Co-founder of firm behind Trump-Russia dossier pressed to testify

Conflicting reports emerged Thursday about whether the co-founder of the opposition research firm behind the infamous “dossier” allegedly detailing President Trump’s ties to Russia would testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week.

Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who helped found Fusion GPS in 2010, was asked to appear at a scheduled July 19 hearing about the role of foreign lobbying in last year’s presidential election.

However, Politico, citing two sources , reported that Simpson did not plan to testify. The report added that it was not immediately clear whether the committee planned to obligate Simpson to testify. By contrast, The Washington Time reported Thursday that Simpson would testify before the panel.

During the campaign, Fusion GPS contracted former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele to build a report on Trump’s fiscal and social connections in Russia. The dossier included a number of sordid allegations about Trump’s sexual proclivities, which the president has repeatedly denied.

On Wednesday, Fox News reported that Fusion GPS had ties to Russian efforts to undermine U.S. sanctions that were led by attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. Veselnitskaya was at the center of a political cyclone earlier the coming week after Donald Trump Jr. made public emails indicating that he had taken a meeting with Veselnitskaya on the promise of receiving injury information about Hillary Clinton.

Investment manager Bill Browder has alleged that Simpson was retained by Veselnitskaya’s client, Prevezon Holdings, as part of an attempt to repeal the Magnitsky Act, named for Sergei Magnitsky an attorney who was beaten to death in a Moscow prison after accusing Russian authorities of stealing millions of dollars through tax rebates and then laundering the money through New York banks.

Browder, a former Magnitsky client, told Fox News that Simpson was “using all of his media contacts to get a smear campaign working against Magnitsky and myself. He also seems to be able to get articles stopped. Simpson has unusual influence because he was often a big source to these reporters on other stories.

Browder has also claimed that “Veselnitskaya probably tried 12 different angles to get to Trump and also to Clinton for that matter” and said she had “every possible incentive to get to both sides since her goal was to get the Magnitsky Act repealed, and apparently not to influence the U.S. election.”

In a statement, Fusion said it had nothing to do with the Trump Jr. meeting.

Fusion GPS learned about this meeting from news reports and had no prior knowledge of it. Any assert that Fusion GPS arranged or facilitated this meeting in any way is utterly false, the statement read.

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