A new report ties Fusion GPS to a flawed (but sensational) story claiming nefarious ties between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, which Hillary Clinton’s campaign immediately used to attack Republican nominee Donald Trump a week before the 2016 election.
Slate’s Franklin Foer wrote a story on October 31, 2016, alleging secret communications between Trump’s company and Russian bank Alfa. Foer’s story cited a small group of computer scientists who claimed to have proof of server connections between the bank, and Trump’s hotel room server. Foer argued that the server pings experienced between the two servers was evidence of Trump’s wrong doing.
That story, which failed to stand up to media scrutiny originated with Fusion GPS, The Washington Times reported on Sunday. The explanation of the server activity was Trump’s marketing team sending spam to neighboring businesses, a follow-up investigation from The Intercept revealed.
“Fusion pushed the story that a special email server existed between Trump Tower and Moscow’s Alfa bank,” as part of the group’s efforts to plant anti-Trump stories in the media, the Times reported.
The report is consistent with other similar reports, including one that Fusion was apparently briefing reporters on contents of the Anti-Trump dossier, which indicated that Trump had a personal relationship with Putin and the two were actively doing favors for one another.
Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to produce opposition research on Trump, including the infamous anti-Trump dossier, which Fusion outsourced to former British spy Christopher Steele.
The Clinton campaign immediately used Foer’s newest piece, which was reportedly produced by their own opposition research firm, to accuse Trump of being too close with Russia.
“This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking Trump’s ties to Russia,” Clinton campaign press secretary Jake Sullivan said at the time, calling it “the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow.”