Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch have a book coming out on Tuesday, November 26. The leftist media, no doubt, will hail it as a masterful account of how Fusion GPS – the research firm founded by these two former journalists – bravely sought to expose the wrongdoings of then-candidate Donald Trump and prevent him from becoming president.
The book’s title is Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump. A confessional title, perhaps, since what Fusion GPS engaged in during the 2016 election could certainly be described as a crime in progress.
Simpson and Fritsch are entitled to tell their side of the story, but all the most important details are already well known and documented: Their company was hired by a law firm working for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. They contracted former British spy, Christopher Steele, to gather dirt on Trump that could be used to sabotage his campaign.
Steele then, essentially, took them for a ride. He put together a group of memos detailing all kinds of salacious allegations about Clinton’s opponent – all of which came from media articles or from Russian intelligence sources. Steele himself eventually admitted that he could not vouch for the credibility of any of those allegations but, as he told a Department of Justice official, he was desperate to ensure Trump did not become president.
The Real Russian Interference
Steele himself was almost certainly hoodwinked by Russian officials or former intelligence officers who may have sought revenge upon him for the years he worked in Moscow, spying for the U.K. The Russians likely also jumped at the chance to disseminate rumors and lies designed to further muddy the waters of the U.S. presidential election.
The information Steele gathered and, with the help of Simpson and others at Fusion GPS, shopped around to the U.S. media and the FBI, became commonly known as the Steele dossier. At the time, most American journalists who studied the dossier declined to publish any of its contents because nothing had been corroborated. Lack of veracity was not something that concerned a group of Trump-haters at the FBI, though, who used Steele’s information to obtain a warrant to surveil a U.S. citizen, Carter Page, who was, at the time, a volunteer advisor to the Trump campaign.
Page’s life was ruined by the FBI and its claims that he was a Russian asset but, to this day, he has never been charged with a crime. The Steele dossier became a central prop in a full-scale but ultimately pointless FBI counterintelligence operation and then a special counsel investigation.
It is unlikely that the Fusion GPS book will dwell on the greatest irony of the entire affair: Simpson, Fritsch, Steele, the FBI officials, and the special counsel, Robert Mueller, were all chasing Russian interference in the 2016 election while they themselves were played by the Russians.
Even Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official and one of the Democrats’ star witnesses in the impeachment investigation, testified – behind closed doors – that Steele’s dossier was likely filled with Russian disinformation. Much to the annoyance of the Fusion GPS founders, Hill described it as a “rabbit hole” – implying, apparently, that it could draw in the gullible and send them chasing down tunnels that ultimately lead nowhere.
The truth, though, is far more unsettling than a mere case of gullibility: The Fusion GPS founders, Steele, and a number of senior FBI officials were so hell-bent on bringing down Donald Trump that they wanted to believe the nonsense Steele had gathered. How close will Fritsch and Simpson come, in their book, to acknowledging that?
Read more from Graham J Noble.