Glenn Simpson would prefer not to

We have closely followed the revelations related to Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS and their work on behalf of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign. We weren’t supposed to know about it. Simpson of course lies at the heart of the proposition that the Trump campaign “colluded” with the organs of the Russian government in the course of the campaign. Simpson commissioned the Steele Dossier and gave his bill of goods to the FBI. He also leaked the substance of the Steele Dossier to his media friends in his patented style. It’s Glenn Simpson’s world; we’re just living in it.

Simpson has testified on a few occasions to various congressional committees, but the House Judiciary Committee (per Chairman Bob Goodlatte) has also sought Simpson’s testimony via subpoena. Simpson has personal knowledge of subjects within the jurisdiction of the committee and of interest to it. Making a heretofore unknown objection to a lawful congressional subpoena, Simpson asserts that the committee’s object is “not to discover the truth.” According to his attorneys, Simpson will accordingly invoke his constitutional rights not to testify “under the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.”

As a general matter, there is no First Amendment right to defy a congressional subpoena. Invoking a First Amendment right not to testify was a popular tactic of former Communists called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. See footnote 1 in the letter submitted by Simpson’s lawyers below. These former Communists who refused to testify have been lionized in liberal lore. Simpson apparently seeks to appropriate the sheen of these former Communists in the eyes of his friends in the media.

There is of course a Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions under compulsion on the ground that his testimony may incriminate the witness. As the letter notes, Simpson has previously testified of his own volition to certain congressional committees without invocation of any Fifth Amendment right. This strongly suggests that Simpson’s assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege is made in bad faith. Indeed, the tendentious nature of the letter makes Simpson’s bad faith plain.

The letter submitted to the committee on Simpson’s behalf is a public relations instrument of the first order. As such, it requires some translation. It is not to be taken at face value. For unstated reasons of his own, Glenn Simpson would prefer not to. He awaits the coming of a House controlled by the Democrats.

“In light of Mr. Simpson’s assertion of his constitutional privileges not to testify,” the letter concludes, “we ask that he be excused from appearing for the deposition on October 16, 2018.” I don’t think that’s how it works, but we shall see.

2018.10.11 … by on Scribd

Via Olivia Beavers/The Hill.

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