GOP senators urge criminal probe of Trump dossier author

Grassley speaks with reporters ahead of votes on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S

Grassley speaks with reporters ahead of votes on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S

The request against former British spy Christopher Steele is believed to be the first known criminal referral by lawmakers in the investigation into Russia's possible meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Republican senators Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, a senior committee member, have referred the matter to the Justice Department. Chuck Grassley, chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, writes in a letter to the Justice Department.

"It seems more like an effort to distract from the real priorities, what should be the priorities of the committee, namely looking into obstruction of justice, collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling, and even to discredit law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

Christopher Steele   Screenshot
Christopher Steele Screenshot

The American legal system is really getting a workout these days, now that we have a president who sees courts and the Justice Department primarily as tools to take revenge on his enemies. On Friday, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the department had received the referral and will review it.

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.

It claimed there was collusion between Mr Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, and that the Russians have information that could be used to blackmail the President.

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Mueller is now spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, including whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the election in his favor. "These vaguely stated, secret allegations seem designed more to distract attention from the priority issues for investigation, and discredit the FBI and other law enforcement".

"Trump fans will complain about Christopher Steele or Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump is the most powerful man on the planet and the investigation into him is a long way from being over". "But. I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review." Sen.

A lawyer for Fusion GPS, which was initially paid by a conservative website tied to Republicans and then later by Democrats to carry out the research into Trump, criticized the senators for the referral and also for publicizing it.

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The letter by Graham and Grassley also noted that they were not questioning "the veracity of claims contained in the dossier". "We should all be skeptical in the extreme". This is the first criminal referral in the Russia Gate investigation to come from the GOP.

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

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