Two of the co-founders of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the infamous Trump dossier, invoked their Fifth Amendment rights during a meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter told The Daily Caller.
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 result is a 35-page document full of salacious and uncorroborated allegations about Trump and his campaign associates. The dossier has been cited by the FBI as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
Congressional Republicans have questioned the FBI’s decision to rely on the dossier given that its most sensational allegations have not been proved. They are also interested in who hired Fusion.
In August, Simpson, the point-man on the dossier project, met with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours. That meeting was held after Simpson and Fusion threatened to plead the Fifth in response to a subpoena threat from the Judiciary panel.
Josh Levy, an attorney for Fusion, blasted the Intelligence committee and Nunes following Wednesday’s session.
“No American should have to experience today’s indignity. No American should be required to appear before Congress simply to invoke his constitutional privileges,” Levy told TheDC.
“But that is what Chairman Nunes did today with our clients at Fusion GPS, breaking with the practice of his committee in this investigation. The committee has not imposed this requirement on any other witness, including the president’s men.”
He called the committee’s “disparate treatment” of the Fusion partners “an abuse of power and unethical.”
He also accused “the Trump cabal” of carrying out a campaign to “demonize” Fusion GPS over its ties to the dossier.
“Any attempt to change either the narrative or a congressional committee’s focus will not change the facts, which we hope all serious investigators will learn,” Levy concluded.