GPS Fusion, founders of the firm that created the Trump dossier, refused to testify in response to a subpoena from the Republican Chairman of the House Intel Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), claiming that he doesn’t have the authority to issue the subpoena.
Calling Nunes’ investigation “irregular and unusual,” legal expert Renato Mariotti pointed out that by declining to testify they are highlighting how unusual Nunes’ investigation is.
THREAD: Why are the founders of the firm that created the Trump dossier declining to testify? Will they be able to get away with that? https://t.co/ybogPwelIx
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) October 16, 2017
Here’s the thread:
2/ Nunes is the Chairman of the House Intel Committee who has supposedly recused himself from the Russia investigation.
3/ Nonetheless, he has conducted his own personal investigation into the Trump dossier, separate from the committee’s investigation.
4/ Founders of the firm that created the dossier (Fusion GPS) are refusing to testify in response to his subpoena.
5/ But the founders are *not* taking the Fifth. They claim that Nunes didn’t have authority to issue the subpoena.
6/ They also claim that being forced to testify would undermine their First Amendment rights by forcing them to reveal who hired them.
7/ Their best argument is that the Nunes subpoena is invalid. The investigation Nunes is personally conducting is irregular and unusual.
8/ Their First Amendment argument faces a severe uphill battle. Generally speaking, you must testify in response to a lawful subpoena.
9/ Two exceptions are (1) if you take the Fifth and (2) if you assert a lawful privilege, like attorney-client privilege.
10/ The Fusion GPS founders aren’t asserting the Fifth or a privilege, so their refusal to comply is unusual.
11/ Obviously what Nunes is doing is even more unusual, and their refusal to testify (and potential legal fight) highlights that. /end
Nunes, of course, is not supposed to be involved in the Russia probe.
Nunes temporarily recused himself from the Trump Russia investigation due to pressure after he visited the CIA in secret to view classified documents relating to Russia and the House Ethics Committee revealed it was launching a probe into “public allegations” that Nunes “had made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.”
When Nunes’ subpoena was issued, a Republican aide told CBS News Nunes signed the subpoenas addressed to Fusion GPS at the request of Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who is chairing the Russia probe with Democrat Adam Schiff. The aide claimed Nunes did so “in compliance with the committee’s rules.”
However, a Democratic committee source told CBS that Nunes left Democrats in the dark about the subpoenas, saying they were issued “unilaterally by the majority, without the minority’s agreement and despite the good-faith engagement so far by the witnesses on cooperation terms.”
Nunes has been doing anything in his power to distract from the Russia probe, including spending taxpayer dollars investigating President Obama for “unmasking” Trump entourage members caught up in the Russia collusion probe. He is supposed to be keeping a distance from the Russia probe, but then issued this subpoena to the folks behind the Trump dossier, which Comey had hinted in June would be verified.
At the heart of the in many parts unverified Trump dossier is the explosive suggestion that there was contact between the Trump campaign and the Russian government about the existence of compromising personal and financial information about the Republican candidate for president and that the Russians had been cultivating Trump as a target for years.