Grassley, Graham call for investigation into "Trump dossier" author

01_02_18_TedLieu

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) referred the author of the "Trump dossier", Christopher Steele, to the Justice Department of for investigation of potential violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001 for false statements investigators have reason to believe Steele made about the distribution of claims contained in the dossier.

"The referral is for further investigation only, and is not meant to be an allegation of a crime", the committee's release said.

A pair of top Republican senators have asked for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer behind the controversial Trump-Russia dossier.

An op-ed in the New York Times written by Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the former journalists and founders of investigative firm Fusion GPS, said congressional intelligence committees, which are conducting their own investigations into the Trump campaign, have been aware of the allegations for months.

The American legal system is really getting a workout these days, now that we have a president who sees courts and the Justice Department primarily as tools to take revenge on his enemies. The two Republicans told the Justice Department on Friday that they believed that Steele may have lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation about "the distribution of claims from the dossier".

But subsequent reporting, including by the Guardian and the New York Times, has shown that United States intelligence agencies were prompted to investigate the issues before they received the dossier.

Simpson has testified before three congressional committees - albeit behind closed doors - and has explained how his clients, the Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign, came to hire Fusion GPS, setting off the private investigation into the Trump campaign.

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Democrats dismissed the criminal referral as another political attempt to discredit the Russian Federation investigations.

The minority leader of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. "I'll continue to stand strong against any efforts to undermine Special Counsel Mueller's investigation, as well as the ongoing congressional investigations". Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

In Grassley's statement, he highlighted inconsistencies that "seem to correspond to partisan political interests" and said he feels "obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review".

In a cover letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray released by the committee, the senators say the referral relates to "certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple US news outlets regarding the so-called 'Trump dossier.'" The rest of the referral is classified and was not released.

The dossier is a compilation of memos Steele wrote during the 2016 campaign that contained several allegations of connections between Trump and Russian Federation, including that Trump had been compromised by the Kremlin.

Fusion was paid for the investigation by Perkins Coie, an intermediary for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The criminal referral comes a year after Republican leaders promised to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. United States officials have corroborated some aspects of the dossier, although its most salacious allegations have not been corroborated by the intelligence community or CNN.

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