Associates of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former appointees of then-President Barack Obama fed information to former British spy Christopher Steele, author of a discredited dossier of allegations against President Donald Trump, two senators said Monday.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released a highly redacted copy of their criminal referral to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for the potential prosecution of Steele.
The senators said Steele wrote a second document detailing collusion allegations between Trump’s campaign and Russian government and business interests that weren’t in the dossier. The dossier was published by BuzzFeed in 2017.
Grassley and Graham urged Rosenstein and Wray to investigate Steele for potential criminal violations that occurred while he compiled the dossier — which former FBI Director James Comey told Congress was “salacious” and “unverified.”
The senators pointed to the second Steele document:
One memorandum by Mr. Steele that was not published by BuzzFeed is dated Oct. 19, 2016. Mr. Steele’s memorandum states that his company ‘received this report from [redacted] U.S. State Department,’ that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a foreign sub-source who ‘is in touch with [redacted], a contact of [redacted], a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to [redacted].
It is troubling enough that the Clinton campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.
Grassley and Graham reminded Wray and Rosenstein that Fusion GPS paid for Steele’s dossier efforts “on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign” — which meant the dossier was opposition research.
The senators released their redacted memo three days after Trump declassified a four-page summary memo prepared by the staff of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It was based on classified evidence of surveillance abuses by senior executives at the Department of Justice and the FBI.
The Nunes memo described the FBI’s use of the Steele dossier to obtain and maintain secret surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign officials.
According to Grassley and Graham, Steele admitted he briefed journalists about the contents of his dossier “between June and early November 2016.”
“Simply put, the more people who contemporaneously knew that Mr. Steele was compiling his dossier, the more likely it was vulnerable to manipulation,” the senators wrote. “In fact, in the British litigation, which involves a post-election dossier memorandum, Mr. Steele admitted that he received and included in it unsolicited — and unverified — allegations.”
Graham and Grassley urged the FBI and DOJ to review their referral and allow it to be publicly released.