Trump demands Justice Department say who paid for salacious dossier

President Trump on Saturday called for his own Justice Department to publicly release who paid for a salacious dossier that includes unverified allegations about his connections with Russia.

In an afternoon tweet, the president drew attention to how two officials at Fusion GPS, a political research firm behind the dossier, invoked the Fifth Amendment before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

“Officials behind the now discredited ‘Dossier’ plead the Fifth,” the president tweeted. “Justice Department and/or FBI should immediately release who paid for it.”

The dossier, authored by former British spy Christopher Steele, claims that the Russian government had collected compromising information on Trump for several years. The document was circulated among journalists in 2016 and provided to the FBI.

Trump has called the report false.

Fusion GPS has gone to court in an attempt to block a House committee subpoena for the company’s banking records.


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had issued a subpoena on Oct. 4 for those TD Bank records. But, according to documents reviewed by Fox News, Fusion is seeking a "temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction" to block the release of those records.

Fusion's filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claimed that complying with the subpoena would "deny Plaintiff and its clients their rights to free speech and expressive association as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution."

However, committee Republicans say Fusion is not a media organization and not entitled to the same protections.

Fusion has refused to tell congressional committees who paid for the dossier or reveal its sources.

In this Oct. 11, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during an event at the Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pa. Trump's tax overhaul package is getting resistance from an unusual alliance of interests opposed to his plans to scrap the federal deduction for state and local taxes. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump on Saturday called for his own Justice Department to publicly release who paid for a salacious dossier that includes unverified allegations about his connections with Russia.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch and top lieutenant Thomas Catan were subpoenaed to appear before the committee in a closed-door session on Wednesday but asserted their right not to testify.

Fritsch and Catan took the Fifth on every question posed by committee members. Another co-founder, Glenn Simpson, is under subpoena for a later date.

That move was expected.

On Saturday, the president also seemed to reference Facebook’s recently announcement that it believes Russian operatives spent more than $100,000 on Facebook ads during the election.

“Keep hearing about ‘tiny’ amount of money spent on Facebook ads,” he said. “What about the billions of dollars of Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC & CBS?”


He also took aim, yet again, at his formal presidential campaign rival.

"Crooked Hillary Clinton spent hundreds of millions of dollars more on Presidential Election than I did," Trump tweeted. "Facebook was on her side, not mine!"

Earlier this month, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday they have "hit a wall" in trying to probe the origin of the dossier, as the committee forges ahead with its investigation into Russia’s interference and possible collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 election.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee, said the committee has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to contact Steele and hopes he will cooperate.

“Those offers have gone unaccepted,” Burr said. “The committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it, who are your sources and sub-sources.”

Fox News' Alex Pappas and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.