(Margaret Menge, Lifezette) Republican political operative Roger Stone reported this week that Manhattan billionaire Paul Singer, a pro-Israel, pro-LGBT Republican donor and Marco Rubio’s number-two contributor, was the person who first hired Fusion GPS to do “opposition research” on Donald Trump during the Republican primary campaign.
“It can now be revealed that the hedge fund manager Paul Singer was the financier of the original dossier,” Stone said in a video posted to the website Infowars, to which Stone is a contributor.
The Fusion GPS work, says Stone, was “designed to smear” Trump and kicked off what became known as the “dossier” — a collection of memos on Trump’s visits to Russia, written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Singer is known as a “vulture capitalist,” as he has made his money by buying up the debt of struggling companies, and countries. He is the top Republican donor in the country and backed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the Republican primary to the tune of $5 million through contributions to Rubio’s campaign committee and to the Conservative Solutions PAC, which was formed to support Rubio. Singer reportedly chose to back Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary after the senator and his staff courted Singer for many months.
Singer had reportedly employed Fusion GPS, a firm run by three former Wall Street Journal reporters, to do work in Argentina, where he was involved in a 14-year fight to get Argentina to repay in full the government bonds he’d purchased for pennies on the dollar during that country’s financial crisis. His firm ended up getting $2.4 billion, more than 10 times what it initially paid for the bonds, but only after Singer got involved in helping install a new president in Argentina.
Stone referred only to “sources” and did not point to evidence to substantiate his report about Singer. In addition to reporting that Singer had hired Fusion GPS to get negative information on Trump, he also alleged that Singer’s associate, Dan Senor, helped get the Steele dossier to the FBI, “via the offices of John McCain” — seeming to indicate that the Republican donor was involved to some degree most of the way through the general election in working to collect damaging information on Trump related to Russia.
Senor would be recognizable to most Americans as the spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority during the war in Iraq, appearing frequently on television from Baghdad. He went on to work for Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign for president in 2012, where he was known as the candidate’s top envoy to Israel.
Stone’s revelations about Singer came the same day that Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House about news that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign had funded Fusion GPS’ work during the general election, through attorney Marc Elias. Fusion GPS had subcontracted to the firm of Christopher Steele to produce the report on Trump and Russia that became known as the dossier.
When asked if he knew which Republican campaign had funded the Fusion GPS work during the primary, Trump hinted that he did.
“I think I would know, but let’s find out who it is. I’m sure that will come out,” he said. “If I were to guess, I have one name in mind.”
When contacted by LifeZette on Friday and asked about the report that Singer had hired Fusion GPS, a spokeswoman for Sen. Marco Rubio responded: “Other than the Clinton campaign, Senator Rubio and his team do not know who contracted Fusion GPS and had never even heard of them or their alleged research until it was posted online earlier this year.”
In an interview on CNN on Thursday, Rubio said something similar, and downplayed the importance of the Fusion GPS funding during the primary.
“I don’t know who it was,” he said. “The one thing that we do know, this thing about the dossier we’re discussing, all those press accounts — and I’m just going off press accounts — they all make it abundantly clear that the work that Mr. Steele did on that dossier didn’t even start until April, May, or June until after the Republican primary was over. So that was the DNC, and that was the Clinton campaign. And as far as whether it was my campaign, it wasn’t and I’ll tell you why — because I was running for president. I was trying to win. If I had anything against Donald Trump that was relevant and credible and politically damaging, I would have used it. I didn’t have it … I think it’s abundantly clear from all the reporting that this wasn’t a campaign-driven thing. But again, we’ll see where it all leads.”
But Stone had a different take this week.
“I think it’s important to understand,” he said Wednesday, “that this dossier bounced between ‘the two parties.'”
And Fusion GPS is not just a research firm, according to numerous accounts.
In an interview earlier this week on “Fox & Friends,” Venezuelan human-rights activist Thor Halvorssen said the firm was used to smear him when he was working to expose corruption among American companies operating in his home country of Venezuela.
“They get paid to destroy people, and they do so on behalf of criminals,” he said of Fusion GPS. “This is how they make their money.”
LifeZette attempted to reach Paul Singer through his firm, Elliott Management Corp., but received no response to an email inquiry sent late Thursday about Fusion GPS.
Reports in British newspapers in January had named Jeb Bush as the Republican primary candidate who had hired Fusion GPS, and this story was picked up by Reuters. But Bush and the super PAC that was supporting him vigorously denied the claims, and Reuters corrected its story.
In an email to LifeZette this week, a spokesperson for Bush again vehemently denied the earlier report of the Bush campaign’s hiring Fusion GPS, saying, “This is absolutely not true.”
Republished with permission from LifeZette via iCopyright license