Lindsey Graham are recommending that Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous "Trump dossier", be investigated by the Justice Department.
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 two men said the dossier was not the trigger for the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling, but that intelligence committees "have known for months that credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia were pouring in from independent sources".
Two senior Republican senators have urged the Justice Department to open an investigation into Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled a dossier of allegations about Donald Trump and Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign. Trump has called the dossier "phony" and derided it as a politically motivated hit job, and many Republicans in Congress have been focused on discrediting it. Some of the information was distilled into a summary that then-FBI Director James Comey presented to then-president-elect Trump in January 2017.
There are now three ongoing congressional investigations into allegations of Russian interference in the election and complicity by Donald Trump's campaign team.
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"The rule of law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves", Graham said in a statement.
The statement from Graham and Grassley goes on to say that the referral "does not pertain to the veracity of claims contained in the dossier" and that it "is not meant to be an allegation of a crime". "I hope the Department of Justice will carefully review our letter and take appropriate action".
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she and her Democratic colleagues were not consulted on the referral. The FBI also meant to pay Steele to continue the research he had done for Fusion GPS until the dossier was revealed to the public by BuzzFeed News in January 2017.
"After a year of investigations into Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place", Levy said.
Steele, a former British intelligence officer, wrote the dossier while on the payroll of Fusion GPS, a political research firm, and his efforts were partially funded by the Clinton campaign. Graham, Grassley and some other Republicans have used official resources to investigate the Steele dossier, Trump critics and officials working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mueller. They also insisted that they were not accusing Steele of committing a crime, but merely referring the matter for further investigation. "We should all be sceptical in the extreme".