Simpson said Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier, took it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in July 2016, and said his concern was "whether or not there was blackmail going on, whether a political candidate was being blackmailed or had been compromised".
BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief Ben Smith commemorated the year anniversary of the site's publication of Christopher Steele's Trump-Russia dossier in a New York Times editorial Tuesday - and soon after, one of the president's lawyers sued the website for it.
It contains salacious yet unverified information about the campaign's alleged effort to collude with Russian Federation, including allegations that was directly involved in coordinating with the Kremlin.
In an interview with The Daily Caller on Monday, prior to filing the lawsuits, Cohen reflected on the dossier upon its one-year anniversary.
Cohen states that the allegations published in the dossier - which include claims about Cohen's family ties to Russia and a trip he took overseas to meet with Russian officials - are not true and have hurt him professionally, leading him to seek maximum damages.
We didn't discount the arguments against publishing salacious allegations - which reporters do all the time in covering lawsuits, internal investigations or reports like Mr. Steele's.
"The dossier is, and continues to be, the subject of active investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies".
"When we published the dossier, we knew a lot", he wrote. It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world.
Feinstein's remarks in the transcript clearly state an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign's connections with Russian Federation was already underway when Steele presented his findings, debunking a commonly held Trump campaign theory that the dossier was part of a calculated attack on Trump's credibility. "Its interest to the public is obvious", said BuzzFeed spokeswoman Katie Rayford.
Buzzfeed has publicly affirmed its decision to publish the material, claiming it to be clearly within the public interest and looks forward to defend its decision to do so on First Amendment freedom of press grounds. Any misstep might give his supporters more ammunition to label news outlets as biased.
This is why Democrats say it's important that Simpson told Judiciary Committee investigators that he did not instruct Steele to dig up dirt on Trump or find ways to embarrass him.
On "Fox & Friends First", Gaetz pointed out that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC, and he questioned if it was the impetus behind the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The company and Smith are defendants in another high-stakes lawsuit in Florida, where a Russian tech company leader says the news organization defamed him and his companies by linking them to the hack of the Democratic National Committee. The suit did not immediately appear in the electronic court docket.
Fusion GPS similarly faces several lawsuits related to its work on the dossier.
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