Firm Behind "Trump Dossier" Refuses To Comply With Congressional Subpoena

Tyler Durden's picture

The three co-founders of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm responsible for overseeing the creation of the infamous “Trump dossier”, will refuse to comply with a subpoena ordered by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, according to a letter from their attorneys originally obtained by Business Insider.

But experts say the argument their lawyers are using to ask that they be excused relies on shaky legal grounds, and is unlikely to hold.

Attorneys from Cunningham, Levy & Muse said in a letter that, if called to testify, their clients planned to invoke their first amendment rights to exempt them from answering questions. The move - which has all the hallmarks of a stalling tactic - is the latest attempt by the firm’s founders, who reportedly were aware that not all of the allegations contained in the dossier were credible before turning it over to the FBI, to forestall delivering public testimony. Glenn Simpson, a former WSJ investigative reporter and one of the firm’s three founders, met privately with the Senate Judiciary Committee for ten hours over the summer. Afterwards, a group of senators, including Democrat Richard Blumenthal, pushed for Simpson’s testimony to be made public, and the committee is reportedly still mulling whether to release it.

However, Simpson and his fellow Fusion GPS co-founders Thomas Catan and Peter Fritsch, plan to invoke constitutional privileges and decline to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, their attorney wrote in a letter obtained by Business Insider on Monday.

"We cannot in good conscience do anything but advise our clients to stand on their constitutional privileges, the attorney work product doctrine and contractual obligations," wrote Fusion GPS counsel Josh Levy in response to subpoenas issued earlier this month by the committee's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes.

Levy argued that complying with the subpoenas would violate "the First Amendment rights" of the cofounders "and would chill any American running for office ... from conducting confidential opposition research in an election."

"Should you compel any of our three clients to appear at the scheduled deposition, they will invoke their constitutional privileges not to testify," Levy wrote. "Since that will be the case, we ask that the Committee excuse them from appearing."

Imprisoned former Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli pled the fifth – the right against self-incrimination – when he appeared before a Congressional panel about prescription-drug pricing in February 2016. At the time, he had been indicted on eight counts of fraud.

Though he officially resigned from the investigation in April following his decision to brief Trump and the press about classified intelligence without first informing his fellow committee members, Nunes has helped steer the committee’s inquiry toward “unmaskings” ordered by Susan Rice and the credibility of the dossier. Many of the dossier’s most egregious claims – such as one alleging that the Russian government was in possession of an embarrassing video of the president – have been debunked.

Levy contended in the letter that Nunes' "unilateral issuance of these subpoenas violates your recusal and further undermines the legitimacy of this investigation."

Nunes reportedly issued the subpoenas just 24 hours after Fusion's counsel met with "majority and minority staff" for approximately an hour to discuss "a way forward for voluntary cooperation."

"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," Levy wrote.

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, told Business Insider that Fusion’s “novel” legal strategy was unlikely to succeed.

"That is probably why the attorneys have emphasized other arguments, like Nunes' apparent lack of authority to issue the subpoenas and the fact that Congress didn't authorize the investigation he's conducting on his own," Mariotti said.

"Those arguments have more merit, and they draw attention to Nunes' zarre behavior over the past month — including his subpoenas to the DOJ," he added. "That said, if the subpoenas issued by Nunes are valid, then I expect these individuals will be held in contempt if they refuse to testify as ordered."

Republican Rep. Mike Conaway, who is now heading the committee's investigation, reportedly approved Nunes' subpoenas to Fusion GPS, but House Intelligence Democrats told BI that they weren’t consulted.

Nunes reportedly turned his attention toward Fusion after the FBI refused to turn over documents pertaining to the dossier that were requested by Nunes. The chairman says he’s seeking the documents to help determine how the dossier played into the DOJ’s decision to launch multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election – including claims that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to sway the vote in Trump’s favor.

DOJ has maintained that publicly disclosing the information that Nunes is requesting could compromise an ongoing investigation.

Last month, Senate Intel Committee Chairman Richard Burr said the committee’s investigators had “hit a wall” in their efforts to verify the claims contained in the dossier, in part because investigators couldn’t convince former British spy Christopher Steele, the man hired by Fusion to compile the dossier, to meet with them. However, CNN later reported that special counsel Robert Mueller had managed to interview Steele. While it’s unclear which, if any, of the claims contained in the dossier are true, the US intelligence community opted to omit the allegations from a crucial report released in January.

In summary, after months of resisting investigators’ overtures, it looks like the men behind Fusion GPS will finally be forced to answer some uncomfortable questions about the role they played in fostering the current climate of anti-Russia hysteria. We look forward to hearing what they have to say.

