A group funded by George Soros and other donors to continue investigating the Russia collusion allegations after the 2016 election met with the FBI, offering its assistance to agents and alerting them it was working with one of their terminated confidential sources in the case, Christopher Steele, according to court testimony made public Friday.
Former FBI analyst Daniel Jones’ testimony, released in a D.C. Superior Court civil case, recounts in painstaking detail how he formed the group The Democracy Integrity Project in early 2017, raised money for it and continued a private investigation into alleged Russian and other interference in the 2016 election.
Jones acknowledged in his testimony that he worked post-election with some of the key figures tied to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and its now discredited Russia collusion allegations, including recently indicted former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann and investigative researcher Glenn Simpson.
But in one of his biggest revelations, Sussmann testified he hired the author of the now-infamous and discredited Steele dossier to assist his work and felt obligated to alert the FBI when he met with Russia collusion investigators in March 2017. “I proactively reached out to the FBI,” Jones testified.
“The purpose of that meeting was to alert the FBI, a place that I had worked with and who I had maintained contacts with who are still there, that the Democracy Integrity Project as an organization existed and that we were collecting information on foreign government interference in elections and that we had the information on foreign government interference in elections, as well as the fact that I had engaged the services of Christopher Steele for the Democracy Integrity Project and alerting them to that, given the public nature of what had transpired from the Bureau on this.”
You can read the full testimony here:
By the time of Jones’ meeting with the FBI in March 2017, the bureau had terminated the former British MI6 agent Steele as a confidential informant in the Russia case for leaking to the news media. Counterintelligence agents had also debunked some of the Steele dossier’s allegations as Russian disinformation, inaccurate or unprovable and learned his research had been paid for by the Clinton campaign through its law firm Perkins Coie, where Sussmann worked.
But Steele wasn’t the only figure tied to the Clinton campaign’s earlier Russia collusion operation that engaged with TDIP.
Jones testified that Simpson helped him raise money for his non-profit TDIP and Jones then hired Simpson’s Fusion GPS firm to investigate election issues starting in early 2017. Records introduced during the testimony showed the donor-funded TDIP paid Simpson’s firm about $3.3 million for its work.
Simpson’s firm had previously done similar work for the Clinton campaign.
While TDIP’s list of donors is not public, a spokesman for Soros previously confirmed in 2019 that the liberal megadonor was one of the group’s funders.
Jones also described how he worked with Sussmann, a lawyer for Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, to obtain evidence from one of his clients, computer executive Rodney Joffe, about alleged computer communications between a Trump server and the Alfa Bank in Russia.
Sussmann and other Clinton-connected figures suggested the data was evidence of a secret communications channel between Trump and the Kremlin to hijack the 2016 election. But that theory was repeatedly investigated, dismissed and discredited by the FBI, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Special Counsel John Durham.
Durham recently secured an indictment alleging Sussmann lied to the FBI when he first brought the Alfa Bank allegations to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016, failing to disclose he was working on the matter in part for the Clinton campaign. Sussmann has pleaded innocent.
Joffe’s lawyer has confirmed his client is the figure referred to as computer executive one in the indictment. Joffe has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Jones testified he was asked by a Democratic investigator on the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate the Alfa Bank allegations in early 2017 and to meet with Sussmann, who had represented both the Clinton campaign/DNC and Joffe.
Jones testified he received computer data from Sussmann containing 37 million DNS lookups to review for any connections of Trump-Russia collusion, and later learned the data came from a computer executive that Sussmann identified only by the pseudonym “Max.” Jones said he quickly determined that executive to be Joffe.
“I understood the 37 million DNS lookups related to the Alfa Bank, Trump server allegations, to come either from Rodney Joffe or an organization associated with Mr Joffe,” he testified.
Just the News first revealed earlier this month that Jones had been tasked by the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2017 to prepare a 600-plus-page report on the Alfa Bank-Trump allegations.
In his testimony, Jones revealed the Democratic staffer who tasked him with the work indicated Democrats in Congress did not believe the FBI and others in U.S. intelligence had aggressively enough investigated the Alfa Bank allegations before dismissing them.
“That was my perception, that the Senate Armed Services committee, other senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee believed that the government wasn’t doing enough to look into these allegations and refute them or confirm them or make any assessment of them,” Jones testified.
Reacting to the Just the News report earlier this month, a whistleblower group known as Empower Oversight filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee asking that it investigate whether senators violated the chamber’s gift ban by tasking and accepting a detailed report from Jones’ group without paying for it.
Jones said he built a firewall between Simpson’s and Steele’s research work for TDIP and the Senate Armed Services project because of their past ties to the Clinton campaign.
But he conceded under questioning that a 200-page appendix in the Senate report about Alfa Bank was derived mostly from research Simpson’s firm collected.
Jones’ testimony was given in a John Doe lawsuit filed by Alfa Bank seeking to determine who spread the allegations about the Russian bank to the news media and U.S. authorities.
While most federal agencies have strongly dismissed the Alfa Bank server theory, Jones said he still believes the information he provided the Senate in his final report in October 2018 is true and accurate.
“I have not changed my assessment,” he said of his final report. “… I haven’t changed my opinion.”