RUNNING COVER?

Senate Asks DOJ to Probe Trump ‘Dossier’ Firm

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has written to Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, asking the Justice Department why alleged lobbyists trying to kill a U.S. human rights bill have not registered as foreign agents of the Russian government. One of the cited lobbyists is Glenn Simpson, who owns the private research firm GPS Fusion, which produced the now-notorious “dossier” on President Trump’s supposed ties to the Russian government and Russian intelligence operatives.Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee, accuses Simpson, along with former Congressman Ron Dellums and Rinat Akhmetshin, a self-described former “Soviet counterintelligence officer,” with trying to stop the passage of the Global Magnitsky Act, a pending piece of legislation that would blacklist and sanction officials of any foreign government credibly shown to have committed gross human-rights abuses.The act, an expansion of the current Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, named for a framed and murdered Russian tax attorney, has been vigorously opposed by the Kremlin and Russian citizens connected with Prevezon Holdings, Ltd, a Cyprus-registered company whose assets have been frozen by the U.S. government in connection with an ongoing money-laundering and fraud case in New York.Grassley cites reporting by The Daily Beast’s Michael Weiss on the sustained campaign in Washington, D.C. to either dilute or destroy the Global Magnitsky Act in committee, and bases the gravamen of its claims on a formal complaint filed with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Act’s Registration Unit by William Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Fund, a London-based investment company and a onetime client of Magnitsky, the murdered attorney.“His complaint alleged that lobbyists working for Russian interests in a campaign to oppose the pending Global Magnitsky Act failed to register under FARA and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995,” Grassley writes. “The Committee needs to understand what actions the Justice Department has taken in response to the information in Mr. Browder’s complaint. The issue is of particular concern to the Committee given that when Fusion GPS reportedly was acting as an unregistered agent of Russian interests, it appears to have been simultaneously overseeing the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier of allegations of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”A copy of the letter can be found below.