A former campaign communications adviser to Donald Trump blew up at Democratic U.S. Senate aides on Tuesday at the end of a behind-the-scenes grilling connected to their wide-ranging Russia investigation.
New York-based political consultant Michael Caputo said he has spent $125,000 on attorneys to help him navigate the committee’s demands for documents and testimony, ruining his children’s economic future and forcing him to sell his family home.
Calling the probe a ‘witch hunt,’ Caputo demanded to know who is funding a secretive effort to continue digging into unsubstantiated allegations that Trump has ties with the Kremlin.
‘What America needs is an investigation of the investigators,’ he said. ‘I want to know: Who is paying for the spies’ work and coordinating this attack on President Donald Trump?’
‘I want to know who cost us so much money, who crushed our kids, who forced us out of our home, all because you lost an election. I want to know because God Damn you to Hell.’
Caputo lived in Russia for two decades but says he has no knowledge of any connections or contacts between the Trump campaign and agents of Moscow. He has launched a legal defense fund, collecting more than $10,000 from the public so far.
He told senators that he ‘can’t possibly pay the attendant legal costs and live near my aging father, raising my kids where I grew up.
‘Your investigation and others into the allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia are costing my family a great deal of money — more than $125,000 — and making a visceral impact on my children,’ he said.
Caputo lives in a small town near Buffalo, New York. But he said he has no choice other than moving ‘to Washington, New York City, Miami or elsewhere, just so I can make enough money to pay off these legal bills.’
He aimed most of his ire at aides to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat.
A Warner spokeswoman told CNN after the closed-door interview that the senator wouldn’t comment on any witnesses, ‘regardless of how outlandish or attention-seeking they might be.’
Caputo told WBEN radio that he blames ‘every single one of these people for what’s happening to my family,’ citing ‘death threats that are coming at us every single week.’
‘I blame them for the fact that my wife, last month, got a piece of a sniper rifle in the mail from an anonymous sender.’
Caputo’s testimony on Tuesday leaned heavily on news that a shadowy group of wealthy donors has spent $50 million to continue the work that resulted in the pre-election ‘dirty dossier’ of salacious claims against Trump.
The dossier’s creator, former British spy Christopher Steele, wrote that the Kremlin held compromising information about Trump including proof that he caroused with prostitutes during a viit to Moscow.
The president has denied everything in the dossier, but the Justice Department and FBI reportedly used it to obtain surveillance warrants targeting a member of the Trump campaign team.
In a report published Friday, the House Intelligence Committee quietly revealed
The Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm, to compile the dossier. But its eventual dissemination to reporters and the FBI failed to derail Trump’s White House aspirations.
Now another Washington firm, the Penn Quarter Group, has collected $50 million from a handful of funders to keep the ball rolling.
It has hired Steele and Fusion GPS to take part, and promises to share its findings with the FBI and the media.
The Penn Quarter Group’s founding principal, Daniel Jones, is a former senior staffer to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and worked for her on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
‘Good old Dan has been raising and spending millions to confirm the unconfirmable – and, of course, to keep all his old intel colleagues up-to-speed on what Fusion GPS and British and Russian spies have found. Got to keep that Russia story in the news,’ he vented.
‘Of course Dan’s in touch with you guys. We know from the news that he’s been briefing Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of this committee.’
‘Which one of you works for Senator Warner? Please give Danny my best.’
Jones’s $50 million effort is operating under the name ‘Democracy Integrity Project.’ He incorporated it in late January 2017, just 11 days after Trump took office.
Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson refused to answer a Senate hearing question last year about whether he was still being paid for work related to the Steele dossier.
Steele’s links to Jones were outed in February with the leak of a series of text messages between Jones and Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.
In the March 2017 texts, Jones suggested that he was the point of contact for Steele.