House committee votes to release Fusion GPS testimony in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to release to the public testimony from the co-founder of the Fusion GPS firm, which researched President Donald Trump's ties to Russia and produced a dossier denounced by the White House.

The House of Representatives panel is conducting one of the two major congressional investigations of Trump, Russia and the 2016 U.S election, in addition to a separate probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Committee members leaving a business meeting where the panel voted told reporters the release of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's testimony had been approved.

A committee aide later said the panel had unanimously approved the release, and that the testimony transcript would be posted later on Thursday on the Intelligence Committee's website.

Earlier this month, Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein released Simpson's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she is the ranking Democrat. The panel's Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley, had not agreed to the release.

Fusion GPS, based in Washington, hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump's business dealings with Russia.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the dossier, which was based on Steele's investigation, calling it "bogus" and "discredited and phony."

Some Republicans critical of Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials have claimed that Steele's dossier triggered the initial probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

They have raised questions about whether the FBI may have relied on the Steele document to improperly obtain surveillance warrants to spy on Trump's campaign associates.

The testimony by Fusion GPS's Simpson before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August contradicted those claims.

Ever since Feinstein released that testimony on Jan. 9, House Intelligence Committee Democrats have been asking that Simpson's testimony to their committee be made public.

Russia has denied interfering in the election and Trump has denied any collusion.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

01/18/2018 12:18

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