Read the letter below:

361738857-2017-10-16-Letter-to-Chair-D-Nunes by zerohedge on Scribd

 

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tyberious's picture

This wont be on CNN!

NoDebt's picture

"their clients planned to invoke their first amendment rights to exempt them from answering questions"

I plead da FIF!

Oh, no, wait.  I plead da FIRS!

How does the 1st Amendment give you the right not to comply with a subpoena?  You know what?  I don't care.  Whatever.  Dickheads gonna dickhead.  Simple as that.

 

Four chan's picture

they were paid by the clinton foundation and have insider fbi ties, how rotten is the fbi today? worse than the cia? 

The_Juggernaut's picture

Prison time, motherfuckers.

serotonindumptruck's picture

Slightly OT.

Apologies if this has been posted already.

Larry Flint of Hustler magazine is offering 10 million dollars for official "dirt" on Trump.

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=688_1508151597

CuttingEdge's picture

How to tattoo the word "CUNT" on your own foreheads, as described by GPS Fusion founders. The whole fucking thing from Steel was a load of (imaginative) bollocks, and everyone knows it. Freddie Forsythe could have come up with something way more believable.

That cunt Mueller will be bald tearing his hair out before he finds any shit on the Russian angle that can stick. Trump may be a twat at times, but he isn't a crooked one (unlike Clitnone), and neither is he in Putin's top pocket.

I used to enjoy reading fiction. I gave up. This fucking turd conveyor belt (Mueller included) is way more entertaining than anything I ever indulged in. The Hollywood mass hypocritical head-explosion over Wankstain is another case proving the sorry point. Do these cunts (Dems and Friends) have the slightest idea what utterly fucking moronic cretins they are showing themselves to be on the world stage?

Please let the hilarity continue, but it would be nice if there was some serious pushback soonish (Awans and DWS, perchance?), to show Trump isn't being consumed by the swamp, as some of us fear. I mean, it's not as if he hasn't serious ammunition in a number of areas - the bitch queen included. Or maybe he really is playing 4-D chess, and waiting until Mueller has finished tilting at Russian windmills, so he can drop the unbelievable deluge of shit on the CF and the Dems that we all know exists (too numerous to list)...just before the mid-terms.

847328_3527's picture

Arrest all three and execute them.

 

You can always give them a fair trial post-humorously.

OneStinkyDinky's picture

Republicans-then Dems- paid fusion to pay Orbis (Steele's Firm) to conduct research... Fusion had no data collection role. Bloomberg implies Trump agent Nunes issued a rogue subpoena to challenge Steele's 'research' - when that's not what occurred. Fusion is using *GOP talking point* to say that *expenditures of money* during presidential campaigns are free speech. 

 

For clarity, Steele - who produced the dossier - is cooperating with Mueller in all aspects, and his work is relied upon by the FBI

 

Recognizer's picture

How embarrassing is that?  This is the top US investigation agency and they are relying on the work of a paid antagonist for their "intelligence."

mc888's picture

Don't execute them until after you sue them for public expenses related to the 'Russia investigation'.

Once bankrupt, they're all yours.

SoDamnMad's picture

And I demand Steele get handed over (in return for a trade deal when the EU hangs the UK out to dry).

mc888's picture

+1 for "turd conveyor belt"

Yog Soggoth's picture

I can picture these guys pacing in a room, "they want us to talk in court,  I'm not going, you go! Ok, call the lawyer to stall this, and we will just sit in this room until we come up with a plan. We just need to relax, and, what kind of passports do you guys have?"

eatthebanksters's picture

They don't want the world to know they were paid by Weinstein....

Yog Soggoth's picture

That would be funny. How awkward would that look?

Bastiat's picture

This is an attempt to avoid having to plead da FIF.  Maybe as a last resort they will plead Clinton's 28th:  "I didn't mean it"

nmewn's picture

And seeing as how Grand Inquisitor Mueller is "on the Clinton take" its a lock that all will now be extended an offer of unlimited immunity from prosecution (and it will be accepted) so the truth never comes out just like Bryan Pagliano. 

Its just how the Klintons roll ;-)

overbet's picture

Vigilante elite culling will be the only way to get justice. 

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

Lawyers lawyerin up, how special

Mat Cauthon's picture

What it sounds like is they want the right to be able to have provided false information, and get away with it no matter the costs to the people it may have slandered.

Insurrector's picture

Bullshit.  Nunes is trying to get headlines.  And the Trumpturd kool aid quaffers are sucking it down like Nunes is some sort of hero.

