According to court documents filed in a defamation lawsuit, Fusion GPS states it didn’t give the infamous Christopher Steele dossier about President Donald Trump to BuzzFeed.
The Daily Caller reports:
Fusion GPS made the disclosure in a motion to quash a request for discovery made by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive who is suing BuzzFeed for defamation. Gubarev was identified in a Dec. 13 memo contained in the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Gubarev’s lawyers have pressed Fusion GPS to provide details about its work on the dossier. A Hillary Clinton ally hired the firm last June to investigate Donald Trump’s activities in Russia. Fusion GPS then hired Steele to conduct the investigation.
Gubarev was accused in the documents of planting viruses and computer “malware” that were used to hack the Democratic National Committee’s computers—an allegation that has failed to hold up against forensic evidence. Prior to the disclosure, it was widely believed Fusion GPS had been BuzzFeed’s source for the document, particularly after it had admittedly shopped it to other news outlets, making the dossier a bit of an “open secret” among journalists.
Rather, according to the report, Fusion GPS says BuzzFeed “reached out to request the dossier,” but the opposition research firm did not provide it. The denial in a court document, if false, would carry major legal consequences for Fusion GPS and its attorneys.
Steele has made similar denials that he was BuzzFeed’s source.
As The DC’s report notes, that makes the list of potential sources much smaller. It’s a list that includes Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and David Kramer, who serves as Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedoms at the McCain Institute. It states:
[Steele] disclosed earlier this year in a London court, where he is being sued by Gubarev, that he did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed or any other media outlets. He claims that he has only provided the complete dossier to Fusion, British intelligence services and to David Kramer, an associate of Arizona Sen. John McCain.
During a meeting in London on Nov. 28, Steele gave the dossier to Kramer. McCain then gave the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey during a Dec. 9 meeting. Fusion later instructed Steele to provide the final Dec. 13 memo to McCain and Kramer through an encrypted email channel.
If McCain or Kramer provided the dossier to BuzzFeed would be extremely damaging to the senator and his reputation. But, if the senator is also the “Republican Trump opponent” who originally funded the fishing expedition, it could mean prison time for everyone involved.