Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

GOP senators target dossier author in criminal referral

GOP senators target dossier author in criminal referral

Republican senators have made the first known criminal referral in the congressional probes into alleged Russian election meddling, targeting the author of a dossier that purported to detail Russia's involvement and the Trump campaign's complicity. Lindsey Graham of SC, who heads a Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism, said they believe the former MI-6 operative lied to US investigators about his contact with reporters.

The Justice Department and attorneys for Steele did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

US Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have called on the Justice Department (DOJ) to investigate Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Trump-Russia dossier that was revealed to the public in January 2017. The memos written by a former British intelligence agent and Russia expert, Christopher Steele, made a series of allegations, including multiple secret meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russian agents.

In recommending a criminal investigation into Steele, Grassley and Graham aren't calling the contents of his dossier into question but rather claiming there's evidence he lied to the FBI about contacts with journalists.

The cover letter does not say who the senators believe Steele lied to, but Grassley said in a statement about the referral that "everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

The dossier was turned over to the FBI in 2016, and federal investigators worked to corroborate portions of it.

For months, it was suspected that the Steele dossier, which was shared with U.S. intelligence agencies after the 2016 election, may have prompted the FBI's decision to open an investigation into the matter.

"The rule of law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves", Graham said in a statement.

More news: Amazon Alexa now controls your microwave

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".

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".

The bipartisan split in the congressional investigations has seen Republicans seeking to undermine the credibility of Steele and the firm that hired him to produce the dossier, Fusion GPS.

"I wasn't consulted about this referral nor were any of my Democratic colleagues", Feinstein said in a statement.

In an emailed comment, Joshua Levy, a lawyer for Fusion GPS, suggested that the senators' letter was an effort to undermine the special counsel's investigation.

"After a year of investigations into Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place", said Joshua A. Levy, counsel for Fusion GPS.

"I don't take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation".

Simpson added: "We're extremely proud of our work to highlight Mr Trump's Russian Federation ties".

Like this: