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This letter from Fusion GPS accounts receivable to Perkins Coie, the law firm that helped facilitate opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, found its way to American Greatness via a mysterious courier and may or may not be on the level. Let’s call it “fake but accurate.”
To: Mark Elias, Perkins Coie
From: Fusion GPS, Accounts receivable
Subject: Billing dispute regarding services rendered in the 2016 election cycle
Dear Mr. Elias,
Fusion GPS is in receipt of the letter questioning our itemized bill to your firm. On behalf of Fusion GPS, we are happy to clarify our services and remind you that the full amount stated remains due.
- Questions regarding meal expenses associated with the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting.
As you know, Donald Trump Jr. met with two Russians in June 2016. Media outlets repeatedly have cited this meeting as a smoking gun for Trump/Russia collusion (here, here, and here, for example). Thus it came as a considerable surprise to Fusion GPS that your firm would dispute charges associated with the meeting.
We respectfully remind you that the meeting included two Russians: Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin. We knew Ms. Veselnitskaya because, for more than two years, we shared a client, Denis Katsyv. She dined with our founder Glenn Simpson immediately before and after the meeting at Trump Tower. Ms. Veselnitskaya used research from Fusion GPS as bait to lure Donald Trump Jr. into the meeting.
Similarly, we worked with Mr. Akhmetshin and indeed traded emails with him in the weeks leading up to the meeting. I’m sure you can appreciate the importance of actually having a meeting between Russians and senior officials in the Trump campaign as a way to advance the Trump/Russia collusion project. With this information, we trust your questions regarding these billable items have been resolved.
- Questions regarding the accuracy of the Dossier assessment of the Cohen trip to Prague.
Fusion GPS acknowledges that the dossier incorrectly alleges that Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to pay or discuss paying the hackers who obtained emails from the DNC and/or Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Fusion GPS further acknowledges that Michael Cohen indeed did not travel to Prague. We further acknowledge that the dossier could have, and perhaps should have, alleged Cohen paid the hackers while in London—a location to which Cohen did travel. However, we believe no refund is due.
In spite of the denials by Michael Cohen himself, pictures of his passport, and the absence of any criminal charge from Special Counsel Robert Mueller related to a Prague trip, our allies in the media continue to maintain that the Cohen trip to Prague could have happened and many still believe that it did. Therefore, Fusion GPS considers this a successful operation which incurred the intended benefit to you, our client, and for which operation our firm is owed payment in full.
- Payments to Nellie Ohr.
Fusion GPS acknowledges your questions about why it would be necessary to pay both Christopher Steele, who purportedly obtained information directly from Russian sources, and the Russia specialist researcher Nellie Ohr. Certainly, if Mr. Steele had information directly from reliable Russian sources, it might not make sense also to hire Ms. Ohr.
We remind you, however, that Ms. Ohr’s husband, Bruce Ohr, acted as a senior attorney in the Department of Justice and handed over the Steele information directly to the FBI.
Steele’s dossier, we also remind you, was used by the FBI to obtain the all-important FISA warrant against former campaign figure Carter Page. In contrast, we note that the similar parallel dossier (prepared directly by Mrs. Clinton’s ally, Cody Shearer) received very little traction when Sidney Blumenthal attempted to promote it to the State Department despite there being an existing network of Clinton sympathizers who remained there. Thus, I’m sure you will agree, payments to Ms. Ohr were an integral part of the success of the operation.
- Disclosure of Clinton’s financing of the dossier.
Fusion GPS acknowledges your displeasure with the revelation that the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee were the ultimate sources of funding for the dossier. We fought vigorously and did everything possible to prevent Congress from obtaining our financial records.
While the disclosure was regrettable, we disclosed this information as a way of preventing further and even more damaging disclosures of bank records which would have revealed the identities of journalists who received money from Fusion GPS to do “research” on the Russia matter. We remind you that these reporters would be of no use to us if they were exposed for taking money from Fusion GPS.
We also remind you that the complaint to the Federal Elections Commission over your payments to our firm has stalled indefinitely. These laws are not enforced against the Clintons or their surrogates. We see no reason for Perkins Coie to be concerned.
- Mistakes concerning Paul Manafort.
In his dossier, Steele claimed that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort oversaw communication between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. We recognize that the New York Times (quoting Putin-allied oligarch Oleg Deripaska) since exposed this claim as “preposterous.”
Nevertheless, the conviction of Manafort is frequently cited by our allies in the media as evidence of Russia collusion (here, for example). The fact that this impression would persist after more than two years even after being debunked is simply more evidence of Fusion GPS’s extraordinary skill in this craft. You’re welcome.
- Subsequent funding from other sources.
Fusion GPS acknowledges that its continued work on the Trump/Russia project has been financed by George Soros and a group of Silicon Valley billionaires. While this project continues the work Fusion GPS undertook for candidate Clinton in the 2016 election, it is separate and apart from the obligations of Perkins Coie. The money we’re receiving from these patrons is being applied to new work, not the bill of Perkins Coie.
Fusion GPS stands ready for future projects. When you next make a contribution to Kamala Harris, we would appreciate if you would let her know that we’re ready to start a project for 2020.
Please express our regret to Mrs. Clinton about the outcome of the election and the failure of the special counsel to trigger a prompt impeachment of her political opponent.
Nevertheless, we stand by the impressive public relations results achieved during your limited engagement of our firm. We are confident that, upon reflection, you will remit the balance owed.
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