Just after the election, one of the biggest stories on Russia and now President Trump were the salacious claims that came from an unsubstantiated campaign research dossier. These were some truly outrageous allegations about the president and his past visits to Russia (Trump has denied the allegations). Now it seems that information has come full circle as the Senate Judiciary Committee continues its investigation by filing a subpoena against Glenn Simpson. His company Fusion GPS commissioned the infamous Russia-Trump dossier.
On Wednesday he was expected to testify in front of the committee following a subpoena, but on Tuesday, the committee backed off its demand to hear from Simpson in an open session. Now he's likely to participate in the process privately, Politico reported. Simpson's lawyers, after first trying to explain Simpson was on vacation overseas and couldn't participate, then notified the committee that their client would "invoke his Fifth Amendment rights" and decline to testify.
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to protect yourself from self-incrimination. Simpson's lawyers further explained why he took issue with testifying, denying that the focus was truly on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a law that requires people working on behalf of a foreign country to register with the government:
This hearing's purported focus on FARA 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.
Simpson's involvement is just one small development in one of the several investigations into Trump's campaign and possible collusion. The investigations continue despite every effort by the President Trump to pressure the Justice Department through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who he has attacked for recusing himself on the Russia investigation.
The other person who was to appear on Wednesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to speak about the Foreign Agents Registration Act was Paul Manafort. He has retroactively registered himself under FARA, and agreed to provide documents and sit down to an interview.
The committee therefore decided not to subpoena him but said they could change their mind in the future. Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman at the time of the Russia meeting arranged buy Donald Trump Jr., which he attended. A similar agreement was reached between Trump Jr. and the committee.
As for that meeting, Fusion GPS has released a statement denying any implication in it. "Fusion GPS learned about this meeting from news reports and had no prior knowledge of it. Any claim that Fusion GPS arranged or facilitated this meeting in any way is absolutely false," the statement read.
The two senators working out the deals on subpoenas and testimony are Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican, and Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat. As the ranking members of the committee, they can subpoena if they come to an agreement. Should they change their mind on Simpson or others, the committee can still subpoena to compel testimony.