It takes some kind of convoluted thinking to turn Glenn Simpson into a victim.
After all, the Fusion GPS chief is one of a handful of people primarily responsible for concocting and peddling the Trump-Russia election collusion hoax for the past three years. There is not an investigation or a news article or a human target related to the Trump-Russia scheme that doesn’t have Simpson’s fingerprints on it. When the complete story of the biggest political scandal in U.S. history finally is written, Glenn Simpson will be the prologue.
But his pals in the elite media see Simpson as a martyr, a victim of congressional investigators hounding an innocent guy just trying to make a buck. News coverage about Simpson’s refusal to answer questions on Capitol Hill bordered on laughable—if not satirical—and willfully overlooked big parts of Simpson’s tale of self-inflicted woe.
Members of both the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees called Simpson back this week to testify amid new information that disputes his previous statements to Congress. After defying their request, he was served with a subpoena to appear; for nearly an hour on Tuesday morning, Simpson invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Now before I get too deep into the headlines from the elite media, let’s think back just six months ago when Michael Cohen took the Fifth in connection with the Stormy Daniels lawsuit. Reporters and pundits exploded with glee, insisting Cohen’s move was a “huge development” that could lead to more trouble for the president.
But Simpson’s constitutional tactic, on the other hand, was met either with sympathy or silence. The Washington Post downplayed Simpson’s appearance simply as part of the “probe into how FBI and Justice Department officials conducted themselves during investigations of Trump’s Russia ties and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.” (Nah, Washington Post, Congress actually is trying to figure out who lied, who misled a FISA court, who illegally leaked classified information and who was part of an unprecedented, politically-motivated FBI investigation into a presidential campaign. These are, like, real crimes, not trivial matters like whether or not they returned emails on time. But whatevs.)
The Post suggested committee members and President Trump were attacking Bruce Ohr—a top Justice Department official whose wife, Nellie, worked on the anti-Trump opposition research for Fusion GPS before the election—in an attempt to “discredit the probe into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.” Fusion hired Mrs. Ohr, according to the Post, because she is a “Russia-history expert,” not because she’s married to a top Justice Department official who also happens to be pals with dossier author and Fusion lackey Christopher Steele.
Simpson’s attorney, Joshua Levy, was quoted extensively in the Post piece. Levy compared the House investigations to McCarthyism and called them an “utter sham.” Without irony and with a straight face, Levy complained that the committee “has destroyed the reputations and careers of prosecutors and agents, it has gratuitously exposed personal aspects of their private lives, it has levied false accusations of criminal wrongdoing against them, and this mistreatment is no different as applied to our client.”
The Hill even tagged Levy’s taunt in its headline, “Fusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth in Congress, attorney cries McCarthyism.” Reporter Molly Hooper didn’t even bother mentioning Simpson’s ties to the Ohrs or how the dossier was used to secure a FISA order to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Dr. Carter Page. Instead, Hooper chalks it all up to “action[s] at the FBI that some Republicans say demonstrate bias against Trump.”
The New York Times didn’t even cover the Simpson story on its own, instead choosing to run an Associated Press wire story, “Head of Firm Behind Trump Dossier Won’t Talk to House Panel.” The AP article portrayed Simpson as a guy just doing his patriotic duty when he met with Bruce Ohr before the election—a meeting Simpson did not disclose in his original testimony.
“Republicans have seized on that meeting,” the AP reported, “implying that the Justice Department officials were somehow coordinating with Fusion GPS to use the Democratic-funded research. Simpson has said he met with Ohr because he was anxious that federal investigators were not taking seriously enough the threat of Russian election interference and the information that Steele had accumulated.”
CNN also didn’t bother to cover Simpson’s appearance on Tuesday, but in a story last week about the Simpson subpoena, CNN lamented that meanie House Republicans would “force” the Fusion owner to testify. Parts of the dossier, according to CNN, “remain unconfirmed.” Also no mention of the Ohrs or Simpson’s changing statements. MSNBC had nothing on Simpson, either.
This is yet another example of how the elite media continue to ignore, justify, or shift blame related to how our federal law enforcement and intelligence apparatus was weaponized to infiltrate a rival presidential campaign then derail an incoming administration. While it continues to focus on the unlawful and insidious special counsel probe, which has yet to uncover any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, the news media refuse to tell Americans the truth about what really happened at the highest level of our government before the 2016 election.
Why? Because they play a recurring role in this national nightmare.
Remember, Simpson is a former journalist. His firm was hired in late 2015 by a conservative media outlet seeking opposition research on Donald Trump. The first dribble of Trump-Hearts-Putin articles appeared in conservative journals in early 2016. Once it became clear Trump would win the Republican nomination, the dirt-digging found its way to the Democratic National Committee and to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Fusion’s shady Steele “dossier” that linked the Trump campaign to the Kremlin began circulating among law enforcement officials, lawmakers, and journalists just a few months before the election. Simpson and his paid toady, Christopher Steele, pitched the dossier to top news organizations.
The FBI used the dossier as the primary evidence to obtain a warrant to spy on Page; a news article sourced by Simpson and Steele also was cited in the application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Dozens of stories about Page were planted in the media over the past two years, and classified, nonpublic information was leaked to friendly reporters, very likely with Simpson as the conduit. (Page has never been charged with a crime.)
If anyone has polluted our political climate and manipulated media coverage, it is Glenn Simpson. But his handiwork is not just dedicated to the Trump-Russia scam; it’s likely Fusion GPS orchestrated media attacks on leading House Republicans, including Rep. James Jordan and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
The media might not be interested in Simpson’s misdeeds, but Congress sure is. House Republicans are looking to subpoena him again and compel testimony. If he refuses, he could be held in contempt of Congress and hauled off in cuffs. No doubt the press will find a way to gloss over that, too.
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