Senators make criminal referral of dossier author to DOJ

2 GOP Senators Urge Criminal Probe of Trump Dossier Author

2 GOP Senators Urge Criminal Probe of Trump Dossier Author

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen.

"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 in the dossier", reads the letter.

A veteran prosecutor, Peter Zeidenberg, said he had never heard of anything like the Grassley-Graham complaint and labeled it "nonsense" created to detract from ongoing inquiries in to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In their letter, the two called on the Justice Department to investigate Christopher Steele for what they alleged were false statements Steele made about how the dossier was circulated.

The former MI6 intelligence officer authored the so-called "Steele Dossier", commissioned by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS and funded largely by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign through the Democratic National Committee.

News reports have said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had considered paying Steele for more research but later decided not to.

The letter by Graham and Grassley also noted that they were not questioning "the veracity of claims contained in the dossier". "The referral is for further investigation only, and is not meant to be an allegation of a crime", the statement added.

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"I don't take lightly making a referral for criminal 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", Levy said in a statement. "If the same actions have different outcomes and those differences seem to correspond with partisan political interests, then the public will naturally suspect that law enforcement decisions are not on the up-and-up", he said.

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.

"I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter", Graham added.

The dossier forms much of the basis for Congress and the DOJ's investigation into aforementioned alleged ties between Trump and Russian Federation.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, said the Democrats' "focus is obstruction of justice and whether there was cooperation/collusion between the Trump administration and Russian Federation".

Still, the referral marks an escalation of Republican challenges to the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, investigates whether Trump or his associates violated the law.

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