Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Democrats to Grassley: Release Russia-related transcripts

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Ray Hunter | 10 January, 2018, 02:12

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California released a transcript of the Judiciary Committee's interview with a founder of Fusion GPS - the firm that produced a dossier that exposed the alleged efforts by the Russian government to help the Trump campaign.

Christopher Steele told the political research firm that hired him, Fusion GPS, that what he uncovered from Russian sources was serious enough to bring to the attention of USA law enforcement authorities, according to a transcript released on Tuesday. Chuck Grassley, declined to.

The transcript is likely to provide Democrats a counterargument to the Republican charges that the dossier was a political document paid for by Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Feinstein released the testimony after the panel's Republican chairman, Charles Grassley, on Friday called for a criminal investigation into former British spy Christopher Steele, who was working for Fusion GPS when he compiled a "dossier" of allegations of financial and personal links between Trump, his advisers and Russian Federation.

"Fusion GPS commends Sen".

The Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen.

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In their letter, Whitehouse and Blumenthal echoed complaints by Fusion GPS that Simpson's testimony has been selectively leaked, and they rejected the idea the company's work was the basis for the start of the investigation into Russia's interference with the 2016 election. "The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves", Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement Tuesday.

Instead, the person said Tuesday, the episode Simpson was apparently referring to involved communication between George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and an Australian diplomat.

The disagreement between Grassley and Feinstein is further evidence of a breakdown on the panel after an initially bipartisan investigation.

Ms Feinstein said she released the transcript with the agreement of the other Democrats on the committee, to combat the "innuendo and misinformation" surrounding it. Democrats say such attacks are an effort to discredit the ongoing probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian agents to interfere in the presidential election.

Other Republicans on the panel were less concerned.

Ironically, both might be considered to be a step forward in government transparency, although, those members of the US Senate who did not want the 300 plus-page testimony to be released, might disagree. Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, called last week for the Justice Department to launch a criminal inquiry into Steele. Democrats criticized the move, saying they were targeting someone who had reported wrongdoing, not committed it.

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