Two of the co-founders of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS – who produced the largely discredited Trump-Russia dossier – invoked their Fifth Amendment rights during a hearing on Wednesday with the House Intelligence Committee.
Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan pled the Fifth “to every question asked of them,” a source told the Daily Caller.
The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Fritsch, Catan, and Fusion GPS’ other co-founder Glenn Simpson to question them over their involvement in the dossier that was created by former British spy Christopher Steele which was used to launch the investigation into whether Trump campaign officials “colluded” with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Fusion GPS’ attorneys hinted earlier this week that Fritsch, Catan, and Simpson would not cooperate with the committee, citing “First Amendment protections and confidentiality agreements.”
The FBI’s decision to rely on Fusion GPS’ dossier was highly controversial as the firm has connections to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, and the Russians:
- “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 Daily Caller reported.
- “The company [Fusion GPS] has done research for Democrats on 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney and for Planned Parenthood on a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists, among other clients,” The Hill reported.
- “Fusion GPS was apparently representing these same Putin-connected interests when they were involved in arranging the controversial meeting Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had with Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Russian intelligence officer and naturalized American citizen, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last year. Further, the firm also being accused of engaging in unethical and illegal behavior while representing Russian-connected interests,” the Weekly Standard reported.
The House Intelligence Committee is especially interested in who hired and paid Fusion GPS for their services.
A report by Fox News on Tuesday highlighted Fusion GPS’ highly questionable track record, which includes alleged vicious smear campaigns against opponents.
Venezuelan journalist Alek Boyd said he was smeared by Fusion GPS after he exposed corruption involving rigged government contracts with an energy company in Venezuela that hired Fusion GPS to combat negative media narratives:
Boyd says he was labeled a pedophile, drug addict and thief on the web. “They published this information through a number of social media and websites anonymously. They created fake Twitter accounts with my name, impersonating myself. ... They started publishing photos of me walking around London with my daughters. They produced a huge amount of information — fake information — about me, accusing me from being a pedophile to being an extortionist to a drug trafficker to a car thief.”