The company that created the debunked dossier used to frame the Trump–Russia conspiracy was itself working for the Russian government. And while that company, Fusion GPS, was working for a Russian government official, it spread the dossier among members of the U.S. government, the U.S. intelligence community, and news organizations around the world.
William Browder, leader of the Global Magnitsky Justice Movement and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, testified in July before the Senate judiciary committee that Fusion GPS had received money from the Russian government, and said in an Aug. 15 letter that he continues to stand by that testimony.
The open letter from Browder was addressed to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and revealed more details on Browder’s position and evidence.
“Fusion GPS was paid by the Katsyv family, which is headed by a high-ranking Russian government official named Pyotr Katsyv,” Browder wrote.
He said, “Pyotr Katsyv is a senior member of the Putin regime. Currently, he is vice president of Russian Railways, a huge Russian transportation company, in which the Russian government is the sole shareholder. He was previously for many years vice chair of the government and minister of transport of the Moscow region (a province larger in size than the Netherlands).”
It is still unclear who paid Fusion GPS to create its anti-Trump dossier.
The crux of the Russia conspiracy is that Moscow spread disinformation meant to sway voters during the elections, and several investigations have been looking into—and have still failed to show—whether President Donald Trump had any connection to the alleged disinformation campaign.
By spreading and reporting on the dossier, the Obama administration, the Clinton campaign, and key left-wing news outlets spread disinformation prepared by a Russia-linked company.
Browder noted that “the Russian government in some cases works directly and openly with Western PR agents,” but in other cases it “works through proxies, like the Katsyv family.”
The son of Pyotr Katsyv, Denis Katsyv, was allegedly also paying Natalia Veselnitskaya—the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June 2016—and which news outlets have likewise used to further advance the claim of an alleged Trump–Russia conspiracy.
Veselnitskaya, Fusion GPS, and the Katsyv family were all tied to the Russian government’s campaign to repeal Magnitsky Act sanctions on Russia. The act sanctions Russian officials who have been involved in politically motivated killings, beatings, and torture.
Browder said, “Fusion GPS was involved in the anti-Magnitsky campaign in Washington DC in the spring-summer of 2016,” and noted that “the anti-Magnitsky campaign was a major foreign policy priority of the Russian government.”
Trump noted the significance of these connections after they were revealed in a Senate hearing on July 29 in a tweet. He linked to a Fox & Friends segment, which stated “Firm behind anti-Trump dossier also worked for Russia, Senate witness says.”
“In other words, Russia was against Trump in the 2016 Election—and why not, I want strong military & low oil prices. Witch Hunt!” Trump wrote.
A leading expert on Russian disinformation operations, Ronald Rychlak, told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that the contents of the Fusion GPS dossier have the fingerprints of a Russian disinformation operation. He said, “It does seem to fit with some of the crazy ideas that have come from the high levels within the Russian government.”
He added that, from the position of Russian interests, their goal was unlikely to get any single U.S. candidate into office, but instead to “have Americans question the outcome of the election.” He stated the current Trump–Russia conspiracy “was a nice way to sort of throw a monkey wrench into the American system—to make Americans doubt, and to discredit the whole system.”
The Fusion GPS dossier on Trump was debunked after Buzzfeed published its contents in full on Jan. 10. It was also revealed that its claims were collected by former British spy Christopher Steele from two Russian sources—who he never spoke with directly, and who are both currently active in the Kremlin.
Despite this, however, the dossier was used as evidence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report alleging that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections, and which set in motion the conspiracy in which Trump is alleged to have played a part. Former President Barack Obama rushed to have the report released during his transition out of office, and the narrative it helped create has been used by the Democrat-led opposition to undermine Trump’s presidency.
The 25-page report on Jan. 6 from the ODNI, which collected analyses from the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency (NSA), made broad accusations that pulled from the debunked dossier—accusations they were otherwise unable to verify.
“We did not include evidence in our report—and I say ‘our,’ that’s NSA, FBI, and CIA, with my office, the director of national intelligence—that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians,” said former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, during an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on March 5.
Browder’s letter also backed his previous testimony, in which he alleged that Fusion GPS may have violated the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to register as a foreign agent of the Russian government.
Among his many points, Browder notes that at the same time Fusion GPS put together the anti-Trump dossier, “Fusion GPS was paid for their work by the family of a senior Russian government official (the Katsyv family), who coordinated their activities with other members of the Putin regime.”