Firm behind Trump dossier declines to respond to House panel's subpoena

US President Donald Trump talks to the media on South Lawn of the White House in Washington before his departure to Greensboro, North Carolina, US on Oct 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US political research firm that commissioned a dossier on Donald Trump while he was running for president said on Monday (Oct 16) it would not comply with subpoenas issued by the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

Lawyers for Fusion GPS, which hired former British spy Christopher Steele to produce the Trump research, told the committee's Republican chairman, US Representative Devin Nunes, in a letter that the subpoenas were flawed and that nothing in the subpoenas indicated the intelligence committee had authorised him to issue them.

The lawyers also questioned Nunes' role in signing the subpoenas since he had recused himself from the committee's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential campaign.

"This act is another example of how you, as chair, have run your own operation in parallel to the committee's investigation," they said.

The lawyers noted the subpoenas, which have not been made public, ordered the Central Intelligence Agency to produce documents but pointed out that the Fusion GPS firm and its representatives who received subpoenas have no relationship with the CIA.

The letter accuses the House committee of "bad faith interactions" with Fusion's lawyers and says that "you have left us no choice but to advise our clients to assert their privileges in the face of these subpoenas."

It requests that the committee excuse the Fusion representatives from testifying before the committee and that if they are forced to appear, they"will invoke their constitutional privileges not to testify."

Representatives for Nunes did not immediately respond to e-mails requesting comment.

In August, the Senate Judiciary committee, which also is investigating Steele's dossier, met for more than 10 hours with Fusion founder Glenn Simpson. The committee has not released a transcript of Simpson's testimony.

The dossier assembled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele outlined Russian financial and personal links to Trump's campaign and associates. The Senate Intelligence Committee and special counsel Robert Mueller are looking into possible collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign and Mueller's investigators have met with Steele.

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