Two Republican leaders are recommending the Justice Department investigate Christoper Steele-the former British spy who authored the infamous dossier alleging collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign-for possibly lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Washington Post reports.
Blumenthal appeared on MSNBC tonight, and Steve Kornacki--filling in for Chris Matthews--asked him if he's aware of the evidence they're citing "that justifies the investigation".
The Intelligence Committee has attempted to slap contempt citations on the department and the FBI for its investigation into claims of Russian collusion in the dossier. On Friday, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the department had received the referral and will review it.
"Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI", Grassley is quoted as saying in the letter.
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. "The rule of Law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves". "But. I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review." Sen.
On Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, a Democrat on the Judiciary committee, called the move a partisan effort "aimed at someone who reported wrongdoing, rather than committed it".
The Judiciary Committee has not interviewed Steele.
Fusion GPS' lawyer Joshua Levy has referred to the scrutiny on Steele as a "smear" meant to muddy the waters of the investigation. "Publicizing a criminal referral based on classified information raises serious questions about whether this letter is nothing more than another attempt to discredit government sources, in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation".
They said the former MI6 officer may have made false statements about "the distribution of claims contained in the dossier".
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, one of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, slammed committee chair Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham for their letter recommending a criminal investigation into Christopher Steele. "I think this referral is unfortunate as 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 Russian Federation to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice".
"I wasn't consulted about this referral nor were any of my Democratic colleagues", Feinstein said in a statement. "We should all be skeptical in the extreme".