The largely debunked and controversial “Steele dossier” won’t die.
The battle between Sen Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the founders of the opposition research firm behind the infamous dossier meant to prove collusion with the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians is ramping up.
Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch slammed Grassley and panel Republicans in a New York Times op-ed published Tuesday, and accused the lawmakers of a “fake investigation.” They claimed their firm is being used as a scapegoat to cover for alleged wrongdoing by the Trump campaign.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley fired back over demands by Simpson and Fritsch that a full transcript of their testimony be released “so that the American people can learn the truth.”
Sen. Grassley’s spokesman, Taylor Foy, said Simpson was the one to insist that the transcript remain “confidential” and added that there’s been, and remains, an open invitation for Simpson to testify in public, The Hill reported.
“Senator Grassley provided Fusion GPS an opportunity for transparency six months ago when he invited the firm to publicly testify at an open committee hearing. Mr. Simpson declined,” Foy in a statement.
“When faced with a subpoena from the Chairman and Ranking Member, Mr. Simpson refused to provide public testimony, using his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to negotiate for a closed-door interview,” he added.
Foy also blasted Fusion GPS for not being compliant with the Senate panel’s requests, and accused them of handing over thousands of pages of news clippings and blank documents, The Hill reported.
“It has still not responded to dozens of follow-up questions or responded sufficiently to document requests. Without that cooperation, the record is incomplete. And it took a bipartisan subpoena from Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein to achieve what little cooperation the committee has received through a transcribed interview,” Foy told The Hill.
In addition, Foy said they have recordings of Fusion GPS attorney Joshua Levy requesting the transcript be confidential.
“Second, it is false that Fusion GPS has ‘consistently supported the release of the transcript’. Mr. Levy is recorded by the court reporter as saying during the interview, ‘We’d like to make a request that it be kept confidential given the sensitivity of the matters discussed today,’” Grassley’s spokesman continued.
Levy argued that his clients statements are being misinterpreted.
“The Chairman’s office misstates the history of Mr. Simpson’s cooperation with its investigation,” said Fusion GPS attorney Joshua Levy in a statement.
“Should the Committee choose to release his testimony, the public will see a 300-page transcript covering 10 hours of questions and answers,” he added.
It might only be a matter of time until the transcript is released, as Grassley stated in August that it ultimately would be.
The salacious dossier remains a lightning rod of controversy since much of it was proven to be false, and it was revealed that the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the DNC funded the dossier “research.”
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