Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not show up for scheduled appearances Thursday before the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees. Glenn Simpson, the former reporter and co-founder of the shadowy firm Fusion GPS, sent a letter to the Judiciary Committee via his attorney stating the intention to “invoke his constitutional rights not to testify.”
The move first move dares House Republicans to issue a subpoena, while the other defies another compelling a closed-door deposition.
House Republicans wanted to question Mr. Rosenstein after former FBI General Counsel James Baker told lawmakers last week that Mr. Rosenstein was “seriously” considering secretly recording President Donald Trump. He said the deputy attorney general also discussed using the recording to invoke the 25th Amendment in an effort to remove him from office for being unfit.
It confirmed a report published by The New York Times in September, though at the time the deputy attorney general issued a statement vehemently denying ever engaging in a silent coup to remove the president from office. President Trump met with Mr. Rosenstein last week in the wake of the report, and sources told People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) the president’s personal lawyer did not believe he was serious.
Further, lawmakers also wanted to ask about an alleged meeting in May 2017, in which the deputy attorney general and then-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe argued that the other should recuse from any role in the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The argument allegedly took place as Mr. Mueller himself was in the room and look on.
Mr. Baker said he met with fired former FBI deputy director Mr. McCabe and former FBI attorney Lisa Page shortly after their meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in May 2017. Mr. McCabe was fired for “lack of candor” and leaking to the media “to advance his personal interests.” Ms. Page and Mr. Baker resigned together in disgrace for their center role in the scandal surrounding the probes into Hillary Clinton and Russia.
The former top FBI lawyer and ally to fired former FBI director James Comey told the committees that Mr. McCabe, Ms. Page and Mr. Rosenstein had discussed the possibility of secretly recording President Trump.
“Andy McCabe, Lisa Page took seriously what Rosenstein had said,” a source with direct knowledge of the testimony told Sara Carter. “And when they returned to the office, the three of them discussed the possibility of secretly recording Trump.”
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said on Twitter the latest snub is part of the “coordinated effort to undermine” President Trump by “those who will stop at nothing to cover it up.”
“Rod Rosenstein doesn’t show today. Now Fusion’s Glenn Simpson reportedly takes the Fifth,” he tweeted. “At some point, we have to realize: the problem has never been President Trump. The problem is the coordinated effort to undermine him… and those who will stop at nothing to cover it up.”
Rod Rosenstein doesn’t show today. Now Fusion’s Glenn Simpson reportedly takes the Fifth.
At some point, we have to realize: the problem has never been President Trump. The problem is the coordinated effort to undermine him… and those who will stop at nothing to cover it up. https://t.co/KtE3b00Ki8
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) October 11, 2018
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Oh., a Freedom Caucus member challenging House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for the speakership, also took to Twitter.
“You know we’re getting close when first Rosenstein is a no-show, and now Glenn Simpson is taking the 5th,” he tweeted.
You know we’re getting close when first Rosenstein is a no-show, and now Glenn Simpson is taking the 5th.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., vowed to shift the focus of the Committee toward “the relevant witnesses that the FBI did not” interview in the investigation into the uncorroborated, collapsing sexual assault allegations against Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The U.S. Senate voted 50-48 last week to confirm Justice Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, but House Democrats are promising to investigate and even impeach the 114th justice.
Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who would chair the committee if the Democrats take control of the U.S. House, declared the U.S. Senate “failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent.”
But a growing number of Republicans are calling on the committee to issue a subpoena. Mr. Baker also told lawmakers that a top official at the FBI met with Democratic Party lawyers to discuss allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
That places meetings between the FBI and at least one attorney from Perkins Coie during the 2016 season and before the FBI secured a search warrant targeting Trump’s campaign.
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows intelligence agencies to collect information on foreign targets abroad. It also created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a secret court critics say serves as a rubber stamp for federal prosecutors and intelligence agencies.
The Justice Department (DOJ) previously released documents used to justify the FISA warrant application to spy against Carter Page, a former and peripheral campaign adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.
The heavily-redacted documents on their own already confirmed crucial and disturbing details of the memo prepared by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and other Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). That includes the allegation that the FBI and DOJ relied upon the infamous and discredited dossier put together by former MI6 British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, , identified as Source #1.
It also revealed the FBI and DOJ misled the FISC. It’s clear they went out of their way to not fully disclose the political nature of the dossier, their use of circular reporting to support it and that much of the information in it is materially false. The dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the campaign for Hillary Clinton, identified as Political Party #2 and Candidate #2.
Yet, the FBI did not tell the FISC that Political Party #2 and Candidate #2 paid for the dossier as political opposition research against Candidate #1.
The DNC and Clinton campaign used Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS, a shadowy research and public relations firm known for their alleged smear campaigns, who in turn hired Mr. Steele. The former spy of the Russia desk at MI6 almost exclusively used Kremlin sources to gather the information he then fed to DOJ officials Bruce Ohr. But they funded the operation and failed to properly disclose those payments, which is precisely the subject of a complaint at the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
But congressional investigators are more concerned about the direct link from Democratic operatives to the FBI and DOJ. Mr. Baker identified Democratic lawyer Michael Sussman, a former DOJ lawyer, as the Perkins Coie attorney who reached out to him. He said the firm gave him documents and a thumb drive related to Russian interference in the 2016 election, hacking and a possible connection to President Trump.
Mr. Baker had been the subject of an investigation conducted by the DOJ Office of Inspector General. He was reassigned in late 2017 after information uncovered indicated he was leaking classified information about the so-called “Trump dossier.” It was also revealed that he had ties to a journalist who wrote about the debunked, unverified opposition research document that sparked allegations claiming the Trump campaign had connection to Russia.
He is reportedly considering a job at the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning Washington D.C. think tank.
The Hill reported Mr. Baker’s interview “broke new ground both about the FBI’s use of news media in 2016 and 2017 to further the Trump case and about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s conversations in spring 2017 regarding possible use of a body wire to record Trump.”