Fusion GPS founders say they were 'shocked' by contents of 'Steele dossier'

The founders of the private research firm that commissioned the controversial dossier detailing salacious allegations against President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE said Tuesday they were "shocked" by the information contained in the report, dismissing accusations that it was tainted by partisan politics.

In an op-ed published by The New York Times, Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch pushed back against the suggestion by some Republican lawmakers that the dossier sparked the criminal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, recounting how their firm came to commission the report. 

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who compiled the dossier, was never told that the research was being funded by the Clinton campaign, Simpson and Fritsch wrote in the op-ed.


"We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling," they wrote.

"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."

Simpson and Fritsch also suggested that Republican lawmakers were looking to distract from the core mission of the investigation into Russia's role in the election, including possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, by focusing attention on the dossier and Fusion's work on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

Some GOP lawmakers have raised concerns in recent weeks that the law enforcement probe into the matter was sparked by the opposition research dossier, which contains unverified and salacious information about Trump. 

The New York Times reported last week that FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election instead began after Australian officials notified U.S. officials that a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign had told an Australian diplomat that the Russians obtained damaging emails about then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants MORE.