with George Papadopoulos.
In a letter today, Grassley asked Simpson and his attorney whether his original statement to the Committee is true. If it is not true, Grassley asked how they became aware of the inaccuracy in the transcript and whether that occurred before or after they reviewed the transcript for roughly 14 hours.
January 11, 2018
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
Glenn R. Simpson
1700 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Joshua Levy, Esq.
Cunningham Levy Muse LLP
1250 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Levy:
Following the release of the transcript of Mr. Simpson’s interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, several media outlets wrote stories citing his claim that the FBI had told Mr. Steele it had a voluntary walk-in source inside the Trump organization or campaign. Reporters, however, subsequently indicated that “sources close to Fusion” said Mr. Simpson had “mischaracterized” that to the Committee.
Rather than “a human source from inside the Trump organization” who was “someone like us who decided to pick up the phone and report something,” as your client stated in his interview,
sources close to Fusion reportedly told journalists that Mr. Simpson was actually referencing the Australian diplomat who reportedly passed along information in late July 2016 about a conversation with George Papadopoulos.
Given that sources close to your client are reportedly trying to correct the public record regarding his statements to the Committee about this purported source, the question arises as to whether or when your client plans to correct the Committee’s record. As his attorney, you spent roughly 14 hours reviewing and taking detailed notes on the transcript between October 5 and November 16, 2017. Yet neither you nor he has attempted to correct this alleged mischaracterization in his statements.
Please respond to the following questions by January 18, 2018:
If it is true that your client’s statement to the Committee was a mischaracterization, when and how did he and/or you come to realize that it was a mischaracterization?
If it is true that your client’s statement to the Committee was a mischaracterization, why did you not attempt to correct your client’s statement as soon as you and/or he realized it was not accurate?
Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Davis of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225.
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
https://twitter.com/KenDilanianNBC/status/950803383073558529 (“A source close to Fusion GPS tells me there was no walk-in source – that was a mischaracterization by Simpson of the Australian diplomat tip about Papadopoulos.”); https://twitter.com/KenDilanianNBC/status/950833823692083200 (“A second source confirms: Steele was not told about a walk-in source. That was a mistake. He was referring to Papadopoulos, via the Australian diplomat.”); see also
Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Marshall Cohen, Fusion Co-Founder: Dossier Author Feared Trump was Being Blackmailed
, CNN (Jan. 10, 2018) (“A source close to Fusion GPS clarified that Simpson’s mention of an internal Trump campaign source actually refers to the Australian ambassador who contacted the FBI to pass on information that he received from then-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.”).
Simpson Interview Transcript 174-75, 195-96.