Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Republican Senators seek criminal probe of Trump 'dossier' author

Republican Senators seek criminal probe of Trump 'dossier' author

The two Senators who both serve on the Judiciary Committee where Grassley is the chairman told the Justice Department Steele "lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in the dossier, and they urged the department to investigate", the Times explains. Lindsey Graham of SC, who heads a Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism, said they believe the former MI-6 operative lied to USA investigators about his contact with reporters.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she and her Democratic colleagues were not consulted on the referral. It has faced renewed criticism as conservatives have ramped up attacks on perceived bias within the Department of Justice.

"I don't take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation", Grassley said in a statement.

Steele, a former MI-6 agent, was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate alleged ties between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign team with Russian actors.

"The referral is for further investigation only, and is not meant to be an allegation of a crime", the committee's release said. "But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review", Grassley said in a statement.

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Republicans allege the dossier, which was commissioned by research firm Fusion GPS, served as the basis of the federal investigation in the president's alleged ties to Russian Federation. "I'll continue to stand strong against any efforts to undermine Special Counsel Mueller's investigation, as well as the ongoing congressional investigations", Feinstein said. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

Grassley also cast doubt on whether Steele could be innocent, writing, "Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely".

Grassley's and Graham's letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray was attached to a classified memorandum that the senators said addressed apparent communications between Steele and "multiple U.S. news outlets" regarding the dossier.

There are now three ongoing congressional investigations into allegations of Russian interference in the election and complicity by Donald Trump's campaign team.

The Trump dossier, sometimes called the Steele memo, contains numerous unverified allegations against President Trump, including that Russian intelligence had a video of him in a compromising sexual situation. USA 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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