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House GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder

House GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder
© Greg Nash

House Republicans have set a deadline for hearing a deposition from Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the opposition research firm that helped assemble the controversial “Steele dossier.”

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday notified members that Simpson’s interview will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m., a Judiciary Committee spokeswoman confirmed.

Simpson has told the panel through counsel that he will not answer the lawmakers’ questions, but the committee is seeking to compel him to appear for the deposition.

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“Mr. Simpson's attorney has already indicated his client will exercise his privilege not to answer questions at the deposition. It is unclear if Republicans will force Mr. Simpson to assert that privilege in person or not,” a letter circulated among Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee states.

The interview is a part of a joint investigation being conducted by the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth following House GOP subpoena House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein Fusion GPS co-founder will invoke 'constitutional rights not to testify': lawyers MORE (R-Va.) subpoenaed Simpson not long after a lawyer representing Fusion GPS declined a request for an interview in a scathing letter sent to him and Oversight Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyHouse GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder Collusion bombshell: DNC lawyers met with FBI on Russia allegations before surveillance warrant Comey rejects request for closed-door interview with House Republicans MORE (R-S.C.).

Fusion GPS lawyer Joshua Levy accused GOP lawmakers of leading an investigation in which they “flout rules of confidentiality in order to manipulate the record and prejudice witnesses.”

“Part and parcel of this concerted effort by the President’s congressional allies has been a campaign of retaliation against the government’s whistleblowers, including our client Mr. Simpson, for their willingness to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement and for their exercise of their constitutional rights to free speech and political activity as American citizens,” Levy wrote.

Levy also said the joint investigation was wasting taxpayer money as Republican lawmakers worked to undermine special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“The so-called ‘task force,’ formed by members of the two committees you chair, has demonstrated a propensity to flout rules of confidentiality in order to manipulate the record and prejudice witnesses,” Levy stated.

Shortly after the letter surfaced, a Judiciary committee aide confirmed to The Hill that Goodlatte would subpoena Simpson to compel him to testify.

Simpson has faced increasing GOP scrutiny for his involvement in compiling the controversial dossier that makes a series of salacious and unverified allegations about possible ties between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE and Russia.

Simpson, a former journalist who later co-founded Fusion GPS, hired former British spy Christopher Steele to help compile the memos about Trump’s ties to Russia, which were funded in part by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate GOP pollster says polls didn't pick up on movement in week before 2016 election MORE's campaign.

Republicans have pointed to ties between the opposition research firm and top federal officials as evidence to support their claims that there was bias against Trump among the top brass at the FBI and Department of Justice.

Some conservative House members have alleged that a contractor working for Simpson's firm, Nellie Ohr, could have passed the dossier on to her husband, Bruce Ohr, who worked as a top official with the Department of Justice during the election.

Simpson, who has already met with the House and Senate intelligence committees, is one of multiple witnesses tied to the dossier that Republicans have sought to interview as part of their joint investigation.

Congressional investigators are expected to interview Nellie Ohr next week.