Republicans in Congress are trying to turn the Russian dossier into a scandal itself. Now Trump claims the FBI was in on the dirt-digging.
Donald Trump went full-on Alex Jones Thursday morning, suggesting on Twitter that the FBI paid for the creation of the so-called Russian dossier, the opposition research project that made salacious claims about Trump, and especially his dealings inside Russia.
The dossier was compiled during the 2016 campaign by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele and was overseen by the Washington, D.C. research firm Fusion GPS.
But the idea that the FBI — that the U.S. government itself — paid for opposition research on Trump is beyond anything being considered in any sane, or semi-sane, circles.
Yet that’s what Trump proposed on Twitter:
Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017
The dossier is back in the news thanks to Republican attempts to shift the focus away from Trump’s possible collusion with Russians last year. On Wednesday, two top officials with Fusion GPS invoked their Fifth Amendment rights while appearing before House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session.
The men were subpoenaed to testify, a move blasted by their attorney as a publicity stunt.
"This disparate treatment is an abuse of power and unethical," he said. "Nor is it a necessary tool for Congress to use in order to obtain information. Even the Senate Watergate Committee spared witnesses this indignity."
The idea that Fusion is trying to hide key information is undercut by the fact that in August, the Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed another founder of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, for 10 hours.
The punch line is that it was a Republican who first reached out to the research firm in September 2015, in hopes of digging up dirt on Trump and his nascent presidential campaign: "A Republican donor with deep pockets and a deep distaste for Trump hired a D.C. investigative firm to compile a report on Trump’s scandals."
Desperate to sow confusion and denounce the sprawling Russian investigation as a "hoax," Trump now suggests U.S. law enforcement tried to derail his campaign.