Fusion GPS, the firm behind the scandalous “Trump dossier” that included a whole slew of unproven claims about President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, lost its bid Thursday to keep their bank records private, as a federal judge ruled against the firm.
The firm had hired former British spy Christopher Steele to create the document, which was first published by BuzzFeed in January of last year.
The House Intelligence Committee, along with committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) had slapped Fusion GPS with a subpoena, requesting the company’s bank records, in an effort to find out who, specifically, had paid for the creation of the salacious claims against Trump.
In his 26-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon rejected Fusion GPS’ claims that confidential information about its clients and sources would be in jeopardy of being leaked if the committee obtained the banking records it is seeking.
“The Subpoena at issue in today’s case was issued pursuant to a constitutionally authorized investigation by a Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives with jurisdiction over intelligence and intelligence-related activities — activities designed to protect us from potential cyber-attacks now and in the future. The Subpoena seeks the production of records that have a ‘reasonable possibility’ … of producing information relevant to that constitutionally authorized investigation,” the judge wrote.
Fusion GPS was founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson and co-founder Peter Fritsch.
Ironically, Nellie Ohr, who is the wife of former (Obama administration) DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.
Fox News reported:
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon found Fusion’s objections to the subpoena to be “unavailing” and denied the research firm’s request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would have prevented it from handing over the documents. Fusion GPS can appeal Leon’s ruling to a federal appeals court.
“Although the records sought by the Subpoena are sensitive in nature,” Leon wrote in a 26-page ruling, “the nature of the records themselves, and the Committee’s procedures designed to ensure their confidentiality, more than adequately protect the sensitivity of that information.”
Leon also rejected Fusion’s claim that the subpoena would have a chilling effect on its work for political clients and violate the firm’s First Amendment rights.
“While the opposition research Fusion conducted on behalf of its clients may have been political in nature,” Leon wrote, “Fusion’s commercial relationship with those clients was not, and thus that relationship does not provide Fusion with some special First Amendment protection from subpoenas … the First Amendment is not a secrecy pact!”
In October, Fox News confirmed that Fusion GPS was retained by Marc Elias, an attorney representing the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Fusion to produce the dossier.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) January 5, 2018
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 5, 2018