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

JOE RAEDLE

Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham are trying to get the FBI to investigate Christopher Steele, the guy who put together the Trump "dossier".

Blumenthal appeared on MSNBC tonight, and Steve Kornacki--filling in for Chris Matthews--asked him if he's aware of the evidence they're citing "that justifies the investigation".

Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been conducting an investigation running parallel to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Trump's alleged ties to Russian Federation. "Publicizing a criminal referral based on classified information raises serious questions about whether this letter is nothing more than another attempt to discredit government sources, in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation", Joshua A. Levy, an attorney for Fusion GPS, told The New York Times.

The criminal referral is an escalation by Republicans struggling over the credibility of the dossier written by Steele about President Donald Trump and Russia -- and by extension the FBI and special counsel investigations into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump team.

The letter by Graham and Grassley also noted that they were not questioning "the veracity of claims contained in the dossier". The dossier forms much of the basis for Congress and the DOJ's investigation into aforementioned alleged ties between Trump and Russian Federation. It has faced renewed criticism as conservatives have ramped up attacks on perceived bias within the Department of Justice.

Republicans have accused the FBI of basing its investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian Federation on claims from the dossier, which was paid for in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.




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

On Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, a Democrat on the Judiciary committee, called the move a partisan effort "aimed at someone who reported wrongdoing, rather than committed it". He is accusing Rosenstein of overstepping the scope of his authority by appointing special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate not just "links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with" the campaign, but "any matters that arose or may arise directly from" the investigation. I hope it's up to the task.

"Given all that we've learned through the course of the investigations, it's telling that THIS is what Republicans are now choosing to pursue", tweeted Sen.

Dated Jan. 4, the letter indicates the senators passed attached a classified memo "related to certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple US news outlets regarding the so-called "Trump dossier" that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

The Judiciary Committee probe is one of three congressional investigations into Russian interference into the USA election, and is separate from Robert Mueller's probe. Fusion was paid for the investigation by Perkins Coie, an intermediary for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. 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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