House Intel panel interviews co-founder of firm tied to Trump dossierBy Olivia Beavers- 11/14/17 09:38 PM EST
The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday interviewed Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the opposition research firm that helped assemble the controversial "Steele dossier," during a closed-door meeting that lasted nearly seven hours.
An attorney for Fusion GPS described the meeting as a success, saying the forum allowed them to protect their client's confidential information while pushing back against the Trump administration's attempts to discredit the firm.
"Throughout this entire year, the White House and its allies on the Hill and elsewhere have attempted at every turn to smear Fusion GPS because of its connection to the 'Steele dossier,' which has launched a number of investigations and that has been tied to a number of investigations into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russian government," said Joshua Levy, one of Simpson's lawyers.
"We were pleased we could cooperate with the committee today under this agreement," he added.
This meeting comes a week after Simpson, who went before the committee voluntarily, spent three hours with his legal team ironing out an agreement before he would commit to the interview.
"We were able to cooperate and work with the committee today to give them the information they need through an agreement with the committee that struck a balance between Congress’s right to information and our client’sprivileges and legal obligations," Levy added.
Fusion GPS became entangled in a national controversy over its role in assembling the Russian dossier, a set of memos compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that contained unverified allegations against President Trump and his ties to Russia.
Levy denied that Simpson had any involvement in writing up the dossier, which has led to a flurry of lawsuits, but added that “now in hindsight [it] looks quite accurate.”
The lawyer also maintained that Steele, who still talks to Simpson “from time to time,” never paid any source for the information used in the dossier.
Two other firm executives — Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan — invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination last month when called to testify before the House Intelligence panel.
A "Trump cabal has carried out a campaign to demonize our client for having been tied to the Trump dossier,” Levy said at the time, according to Bloomberg News.
"We endeavor to work with all serious investigators who are going to be striking the balance between Congress’s right to information and our client’s privileges and legal obligations," Levy said last month, Bloomberg reported. "We’ve done that with other committees, and will continue to do so."
“We learned a great deal in the interview,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel, said after the Tuesday interview adjourned.
The House Intelligence Committee is one of several congressional committees investigation Russian interference in the 2016 election.