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Trump's 'dubious Russian' links are supported by widespread evidence, claims firm behind Steele dossier

The President has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 03 January 2018 16:07 GMT
Mr Putin has also denied there was collusion with the Trump campaign
Mr Putin has also denied there was collusion with the Trump campaign (Getty)

The company that produced the so-called Steele Dossier has said it found widespread evidence Donald Trump and his organisation worked with dubious Russians in arrangements that “raised questions about money laundering”.

Hitting back at what it said were “mendacious conspiracy theories” levelled at them by conservatives, the founders of Fusion GPS said they did not believe the information about Mr Trump that was in part collected by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, was the trigger for the FBI’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp,” Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, wrote in the New York Times.

“The intelligence committees have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources during the campaign. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the President continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation.”

They added: “We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr Trump and his organisation had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering.”

They said: “We suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses. Congress appears uninterested in that tip.”

Mr Trump has always denied that his organisation colluded with Moscow to help undermine his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton. At the same time, it is known he had close business links to a number of Russian oligarchs and was looking to develop a Trump Tower.

Donald Trump firing Robert Mueller 'could provoke constitutional crisis', warns senator

It was recently reported that Mr Trump has been telling allies he expects to be “cleared in writing” and the White House has said it believes the federal probe is coming to a conclusion.

So far, four associates of the Trump campaign have been indicted. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates have denied 12 counts, including money laundering. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and are said to be cooperating with the investigation.

Last month it was reported federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Mr Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The White House denied the claims that Mr Trump’s financial records had been subpoenaed from Deutsche Bank by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and his team, as they probe Russia’s alleged election meddling. Bloomberg News and the German business daily Handelsblatt first reported a summons by Mr Mueller.

Adding fuel to the fire, Steve Bannon, has reportedly told the author of a new book that the White House is wrong if it believes the investigation will be over quickly..

“You realise where this is going,” Mr Bannon is quoted as telling Michael Wolff, the author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

“This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

Fusion GPS was initially contracted to dig up dirt on Mr Trump by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website that receives a large part of its funding from Paul Singer, a billionaire and hedge fund manager. After Mr Trump won the Republican nomination, the company was then paid by the Clinton campaign.

Much of the information provided by the company, and Mr Steele, was of a salacious nature and could not be confirmed by media outlets. Mr Trump called it a “Crooked Hillary pile of garbage”.

Neither the White House or the Trump Organisation immediately responded to calls for comment.

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