Image via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/russian-russian-toy-russian-doll-1090697/
The guys at the eye of the Russia probe storm, the co-founders of Fusion GPS, Thomas Catan and Peter Fritsch, were on Capitol Hill today to spend a few minutes with the House Intelligence Committee. Fusion GPS, if you recall, has had a lead role and a cameo appearance in this farcical undertaking.
They were the developers of the infamous Trump dossier that circulated widely before the election. This is the dossier the FBI was so enamored of that they may have spent as much as $50,000 to get the author to produce more tales of urination on mattresses. Somehow data, such as expenditures, that is by law part of the public record, are not available in this case. Keep in mind, this dossier was constructed by a former British spy, or so we’re assured, reaching out to his “old boy’s network” in the Russian SVR and FSB.
The walk-on performance happened shortly after the election and involved Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. Fusion GPS was trying to convince the incoming administration to lighten up the sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act. The carrot Fusion GPS was dangling was Russia relenting on its prohibition of US couples adopting Russian orphans. Fusion GPS was repped by a former Soviet counterintelligence agent and by a Russian lawyer who had been barred from entering the United States. Both had close Kremlin ties.
Because of their centrality, they were subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee. They said they would not testify. And they were true to their word.
Officials from Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the disputed dossier on President Donald Trump’s connections to Russia, came to the Capitol Wednesday to meet with the House Intelligence Committee and refused to offer any testimony, a company attorney said.
The brief appearance was the latest development in a long-running public dispute between the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and top officials at the firm.
Fusion lawyer Josh Levy said two officials affiliated with the company joined the committee on the Hill, bowing to the threat of a subpoena that Nunes issued recently. But he said the company officials decided to “invoke constitutional privileges” not to testify.
“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 said. “But that is what Chairman Nunes did today with our clients at Fusion GPS, breaking with the practice of his committee in this investigation.”
Taking the Fifth doesn’t mean they are guilty, it just means they did it.
Given the indignity and damage they’ve inflicted on the nation by their nonsense, color me underwhelmed by their protests.