Someone did indeed collude with the Russian government in an effort to influence American politics…but it wasn’t Donald Trump or his campaign.
During hearings today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hermitage Capital Management chief William Browder testified that notorious pro-Democrat consulting firm (and smear merchants) Fusion GPS had ties of its own to the Kremlin, far more direct and suspiciously-timed than anything Team Trump is even accused of.
Read and watch his exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) right here:
SEN. GRAHAM: So, I just want to absorb that for a moment. The group that did the dossier on President Trump hired this British spy, wound up getting it to the FBI. You believe they were working for the Russians?
BROWDER: And in the Spring and Summer of 2016 they were receiving money indirectly from a senior Russian government official.
SEN. GRAHAM: Okay. So, these are the people that were trying to undermine Donald Trump by showing the nefarious ties to Russia. Is that what you’re saying?
BROWDER: Well, what I’m saying with 100% certainty is that they were working to undermine the Magnitsky act and the timing of that.
SEN. GRAHAM: But, the Fusion GPS products apparently as they hired a guy to look into Trump?
The name William Browder is probably new to most readers; he was to me as well before today. The Atlantic, which has also published his prepared testimony in full, offers this summary of the financier’s relevance to the matter:
Sergei Magnitsky, an attorney Browder hired to investigate official corruption, died in Russian custody in 2009. Congress subsequently imposed sanctions on the officials it held responsible for his death, passing the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government retaliated, among other ways, by suspending American adoptions of Russian children.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who secured a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, was engaged in a campaign for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, and raised the subject of adoptions in that meeting. That’s put the spotlight back on Browder’s long campaign for Kremlin accountability, and against corruption—a campaign whose success has irritated Putin and those around him.
As TFPP reported earlier this month, Fusion GPS has had its hands on a number of shady left-wing propaganda efforts in recent years, including a bogus “dossier” full of absurd and false Trump “dirt” and efforts to discredit the undercover journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal baby parts side business.
More importantly, it’s believed that someone from Fusion is responsible for brokering the meeting between Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr., and the timing of both it and the DNC’s handling of its own hacking scandal have led some to speculate that the meeting may have been arranged for the express purpose of giving the Trump-Russia smear a foundation.
There are still a lot of puzzle pieces we don’t have, but more and more it’s looking like the Trump-Russia narrative was about not just smearing Republicans and explaining away Hillary Clinton’s career-defining defeat, but deflecting attention away from a real scandal.
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