In April the House ethics committee announced it would investigate Nunes over allegations he disclosed classified information (which he did).  Nunes said he would no longer lead the investigation.  Nunes is running his own investigation now, and is issuing his own subpeonas.  What an ass.

The Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed Simpson, one of the founders of GPS, behind closed doors over the summer for roughly 10 hours.  Why doesn't Nunes just get those records?  Because he can't do his grandstanding and get publicity is why.

 

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Mat,

“What it sounds like is they want the right to be able to have provided false information, and get away with it no matter the costs to the people it may have slandered.”

Exactly!

Smith Mundt Act on steroids. The right to lie with impunity to through the Criminal Deep State via their Presstitute Media appendages.

Execute them all.

Just Another Vietnam Vet's picture

 

 Get it out there on FOX news at least.

 

shankster's picture

CNN is like the proverbial 'tree falling in the woods'.

pot_and_kettle's picture

Can't imagine fearing for their lives over jail time lol

Cloud9.5's picture

Anyone who outs the Arkansas Crime syndicate is in mortal danger.

VWAndy's picture

 Send in the USMC. Full battle rattle!

remain calm's picture

That's it I refuse to pay my taxes Lawlessness is now vogue

Erek's picture

Then you will most likely go to jail and these mudderfuggers will be laughing at you all the way because they have a number of "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards and you don't.

Doesn't it piss you off?

Erek's picture

I haven't filed for a number of years. My wife says they will get me when I apply for Social Security in the next 18 months.

I said - "Social Security? We ain't got no stinking Social Security."

Yog Soggoth's picture

Just go to areally poor place with a couple hundred dollars and set yourself up as a god king. You could even get a war canoe named after you.

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ remain,

Lawlessness?

Brother, where have you been? It’s absolute, complete, open in your Face

Tyrannical Lawlessness.

hotrod's picture

Cant they take the 5th like everyone else that was part of the DNC, Obama Whitehouse etc.  

What good is the law, Congress or subpoenas????

Erek's picture

The "law", Congress and subpoenas are only for the plebes.

Arnold's picture

Contempt of Congress.
Contempt for Congress.

Lumberjack's picture

This is where the rubber meets the road. Lots of other distractions (limited hangouts) but this is something the Russians didn’t do.

onewayticket2's picture

Deny, Divert, Distract, Delay.....Democrat.

Lumberjack's picture

There are no angels in DC. They all exempted themselves from (insert here).

This Judge is pissed. Just said the Supremes ruling on limiting laws on political corruption is...horse shit.

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1CL2EJl

This case from earlier today:

Corruption case against U.S. Senator Menendez may fall apart

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1CL150

(Reuters) - The heart of the bribery case against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez could collapse mid-trial on Monday, after the judge overseeing the trial suggested he might throw out the most serious charges in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the definition of corruption.

Bill of Rights's picture

Sooooo, go arrest these fuckers then...

activepatriot's picture

So they have a consitutional right to do anonymous  hit jobs paid for anonymous clients which are then relayed by corrupt MSM as credible intelligence reports?

Rhetorical question to confirm where we stand as a banana republic

Erek's picture

Then maybe it's time to start peeling the banana.

swmnguy's picture

How is this an anonymous hit job, when everybody knows who they are, and for whom they were working?

insanelysane's picture

Yes, the 1st ammendment provides for the right to free speech.  It is the responsibility of the listener to assess the speech.  It is not the governments job to protect the citizenry from fake speech.  That would be censorship.

Akzed's picture

Dammit, then I'll never comply with no congressional subpoenas neither.

insanelysane's picture

I like it.  They are pleading the 1st which means that are saying that Freedom of Speech means they can make up any shit they want and sell it as research.  If it goes to the Supremes we will get their opinion on whether or not fake news is protected under the 1st ammendment.  I believe it is and it will deal a blow to all of these holier than thou organizations such as Facebook, Twitter, CNN, etc.

mc888's picture

That's different. Broadcasters 'must comply' with FCC rules. (*ahem*cough*cough*)

Knowingly broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe may violate the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/broadcasting-false-information

MuffDiver69's picture

“Either chamber of Congress may, by motion agreed to by the chamber in question, hold in contempt anyone who fails to appear when summoned to testify, who fails to produce documents when demanded, or whose testimony is deemed inadequate by the committee or other body before which that person was summoned to testify.

Once Congress holds someone in contempt, Congress can then transfer the case to the Department of Justice, which will review the circumstances and decide if prosecution for 2 U.S. Code § 192 - Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers (better known as “contempt of Congress”) is warranted. If the US Attorney is so inclined, the case will be presented to a federal grand jury, and if the grand jury determines the evidence warrants a trial, the individual will be indicted and tried in federal criminal court.