GOP senators urge criminal probe of Trump dossier author

Sen. Charles Grassley

Bloomberg | Getty Images Sen. Charles Grassley

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.

Lindsey Graham said Friday they had referred former British spy Christopher Steele to the Justice Department for investigation about false statements he may have made to the government. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news.

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

"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".

Republicans counter that the dossier may have influenced federal authorities when they chose to open a counterintelligence investigation into associates of Mr. Trump before the election, and say that the Obama-era Justice Department may have been prejudiced against their then-nominee.

Sky's US Correspondent Greg Milam said many in Washington view it as a PR stunt from Republican senators loyal to the President who "want to put up a smoke screen about the investigation into his ties with Russia". It has faced renewed criticism as conservatives have ramped up attacks on perceived bias within the Department of Justice.

"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".

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. "Getting to the bottom of what happened remains a top priority for me, as I hope it does for everyone on the Judiciary Committee". Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

"Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely", Grassley continued.

The letter makes reference to a "Top Secret" memo that they said relates to "certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple US news outlets" regarding the "dossier".

The Democratic senator said it was "indisputable fact" that the probe of Russian meddling in the election and any possible Trump campaign role "was triggered by information completely independent from the dossier".

Democrats allege that Republicans are concentrating on the Steele memo as a way to distract from the ongoing probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. U.S. officials have corroborated some aspects of the dossier, although its most salacious allegations have not been corroborated by the intelligence community or CNN.

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