Senators Recommend Criminal Investigation into Trump Dossier Author
Two top Republican senators, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, (R-IA), and Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), have formally recommended Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Trump dossier, to the Justice Department and FBI for criminal investigation.
The story was first reported by the New York Times, and laid out the reasons given by the two senior GOP lawmakers in a letter they sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who is overseeing the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians—and FBI Director Christopher Wray. They have reason to believe someone lied, and so are starting with the most likely person, the man at the heart of the document that is under increased scrutiny.
…Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a senior committee member, told 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 committee is running one of three congressional investigations into Russian election meddling, and its inquiry has come to focus, in part, on Mr. Steele’s explosive dossier that purported to detail Russia’s interference and the Trump campaign’s complicity…
It is interesting to note, that the Times story admits that the underlying charges contained within the dossier remain entirely without confirmation, something that they and most other major media outlets had refused to do, rather, declaring the document a source of “intelligence” whose basis for veracity surrounded Carter Page’s trip to Russia in the summer of 2016.
The criminal referral appears to make no assessment of the veracity of the dossier’s contents, much of which remains unsubstantiated nearly a year after it became public…
New year, new narrative. What is now front and center is how that document was used by the intelligence community to spy on President Trump, and indeed to what extent it was the impetus for the current Robert Mueller, Special Counsel investigation into collusion. After months of prying documents and testimony from those who were involved, it has emerged that there are irregularities in testimony, and that some of these show clearly someone is lying.
Mr. Grassley’s decision to recommend criminal charges appeared likely to be based on reports of Mr. Steele’s meetings with the F.B.I., which were provided to the committee by the Justice Department in recent weeks.
It was not clear why, if a crime is apparent in the F.B.I. reports that were reviewed by the Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department had not moved to charge Mr. Steele already.
The circumstances under which Mr. Steele is alleged to have lied were unclear, as much of the referral was classified.
The Times article is focused on Steele, but nowhere in Grassley’s letter does he indicate that it is Steele who is lying. A conservative blogger pointed out that the criminal referral is more likely an attempt by Graham and Grassley to shake the tree and further uncover the corrupt liars within the FBI.
It is the FBI that is claiming Steels said certain things, and it is new document evidence from FBI reports, as well as testimony from last December’s closed door session with Deputy Assistant Andrew McCabe, that are showing discrepancies between what the FBI is saying, and what they claim Steele said when he met with them earlier in 2016. This is why Grassley wants answers, and not just from Steele.
I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation. 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…Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI. If the same actions have different outcomes, and those differences seem to correspond to partisan political interests, then the public will naturally suspect that law enforcement decisions are not on the up-and-up. Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely. In any event, it’s up to the Justice Department to figure that out.
Within the obtained FBI reports are conflicting statements and accounts that do not align with known evidence. The FBI is attributing claims to the meetings with Christopher Steele that do not match known evidence about the Steele Dossier and use therein.
In case anyone was to mistake the intent of what Grassley and Graham are moving toward—something the Times seems lost to—Grassley made it even more clear calling for a “special counsel” into the matter, not so much because of Steele’s alleged conduct, but because of the DOJ’s willingness to use the dossier.
After reviewing how Mr. Steele conducted himself in distributing information contained in the dossier and how many stop signs the DOJ ignored in its use of the dossier, I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter. The rule of Law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves. I hope the Department of Justice will carefully review our letter and take appropriate action.
Grassley and Graham are forcing the DOJ to reconcile the conflicts between the FBI presentations to the judiciary committee about the origin of, and their use of, the Steele Dossier against known evidence.
Their ultimate target seems to be the corrupt elements within the FBI and DOJ, not Steele, which is something the Times seems oblivious to.
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