Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a senior committee member, notified the Justice Department they had reason to believe that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in the dossier, and they urged the department to investigate, the NY Times reported Friday.
This is probably a result of Steele’s testimony to the FBI. The senators wrote:
“Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained.”
The Judiciary Committee is one of three congressional investigations into Russian election meddling. The Steele anti-Trump dossier has become a focus of the Republican committees because it is opposition research that might have been used to launch the probe in the first place.
The senators didn’t deal with the credibility of the dossier which was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. To date, it cannot be verified by the FBI.
Democrats won’t like Mr. Steele being singled out because their focus is on the President. The investigation was supposed to look at alleged Russian hacking into our election, became a case of Russia-Trump collusion, and ended up ensnaring some players in the Trump campaign for process crimes — crimes that have nothing to do with the original charge.
Since the dossier has been disputed and largely debunked and since it was paid for by Democrat leadership, the new storyline is that the dossier only added to the evidence the FBI had in hand and they did not rely on it.
The FBI was going to pay Steele for his research but the NY Times says they backed off when the information was leaked.
Recently, the storyline was that low-level employee of the campaign, George Papadopoulos, told an Australian official about his efforts to get information about Hillary from the Russians. However, the Australian never told the FBI until two months after the investigation was already in full swing.
There has not yet been a DoJ reaction to the referral but if Ret. Lt. Gen. Flynn is in trouble for lying, shouldn’t Steele be? The NY Times is very concerned that it’s an effort to “smear” Steele and “muddy” the inquiry, however, if he did lie, it certainly puts the entire dossier in further doubt and the public needs to know.
Both Senators Grassley and Graham have pressed the agency on its handling of the dossier and have been frequently rebuffed or were stalled in their efforts to get information from the DoJ and the FBI or to get witnesses to testify.
Mr. Steele, hired by Fusion GPS on behalf of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, is a former MI6 spook with ties to the Kremlin. Most of the dossier is believed to have come from Kremlin agents but somehow that isn’t considered collusion.
It should also be mentioned here that collusion is not a crime.
Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS founder has been less than transparent and has been very public in his criticisms of his accusers – Republican senators and representatives. The NY Times keeps playing up the fact that Fusion was first hired by a conservative outlet, The Washington Free Beacon but they always fail to mention that the outlet had nothing to do with Steele or the Kremlin connections — all that was solely on the Democrats.
Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee is also investigating the Justice Department and Fusion GPS but is being met with extreme resistance to the point of him threatening the FBI and DoJ top officials with legal action. He believes he will now get cooperation after Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray met with Speaker Ryan Wednesday.