Testimony: Clinton opposition researcher pushed Trump theory to top DOJ official

by WorldTribune Staff, January 24, 2019

Operatives for the Hillary Clinton campaign approached the Department of Justice and pushed an unsubstantiated theory that a secret server at Trump Tower was directly tied to a Moscow bank linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to congressional testimony.

Testimony from James Baker, the former FBI general counsel and close adviser to fired FBI Director James Comey, revealed that the Clinton operatives told the DOJ that the Trump Organization maintained the server that was directly tied to Moscow’s Alfa Bank.

The Clinton campaign also pitched the now-debunked story to media outlets, at least one of which, Slate, took the bait. After Slate published an article on the alleged Trump-Alfa connection, the Clinton team tried to exploit the article as another example of Trump-Russia collusion.

Soon after the Trump-Alfa conspiracy story broke, however, cyber sleuths traced the server’s IP address and found it was a spam operation outside of Philadelphia that sent out hotel marketing emails which included the Trump Organization.

In a Jan. 23 report for The Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough noted that “It is known that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, the Clinton campaign’s opposition researcher who hired dossier writer Christopher Steele, pushed the server plot to then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. His wife, Nellie, worked for Simpson at Fusion GPS as an anti-Trump Russia investigator.”

In closed-door testimony in October, Baker told lawmakers on a special House task force that he met with Michael Sussmann, a partner in the Perkins Coie law firm, on Sept. 16, 2016.

Perkins Coie had represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and funneled more than $1 million of their cash to Fusion, which paid Steele about $160,000 for his anti-Trump dossier.

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, asked Baker if Sussmann, a cybertechnology expert and former Justice Department attorney, pitched the Alfa server connection.

“Oh yes, I mean, that is what he told me about. Yeah, absolutely,” he answered, according to a transcript first reported by The Epoch Times.

After conferring with bureau attorneys, Baker added: “He was describing a – what appeared to be a surreptitious channel of communications – communication between some part of President Trump‘s, I’ll say organization but it could be his businesses. I don’t mean like The Trump Organization, per se. I mean his enterprises with which he was associated. Some part of that and a – an organization associated with – a Russian organization associated with the Russian Government.”

Months later, Simpson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and testified that he had no opinion on the function of the supposed Trump-Alfa server.

The Republican majority’s final report from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last year noted the Sussmann maneuvers in a footnote. It said Sussmann (his name redacted) had a one-on-one meeting with Baker and also shared Alfa server information with Slate, whose story “Was a Trump Server Communicating with Russia?” was written by Franklin Foer.

Jordan disclosed in a letter to the U.S. attorney in Connecticut that Baker is under criminal investigation for leaking national security information to reporters. Baker’s attorney revealed the probe as grounds for refusing to let his client answer questions on that subject.

The owners of Alfa Bank sued Fusion GPS for defamation in Washington for a dossier memo that said they paid bribes to Putin. They also are suing Steele in a London court.

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