If you weren’t certain that the people behind the infamous dossier on Donald Trump and Russia were hiding something before, their actions in the past week should put it beyond a certainty. The Senate Intelligence Committee sent a request to Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS to testify before them this week. Simpson, through his lawyer, released a statement on Friday declining the invitation…supposedly because he is “on vacation.” Of course, that it not the only reason he’ll be unavailable to speak in Washington. His lawyer also said that “partisan agendas” were taking root in congressional investigations, causing Simpson to grow “profoundly disturbed” with the direction of the inquiry.
Perhaps because that inquiry is getting closer and closer to the truth?
In any event, the statement irritated Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who subsequently issued a subpoena demanding that Simpson appear in Washington on Wednesday. Citing the charge that Simpson may have failed to register as a foreign agent in his work for Fusion GPS, Grassley said he would expect to see the opposition researcher in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His lawyer once again declined, insisting that while Simpson may appear, he will only do so to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
“This hearing’s purported focus on FARA [the Foreign Agents Registration Act] is pretext for an exploration of Fusion GPS’ reported work, on behalf of other clients, to investigate the ties of Donald J. Trump, his campaign and their associates to Russia,” said Simpson’s lawyer.
Yes, well, that’s probably true to an extent. The problem is that Simpson’s lawyer presents this scenario as though there’s some epic Republican ruse going on here to drag his client’s good name through the mud. The reality is quite a bit more nuanced. As all sides agree, the Russians had some degree of involvement in meddling in the 2016 election. And there’s no question that Fusion GPS and the dossier they produced through their funding of former British spy Christopher Steele played a part in that meddling to one degree or another. Therefore, it is very much a direct aspect of the Senate’s investigation into those matters for them to get to the bottom of that dossier, figure out who was ultimately paying Fusion GPS for their work, and even determine how and why Fusion was involved in setting up that controversial meeting between Donald Trump’s campaign team and that Russian lawyer last June.
The very existence of the dossier – much of which has been discredited by the U.S. intelligence community – is proof that Fusion GPS, their clients, and the Russians were out to destroy Trump in some form or fashion. It’s not beyond the scope of Congressional investigation to demand some answers about that sensitive topic.