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24 Jul, 2019 19:15

Fusion who? Mueller doesn’t seem to know the name of firm that compiled infamous ‘Steele Dossier’

Fusion who? Mueller doesn’t seem to know the name of firm that compiled infamous ‘Steele Dossier’

With Republicans questioning the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ investigation, Mueller claimed he was not familiar with one of the key players behind the whole affair: Fusion GPS.

Fusion GPS is an opposition research firm that was hired by the Hillary Clinton election campaign to dig up ‘dirt’ on then-Candidate Donald Trump in 2016. The firm hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier on Trump, which was then used by the FBI to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump aide Carter Page, despite being completely unverified and loaded with salacious gossip – including the notorious ‘pee tape’ allegation.

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Steele and his dossier were mentioned in Mueller’s final report, as was “the firm that produced the Steele reporting.” Mueller even mentioned the dossier at the opening of Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, stating that he would refuse to speak about “matters related to the so-called 'Steele Dossier,”due to an ongoing Justice Department investigation.

However, when pressed on the dossier by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Mueller seemingly admitted that he didn’t even know Fusion GPS by name. President Donald Trump – who had earlier told reporters he is “not going to be watching” Mueller’s testimony – was likely following on the sly, and tweeted a video of Chabot’s exchange with Mueller.

“When discussing the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, you reference the firm that produced the Steele reporting. The name of that firm was Fusion GPS. Is that correct?” Chabot asked.

“I am not familiar with, with that, I…” Mueller answered, trailing off into a stammer.

“It’s not a trick question,” Chabot responded. “It was Fusion GPS.”

Famously tight-lipped, Mueller remained taciturn throughout the back-to-back House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee hearings. “I am not familiar with that,” “it’s outside my purview,” and “I cannot comment of that” became his go-to phrases to avoid prying questions on his report, or attempts to goad him into delivering a made-for-tv condemnation of Trump.

In another exchange, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) angrily pressed Mueller on the origins of the FBI’s investigation, and corrected the prosecutor on the contents of his own report, though Mueller again responded that he “can’t get into it.” 

Mueller’s repeated deferrals to the text of his report, as well as his apparent unfamiliarity with its content led some observers to wonder whether the former special counsel himself had much hand in actually writing it, or read it as intently as the lawmakers questioning him.

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