Fusion GPS co-founder spurns House GOP subpoena

Fusion GPS co-founder spurns House GOP subpoena

  11 Oct 2018


Glenn Simpson

Glenn Simpson will invoke his “rights not to testify under the First and Fifth Amendments,” his lawyers said in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS — the firm that commissioned a now-infamous anti-Trump dossier — intends to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to decline a subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee.

Simpson will invoke his “rights not to testify under the First and Fifth Amendments,” his lawyers said in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who had subpoenaed Simpson to appear in a closed-door deposition on Oct. 16.

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“This Committee’s inquiry is not designed to discover the truth. The obvious – and at times explicitly stated – goal of this Committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” the lawyers wrote, “all as part of an effort to protect a President who has sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power and who demands that the Justice Department stop investigating him.”

The move by Simpson to reject the subpoena is sure to escalate a bitter and politically explosive confrontation just weeks before the midterm elections. Goodlatte has sought Simpson’s testimony, along with a list of high-profile former FBI and Justice Department officials, as part of a Republican investigation into allegations that anti-Trump bias in the bureau led officials to ratchet-up their probe of the Trump campaign and downplay the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Democrats have argued that there’s been no evidence that anti-Trump sentiment affected either probe and that Republicans are pursuing the allegations as part of an effort to undermine the ongoing investigation of Trump’s inner circle.

Simpson’s attorneys — Joshua Levy, Robert Muse and Rachel Clattenburg — say the committee has repeatedly interviewed witnesses behind closed doors, only to see selective portions of their testimony leak.

“The Committee has refused to define the scope of the deposition, but its members have already falsely accused Mr. Simpson of ‘lying’ – ample basis for us to be concerned that this Committee is only seeking to falsely incriminate Mr. Simpson,” they wrote. The three attorneys also say Simpson has asked to be excused from appearing in person at next week’s scheduled interview, since he intends to invoke his rights not to testify.

Simpson’s firm was hired by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign in 2016 to conduct research into Trump’s foreign business ties. As part of that work, Fusion hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, who compiled a series of memos — now known as the Steele Dossier — describing a years-long conspiracy between Trump and Russia to swing the election. Trump has fiercely disputed the dossier, which the FBI relied on, in part, to obtain a surveillance warrant against one of Trump’s former campaign aides.

The revelation that the dossier was financed by Democrats has fueled Republican claims that the FBI’s Russia probe was politically motivated.

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