According to sources close to the investigation, two of Fusion GPS’s co-founders pleaded the Fifth to every question asked during their Wednesday meeting with the House Intelligence Committee.
Fusion GPS is a research firm which hired former British spy, Chrisopher Steele, to write a 35 page document accusing President Trump of ties to the Kremlin and accusing Alexsej Gubarev of targeting Democratic party leadership with malware. Gebarev, a Russian venture capitalist and tech expert, says the accusations are false.
The controversial and unverified Trump dossier has gained no credibility through investigation by the House Intelligence Committee, and Fusion GPS refuses to answer questions concerning the document’s authenticity and who paid for it.
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Fritsch and Catan refused to directly answer any of the questions asked.
The Daily Caller reports:
Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan, the two Fusion GPS partners, plead the Fifth “to every question asked of them,” the source says.
The House panel earlier this month subpoenaed Fritsch, Catan and their fellow partner, Glenn Simpson, to discuss their involvement in the dossier, which was compiled last year by former British spy Christopher Steele.
In a letter to California Rep. Devin Nunes earlier this week, Fusion’s attorneys suggested that the three partners, all former Wall Street Journal reporters, would refuse to cooperate with the committee, citing First Amendment protections and confidentiality agreements.
It was unclear from that letter whether the Fusion partners planned to plead the Fifth, which protects witnesses from self-incrimination.
Fusion was working for an ally of Hillary Clinton’s last June when the firm hired Steele to investigate Donald Trump’s personal and business activities in Russia.
The dosier has become an important part of the FBI’s investigation on Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
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Committee Chairman Devin Nunes issued the subpoena which led to the meeting, but Fusion GPS lawyers called the subpoena invalid, and insinuated that their Fusion GPS clients would use their constitutional rights to prevent them from incriminating themselves.
Joshua Levy, one attorney for Fusion GPS, said in a letter to the panel Monday that Nunes’s subpoena is “in bad faith.”
The Washington Examiner reports:
Monday’s letter went on to lecture Nunes about the committee investigation in a style that could have been written by the committee’s ranking Democrat and chief Nunes antagonist, Rep. Adam Schiff. Issuing the subpoena, the Fusion GPS lawyers wrote, “is shameful and reflects a pattern of ultra vires behavior,” — that is, behavior beyond Nunes’s legal authority, the lawyers wrote.
“Based on this Committee’s bad faith interactions with the undersigned counsel and its pattern of unprofessional conduct exhibited during different points throughout this investigation, you have left us with no choice but to advise our clients to assert their privileges in the face of these subpoenas,” the lawyers concluded.
The letter asked that Simpson and the others “be excused from appearing for testimony” before the committee.
“Democrats and Fusion GPS have tried to obstruct every effort to get the facts about the compilation of the Steele dossier and who paid for it, so it’s no surprise that Fusion GPS is saying they’ll continue to obstruct these efforts. Fusion GPS is clearly paving the way to plead the fifth, and Congress is trying to find out if they’re trying to hide something.”
Fusion GPS’s cofounders’ “pleading the fifth” to questioning is the latest development of continued efforts by Democrats to assert the document’s credibility while shirking off any investigation on it.
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