Agreement reached over access to key records in Russian election meddling probe




 

The US House Intelligence Committee on Saturday said it had reached an agreement related to its subpoena of a Washington research firm's bank records that would secure access to records for the panel's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The announcement came a day after a federal judge had given an unnamed bank more time to respond to the congressional panel's subpoena to Fusion GPS, the research outfit that hired a former British spy to compile a dossier on presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online publication backed by billionaire Republican mega-donor Paul Singer, said on Friday it was the original funder of the Fusion GPS project to compile opposition research on multiple Republican presidential candidates, including Trump.

Trump and other Republicans have alleged that Russians paid Fusion GPS for research on their own dealings with the president and his campaign.

But the Free Beacon said all the material it was provided came from public sources and that the effort was separate from a former British spy's dossier of allegations of Russian financial and personal links to President Donald Trump's campaign and associates.

The Donald Trump campaign's Russia connections

Known as the Steele dossier because it was compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, the document identified Russian businessmen and others whom U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of the Russian government.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee began paying Fusion GPS in April 2016 for research on Trump, an arrangement that later produced the Steele dossier.

Trump, who has called allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow a hoax, has repeatedly called the dossier fake news.

Much of the inflammatory and at times salacious content of the dossier has not been verified. However, US officials have confirmed certain details.

In a closed-door hearing with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson said there was no connection between the firm's work on the dossier and its legal research on a lawsuit involving Russians who attended a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law and close aide, Jared Kushner, and former campaign chief Paul Manafort, sources familiar with the hearing said.

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