GOP senators send criminal referral to DOJ for dossier author

Sen. Charles Grassley

FBI investigators met with House Speaker Paul Ryan: FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with the House speaker to discuss sharing files related to their investigation of the infamous dossier about Trump's alleged ties to Russian Federation.

This has left Democrats in the unenviable position of arguing that the racist authoritarian who has repeatedly misled Congress in sworn testimony - and, apparently, tried to sabotage his own Federal Bureau of Investigation director on the president's behalf - must be allowed to continue running the Justice Department, for the sake of our democracy.

Two Republican senators urged USA justice officials Friday to open a criminal investigation into the author of the research dossier on President Donald Trump that allegedly detailed links between his campaign and Moscow.

The senators' referral states: "Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr Steele to you for investigation of potential violations. for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained". On Friday, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the department had received the referral and will review it.

The two men said the dossier was not the trigger for the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling, but that intelligence committees "have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources". Trump has called the dossier "phony" and derided it as a politically motivated hit job, and many Republicans in Congress have been focused on discrediting it.

Underneath all the drama though, perhaps the most illuminating news was that the impetus for the FBI investigation into Trump's Russia ties turned out not to be the Trump-Russia dossier, but rather a drunken admission from Trump's former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to an Australian diplomat that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. Lindsey Graham signed on to the letter. Simpson has testified before three congressional committees - albeit behind closed doors - and has explained how his clients, the Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign, came to hire Fusion GPS, setting off the private investigation into the Trump campaign.

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

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she and her Democratic colleagues were not consulted on the referral.

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.

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

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

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