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In a series of tweets Thursday and Friday, President Trump brought some attention to revelations about “Russia collusion” he suggested the media was deliberately failing to report: The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday that after a nearly two-year investigation, they’d found no evidence of “collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.” While there’s no evidence of collusion, a curious incident related to the investigation has come to light: The Democrat heading up the collusion investigation in the House was caught hanging out with the head of Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm hired by the Democrats that produced the infamous, still “unverified” Steele dossier.
“Highly respected Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of Senate Intelligence, said today that, after an almost two year investigation, he saw no evidence of Russia collusion,” Trump tweeted Thursday night, quoting Burr: “We don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.”
Early Friday, Trump continued the thread (tweets below): “Not only did Senator Burr’s Committee find No Collusion by the Trump Campaign and Russia, it’s important because they interviewed 200 witnesses and 300,000 pages of documents, & the Committee has direct access to intelligence information that’s Classified,” he wrote, crediting Fox’s Gregg Jarrett.
Citing a report by The Hill’s John Solomon, Trump added: “Now we find out that Adam Schiff [chair of the House Intelligence Committtee] was spending time together in Aspen with Glenn Simpson of GPS Fusion, who wrote the fake and discredited Dossier, even though Simpson was testifying before Schiff.”
Trump then blasted the media for ignoring the committee’s findings: “The mainstream media has refused to cover the fact that the head of the VERY important Senate Intelligence Committee, after two years of intensive study and access to Intelligence that only they could get, just stated that they have found NO COLLUSION between ‘Trump’ & Russia….It is all a GIANT AND ILLEGAL HOAX, developed long before the election itself, but used as an excuse by the Democrats as to why Crooked Hillary Clinton lost the Election! Someday the Fake News Media will turn honest & report that Donald J. Trump was actually a GREAT Candidate!”
Trump’s point about Schiff and Simpson is a reference to a report by Solomon published Thursday that is starting to gain some attention. Some photos from July 2018 have emerged showing Schiff meeting with Simpson, “one of the key and most controversial figures in the Russia collusion scandal.” While both of them insisted to Solomon through spokesmen that the meeting was surrendipitous and “brief,” Solomon offers some skepticism and underscores the “questions of hypocrisy” it raises for Schiff.
“At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Solomon explains. “Simpson ran the firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party to find dirt on Trump in Moscow. He employed retired British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, whose infamous and unverified dossier became the main evidence for the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign, particularly the surveillance warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.”
By the time of the meeting, Schiff’s committee “had already received evidence from a senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, that called into question Simpson’s testimony to lawmakers,” specifically that he hadn’t begun meeting with Ohr until after Thanksgiving 2016 — after the FBI had begun investigating “collusion” and after Trump had won the election. But Ohr’s evidence showed that Simpson had actually met with him in August 2016, “well before the election and during a time when Steele was helping the FBI start an investigation into Trump,” Solomon points out.
Both Simpson and Schiff’s representatives told Solomon that the discussion was “brief” and didn’t cover anything important, but Solomon notes that Schiff had a “far higher standard” a couple years ago when he was calling for the investigation of Republican then-committtee chair Devin Nunes “over his meetings with national security council officials at the Trump White House.”