Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) have recommended the DOJ and FBI launch a criminal investigation into the author of the unverifiable Trump/Russia dossier, Christopher Steele. This is the first criminal referral borne from Congressional investigations into election meddling on behalf of Russia.
In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Grassley and Graham cited major concerns with the rampant amount of inconsistencies and alleged false statements regarding the dissemination of information pertaining to the dossier. The letter also cited communications with “multiple U.S. news outlets.” The criminal codes cited within the letter pertain to making false statements and/or concealing facts from inquiring investigators.
A former British spy and head of the Russia investigatory unit at MI6, Christopher Steele, was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to author the now debunked dossier. Andrew McCabe, number two at the FBI, recently testified the FBI was only able to verify that Carter Page took a personal trip to Russia that of which held no relationship to the election.
In a tweet sent from the Judiciary Committee, lawmakers stated they had found “significant inconstancies in statements provided by authorities.” Lawmakers are privy to statements made to FBI investigators throughout course of their work. It appears the inconsistencies may have risen from a comparison between statements made to the FBI and statements made before various congressional committees thus, prompting a criminal referral.
Senator Chuck Grassley followed up with the criminal referral of former British spy Christopher Steele with the following statement:
“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation. But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review. Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI. If the same actions have different outcomes, and those differences seem to correspond to partisan political interests, then the public will naturally suspect that law enforcement decisions are not on the up-and-up. Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely. In any event, it’s up to the Justice Department to figure that out.”
Senator Lindsay Graham added the following comments:
“After reviewing how Mr. Steele conducted himself in distributing information contained in the dossier and how many stop signs the DOJ ignored in its use of the dossier, I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter. The rule of Law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves. I hope the Department of Justice will carefully review our letter and take appropriate action.”
The Trump/Russia dossier has been under massive amounts of congressional scrutiny for some time now. That scrutiny intensified once the dossier was revealed not to be a legitimate intelligence document but an opposition research document that was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton.
Congressional Republicans have been attempting to discern whether or not the dossier was utilized in any FISA court proceedings which permitted surveillance of the Trump campaign and associates. The DOJ and FBI have stonewalled congressional requisitions for documents pertaining to the Trump/Russia dossier which adds more speculation as to how this dossier was utilized.
Andrew McCabe has already testified before Congress that they FBI was unable to corroborate anything claimed within the dossier, except Carter Page’s personal trip to Russia. The FBI is mandated to have verified everything they present as evidence before a FISA court, which stands to reason since it is considered a request to spy on American citizens. If the FBI utilized the Trump/Russia dossier in order to secure warrants for electronic surveillance in any way, shape, or form, then the entire investigation is based on a fictional document that was authored via a Russian disinformation campaign. The author of that false information was none other than Christopher Steele and he must be held accountable for his significant role in misleading investigators.
The FBI needs an immediate make-over with regard to its upper management however, that may not happen until the Russian meddling investigations conclude. Once the FBI purges politically motivated agents like Peter Strzok, Andrew Weisman, and Bruce Ohr then they will have the credibility to pursue alleged transgressions that cross party lines. But until some major changes take place, many conservatives are going to withhold their optimism with regard to justice being served by the FBI in politically sensitive investigations. It may very well be bad actors within the DOJ and FBI who need to be brought to justice; those who utilize political proclivities to weigh decisions versus bare facts upon a blind scale.