by WorldTribune Staff, September 10, 2018
An opposition researcher, who was paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, continued to press the Department of Justice on a debunked theory that the Trump campaign maintained a computer server linked to a bank in Moscow with ties to the Kremlin, a report said.
Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson pushed the Alfa Bank theory even after it had been debunked by the Trump campaign and the FBI, according to government notes obtained by The Washington Times.
The Alfa Bank conspiracy theory originated in leftist social media during the 2016 campaign. The theory suggested that President Donald Trump and his Trump Organization had illegal ties with Russia.
“To liberals, the supposed Trump server meant that the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign had a secret communication channel to a powerful group of oligarch bankers tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Rowan Scarborough wrote in the Sept. 9 report for the Washington Times.
“Backed by public data and independent online sleuths, Trump people showed that, according to the Internet protocol address cited by liberal journalists, the server was a third-party marketing device outside Philadelphia.”
Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney at the time, told The Washington Times that hotels, including Trump‘s, collected information on guests. The personal data found their way to the spam server that sent out marketing pitches. Cohen said Alfa employees must have stayed in Trump hotels and were added to the list.
On Oct. 31, 2016, The New York Times ran a story saying the FBI had basically come to the same conclusion.
Simpson “was unhappy” with the New York Times report “for reasons other than the Alfa Bank exoneration,” Scarborough wrote. “At the time, he was desperately trying to get (Christopher) Steele’s collusion charges into the newspaper. But the story came to an opposite conclusion, saying the FBI had not discovered a Trump-Kremlin conspiracy.”
Hours after The New York Times debunked the server story, the conspiracy theory was revived in an article in the liberal news website Slate.
Meanwhile, handwritten entries by then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr conflict with Simpson’s subsequent testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Simpson told the committee he didn’t know whether there was any dedicated Trump-Alfa server and drew no conclusions, according to a transcript of his August 2017 closed-door testimony.
Steele didn’t include the server conspiracy in his dossier. He did accuse Alfa’s partners of being in a conspiracy with Putin to influence the election.
Ohr’s notes, however, show that Simpson continued to promote the Alfa conspiracy theory.
In December 2016, after meeting with Simpson, Ohr made note quoting Simpson as saying: “The New York Times story on Oct. 31 downplaying the connection between Alfa servers and the Trump campaign was incorrect. There was communication and it wasn’t spam.”
“If Ohr’s note-taking is accurate, then Simpson was clearly pushing the Alfa narrative,” Scarborough wrote. “But Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee a different story eight months later.”
Ohr’s wife, Nellie, a Russia scholar, worked on anti-Trump information as a Simpson employee at Fusion.