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Democrats and Republicans split over dossier

By Laurie Bennett

January 10, 2018 at 6:54am

Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley, two Senate veterans not known for brash displays of partisan feuding, have taken their differences on the Russia investigation to the public.

Last week, Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined fellow Republican Lindsey Graham in referring Christopher Steele, author of the so-called Russian dossier, for criminal investigation. They did so without the support of Feinstein and other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

On Tuesday, Feinstein released the closed-door testimony of Glenn Simpson, a key player in the probe of possible ties between Russia and the Donald Trump presidential campaign. She did so in defiance of Grassley and his party.

Simpson is a founder of Fusion GPS, the consulting firm that hired Steele to produce the Russian dossier, which outlined alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. In an op-ed published last week by the New York Times, he and company co-founder Peter Fritsch called for a release of the transcript of his August testimony.

Simpson told the committee that Steele was convinced he had found “a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed.” Steele took his concern to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in July 2016.

Simpson also told the committee that Steele said the FBI had similar intelligence from “an internal Trump campaign source.”

The Times reported last month that former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told an Australian ambassador in May 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about the conversation.

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