Republican Senators Raise Possible Charges Against Author of Trump Dossier
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a senior committee member, told the Justice Department
that they had reason to believe that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in a dossier, and they urged the department to investigate.
“It’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what should be the committee’s top priority: determining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign
and Russia to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, who added that she had not been consulted about the referral.
In a short cover letter dated Thursday but transmitted Friday, 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.”
That section of the federal criminal code refers to knowingly making false or misleading statements to federal authorities.
The decision by Mr. Grassley and Mr. Graham to single out the former intelligence officer behind the dossier —
and not anyone who may have taken part in the Russian interference — infuriated Democrats and raised the stakes in the growing partisan battle over the investigations into Mr. Trump, his campaign team and Russia.
Beyond the Senate Judiciary Committee, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee, has also been pressing to train focus of its Russia investigation on the dossier.
And he has aggressively pursued Fusion GPS, the research firm
that hired Mr. Steele — the committee, for instance, has issued only a single subpoena in its investigation for bank records, those of Fusion GPS.