GOP senators send criminal referral to DOJ for dossier author

GOP senators send criminal referral to DOJ for dossier author

"We don't believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling", they wrote. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said she was unaware of the criminal referral before it was made. "You had people at the senior most level at the Department of Justice saying well, we know but we're not going to tell you".

The dossier, which began as an opposition research effort and became publicly known in early 2017, details Russian interference in the 2016 election and includes allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

An op-ed in the New York Times written by Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the former journalists and founders of investigative firm Fusion GPS, said congressional intelligence committees, which are conducting their own investigations into the Trump campaign, have been aware of the allegations for months. 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.

"Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI", Grassley said in a statement.

Four individuals, including three former campaign officials, have so far been indicted as part of an ongoing criminal federal investigation into whether or not Trump officials conspired with the Kremlin, including Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

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The probes are looking into allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 USA election to help Republican Trump. "I hope the Department of Justice will carefully review our letter and take appropriate action".

Most of the allegations levied against Steele were classified, as they were based on secret meetings between him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that have since been passed on to the Judiciary Committee.

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.

The Judiciary Committee has not interviewed Steele.

In the letter released by the senators, Grassley and Graham neither identify anyone to whom they believed Steele lied nor do they identify any news outlet.

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"The referral is for further investigation only, and is not meant to be an allegation of a crime", the committee's release said.

Fusion GPS' lawyer Joshua Levy has referred to the scrutiny on Steele as a "smear" meant to muddy the waters of the 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. "We should all be skeptical in the extreme".

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

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