Journalist Franklin Foer appeared to admit Friday he was the journalist mentioned in a federal grand jury indictment who sent 2,500 words of his story to Fusion GPS the day before it was published.
The research firm hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump wrote him it was “time to hurry” on the story for left-wing outlet Slate linking the Trump Organization and a Russian bank days before the 2016 election, according to the indictment of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann.
Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI by the John Durham probe investigating the origins of the Russia investigation. The indictment accused Sussmann of hiding the fact that he was working for the Clinton campaign while pushing for an investigation into supposed ties between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
Foer was pressured by Fusion GPS, referred to as “U. S. Investigative Firm,” to “hurry” on his story about the possible backchannel between Trump and the bank, according to the indictment, referring to him as “Reporter-2.”
“The Investigative Firm Employee’s email stated, ‘time to hurry’ suggesting that Reporter-2 should hurry to publish an article regarding the Russian Bank-1 allegations. In response, Reporter-2 emailed to the Investigative Firm Employee a draft article regarding the Russian Bank-1 allegations, along with the cover message: ‘Here’s the first 2500 words,’” the indictment stated.
The indictment then notes Reporter-2 published an article regarding the allegations “on or about the following day, October, 31, 2016.”
On Oct. 31, 2016, Slate published a piece written by Foer headlined, “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?” The Clinton campaign hyped the story that day, with policy adviser Jake Sullivan – now President Biden’s national security adviser – calling the “secret hotline” perhaps “the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
Foer even suggested there was time for an “October surprise” in a tweet with a link to the story, suggesting it could be a game-changer. However, Trump went on to be elected president, and Clinton would fume that then-FBI Director James Comey’s re-opening of the investigation into her email server prevented her victory.
Foer acknowledged there were “limitations” to the story in a follow-up piece in The Atlantic two years later and expressed hope… (Read more)