Slate Was Asking Fusion GPS For Edits On Hit-Piece Targeting Trump

( According to a publicly filed exhibit in the U.S. prosecution against Democratic attorney Michael Sussmann, a writer for Slate sent a draft of an article concerning Donald Trump and Russia to employees of Fusion GPS, the research firm hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign to study her Republican competitor.

According to one of the emails filed by Special Counsel John Durham as an exhibit to a motion this week, Franklin Foer forwarded the story to Fusion’s Peter Fritsch and Jake Berkowitz, titled “Manchuriancandidate.foer” as an attachment. According to the Washington Examiner, the exhibit, including some of the Fusion GPS emails to reporters, was unredacted for a while before being sealed again by Tuesday.

According to an email on June 28, 2016, Foer said he turned in a rough draft of the story. He apologized for the lack of editing. He asked that they check it for flaws and omissions. He also wanted assurances that they wouldn’t use it to prod the competition.

He thanked them for their assistance.

Fritsch responded shortly after saying that “it’s fantastic.” as your editor should remark… Jake and I will take a closer look at the material and offer some comments.”

It’s unclear which story Foer submitted, but the next one on Slate after he sent the message was a piece titled “Putin’s Puppet” on July 4, 2016, with the subheading, “If the Russian president could design a candidate to undermine American interests—and advance his own—he’d look a lot like Donald Trump.”

A different post by Foer, titled “Donald Trump Isn’t a Manchurian Candidate,” was published on July 27 and argued that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were exploiting each other.

On behalf of Clinton attorney Marc Elias, Perkins Coie engaged Fusion GPS. As a result, the infamous Christopher Steele dossier was commissioned, which contained salacious, unsubstantiated allegations of the Trump-Russia conspiracy. Durham charged Sussmann last year for allegedly lying to the FBI about his Clinton campaign contacts while pressing for an inquiry into Trump’s ties to Russia.

According to the Durham investigation, sources and funders of Steele’s dossier were discovered to be partisan Democrats, and members of the Democratic-backed Fusion GPS urged reporters to publicize the collusion rumors. Durham indicted Steele sub-source Igor Danchenko, a Russian analyst at the Brookings Institution, for allegedly lying to the FBI last year, revealing that one of his sources of information on Trump and Russia was longtime Democratic spin doctor Charles Dolan.

“What I want to make very clear is that not sharing drafts of stories with the people and institutions we cover is a guideline we ascribe to,” Slate spokesperson Katie Rayford, who wasn’t with the publication in 2016.

Following the publication of the email, Foer received bipartisan condemnation from journalists, with Rolling Stone and The Federalist editors Noah Shachtman and Mollie Hemingway, respectively, giving their thoughts on Twitter.

Shachtman wrote that that’s not how it’s meant to work, especially when it comes to delicate stories. It’s simply incorrect.

Hemingway tweeted, “Grave, grave journalistic no-no.” “But for a propagandist participating in a hoax, probably standard operating procedure. And it’s not the only time he’s been caught doing it with Fusion on a Russia collusion hoax story.”

Hemingway seems to be alluding to a time in 2016 when Foer, a former editor of The New Republic, provided a piece of a separate story to Fusion before it was published.

In a federal grand jury indictment of Sussmann, he revealed to the Washington Post last year that he was the unidentified journalist. He sent part of an article to Fusion GPS the day before it was published on Oct. 31, 2016. The piece, titled “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?” published a week before the election, was about unconfirmed allegations that a Kremlin-linked bank was in secret communication with a Trump Organization server.

The June 2016 email, which was featured in Techno Fog’s The Reactionary Substack, is part of a legal filing by Durham, who has been looking into the origins of the massive Russia inquiry. He argued that Fusion GPS’s blatant sharing of raw, uncorroborated material with reporters around the media misrepresented the idea put forward by Elias that Fusion GPS was acting as a confidential legal adviser in response to efforts by Hillary for America [HFA] and Fusion GPS to withhold some communications under the claim of attorney-client privilege.

Durham backed up his claim by citing “hundreds” of emails between Fusion GPS and journalists.

Last month, the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign agreed to pay fines to the Federal Election Commission in response to allegations that they broke federal law by misrepresenting spending to Perkins Coie. The DNC agreed to pay a civil penalty of $105,000, and the Clinton campaign agreed to pay an additional $8,000.