Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the infamous Trump-Russia dossier, is calling the request from Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) to open a criminal investigation into dossier author and former British spy, Christopher Steele, an “attempt to discredit government sources.”
The two GOP senators on Friday sent a letter to the Justice Department seeking a criminal probe into Steele to investigate whether he lied to federal authorities, not anyone accused of conspiracy.
“After a year of investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place,” a lawyer for Fusion GPS said in a statement.
“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. We should all be skeptical in the extreme,” the statement adds.
The Fusion GPS dossier, originally published in full by Buzzfeed News, contains lots of unverified and potentially devastating and incriminating information linking President Trump to the Kremlin.
The Hill added:
In a Friday statement, Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that “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.”
Grassley and Graham’s letter is the first known instance of lawmakers investigating the Russian election meddling making a criminal referral.
It’s important to note that Steele did his research without knowing who he was working for, that his sources weren’t paid, and that he went to the FBI of his own accord and without telling Fusion’s clients.
On Tuesday, Fusion GPS’s co-founders pushed back on attacks from President Trump and Republican lawmakers, saying the dossier was taken seriously by the FBI because it “corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”