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Nunes Calls For Hearings For 15 Connected To Anti-Trump Opposition Research Efforts

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is calling for public hearings for 15 people linked to anti-Trump opposition research efforts during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In a letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Nunes on Thursday called on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy to hold the hearings as part of an investigation into possible government surveillance abuses.

Most of the people referred by Nunes have links to Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C.-based outfit that commissioned the infamous Steele dossier.

Nunes wants public hearings for Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson, Tom Catan and Peter Fritsch as well as Nellie Ohr, a former Fusion GPS associate who worked on the firm’s investigation into Trump’s possible ties to Russia. (RELATED: Nunes Calls For Testimony From 10 Former State Department Employees As Part Of Surveillance Abuse Investigation)

Ohr is the wife of Bruce Ohr, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official who met before and after the 2016 election with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier. Bruce Ohr was demoted from a top DOJ position after the discovery of his links to Fusion GPS.

Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, is also included on Nunes’s list. He joined Fusion GPS after leaving the Journal in December 2016. His wife is Shailagh Murray, an aide to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Nunes is also calling for testimony from two other Fusion GPS associates, Edward Baumgartner and Rinat Akhmetshin. Both worked with Fusion GPS on a project aimed at undermining the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law vehemently opposed by the Kremlin. Some of Fusion GPS’s research for the project ended up in the hands of Russian general prosecutor Yuri Chaika.

Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer, also has the distinction of being a member of the Russian delegation that met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016. Akhmetshin has testified before the House Intelligence Committee as well as a grand jury impaneled by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Akhmetshin’s link to both Fusion GPS and the Trump Tower meeting marks one of the stranger wrinkles in the Trump-Russia saga. He attended the Trump Tower meeting as part of the same anti-Magnitsky Act project that Fusion GPS was working on. The link has generated speculation that Akhmetshin provided information that ended up in the Steele dossier. But both Akhmetshin and Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson have claimed that Simpson was unaware of that meeting until it was reported last July.

Akhmetshin has also denied the Democrat-backed allegation that collusion occurred during the Trump Tower meeting.

Also on Nunes’s list are Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann, attorneys for Perkins Coie, the law firm that hired Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie served as general counsel to both the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was Elias’s point of contact for the dossier project. Nunes is also calling for Mook’s public testimony.

Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, two longtime Clinton insiders, are also on the list. During the campaign, they shopped around an anti-Trump report to journalists and government officials that closely mirrored the Steele dossier. Blumenthal provided the so-called Shearer memo to his longtime friend, Jonathan Winer, who then served as the Department of State’s (DOS) special envoy to Libya. Winer passed the document to Steele, whom he has known since 2009. Steele in turn gave the Shearer report to the FBI.

Nunes also wants Goodlatte and Gowdy to secure testimony from Daniel Jones, a former Democratic staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Jones told the FBI in March 2017 that he was working with Fusion GPS and Steele to continue the investigation into Trump’s possible links to Russia. Jones told the FBI the project received $50 million in funding from 10 wealthy donors. (RELATED: Cabal Of Wealthy Donors Financing $50 Million Trump-Russia Investigation)

Also included on the list are Mary Jacoby and Alexandra Chalupa. Jacoby is the wife of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson. Chalupa is a former DNC contractor.

Nunes has made two other referrals to Goodlatte and Gowdy. He sent a list of 10 former DOS and Obama White House officials involved in handling information related to the Russia investigation on July 2. Winer, the DOS official who is friends with Steele and Blumenthal, is included on that list.

Nunes issued a referral for testimony on June 30 from 17 current and former FBI and DOJ officials involved in the Russia investigation. The list included Peter Strzok, the former deputy chief of counterintelligence, and Bruce Ohr, the DOJ official whose wife has worked for Fusion GPS.

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