WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The founding father of a political research agency that employed former British spy Christopher Steele to compile a dossier on alleged contacts between presidential candidate Donald Trump and his advisers and Russia is refusing to testify to the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
A letter despatched on Thursday to the committee by attorneys for Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson stated their shopper won’t give a deposition in response to a committee subpoena.
“The committee’s inquiry is not designed to discover the truth,” Simpson’s attorneys stated within the letter to the committee’s chairman, Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte.
“The goal of this committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, all as part of an effort to protect” Trump, the letter stated.
Goodlatte introduced the subpoena final month after Simpson refused the committee’s request for an interview. The deposition is scheduled for Oct. 16.
The committee may vote to carry Simpson in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify.
The committee didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The letter stated Simpson had voluntarily testified earlier than three congressional committees.
Fusion GPS was employed by attorneys for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign to conduct research on Trump, her opponent.
The agency in flip employed Steele, a former British intelligence officer, to supply a dossier that outlined alleged Russian monetary dealings with Trump and included salacious private particulars that stay unconfirmed.
The dossier was despatched to the FBI, which already had launched an investigation into whether or not Russia interfered with the election and whether or not Trump marketing campaign officers labored with Moscow to attempt to sway the end result.
The Kremlin denies meddling within the election. Trump, who denies his marketing campaign colluded with Russia, has referred to as Steele’s work an “unverified and Fake Dirty Dossier” and has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Reese