House Intel Committee To Vote On Release Of Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony
The House Intelligence Committee will vote this Thursday on whether to release a transcript of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony, The Daily Caller has learned.
A source familiar with the matter says that it is likely that the Republican-led committee will vote in favor of releasing the transcript of the interview, which was conducted on Nov. 14.
In his interview, Simpson was pressed on his firm’s work on the infamous Steele dossier. Fusion GPS was hired during the 2016 presidential campaign by the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Donald Trump. The firm in turn hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia.
Republican lawmakers have questioned the veracity of the dossier as well as how integral it was to the FBI’s investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. Democrats have accused the Republicans and the White House of focusing on the dossier in order to distract from the Russia probe.
On Monday, California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House panel, called for the release of Simpson’s transcript.
“In light of the selective leaks of Mr. Simpson’s testimony and the misleading manner in which Fusion GPS’ role has been characterized, I support releasing the transcript,” Schiff told Business Insider.
Schiff’s claim was met with some derision from Republicans who noted that the Democrat has been accused of leaking details of several witness interviews and committee findings during the course of the committee’s investigation.
In his statement, Schiff also asserted that committee Republicans released transcripts of interviews conducted with former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater.
“The Majority has released transcripts of Dr. Page and Mr. Prince when it suited their interests, and likewise should make an exception here,” Schiff said in his statement.
Schiff did not mention that Page and Prince negotiated the release of transcripts of their interviews before appearing before the House committee.
Schiff’s statement followed on the heels of the release last week of the transcript of Simpson’s Aug. 22 interview before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on that committee, bucked her Republican counterparts by unilaterally releasing the transcript. Schiff is unable to follow Feinstein’s lead because the House Intel panel has rules requiring the majority’s support to release interview transcripts.
A week before Feinstein’s controversial move, Simpson and his Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch wrote an op-ed for The New York Times calling for the Senate Judiciary, Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence Committees to release transcripts of Simpson’s testimony.
“Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy,” Simpson and Fritsch wrote.
Despite the bold rhetoric, Simpson’s 312-page Senate Judiciary transcript offered little support for the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. (RELATED: 7 Revelations From Glenn Simpson’s Senate Testimony)
Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, expressed confidence in the dossier, but he was unable to say that he had verified any of Steele’s allegations. His main justification for believing the dossier was that he trusted Steele, a former MI6 officer with whom he had worked since 2010.
Simpson failed to provide evidence of collusion in his House interview, says a source familiar with his testimony.
“For Democrats expecting to find evidence of collusion, I don’t think they’re going to be happy with the end result of this,” the source told TheDC.
Simpson’s House interview did reveal information that does not appear in his Senate testimony. In the Nov. 14 interview, Simpson said that he met shortly after the 2016 election with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.
Congressional investigators have questioned that connection, as well as Ohr’s meeting prior to the election with Steele. Ohr was demoted from his top DOJ position last month after the agency was made aware of his contacts with Simpson and Steele. Ohr’s wife, a Russia expert named Nellie, also worked for Fusion GPS as part of its Trump-Russia investigation.