The very first criminal referral is to investigate the individual who warned the FBI about Russia
[reported by NBC News] WASHINGTON — Top Republicans leading one of the congressional inquiries into Russian meddling in the 2016 election have asked the Justice Department to consider criminal charges against the former British intelligence officer behind the controversial Trump dossier, saying they believe he may have misled federal law enforcement.
The criminal referral announced Friday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the first by the panel, and drew complaints from Democrats who saw it as the latest instance of Republicans trying to divert attention away from potential collusion between Russians and Trump campaign officials by focusing on Christopher Steele and his 35-page dossier.
Political Move to Provide Trump Cover?
A source familiar with the committee’s investigation said the referral stems from at least one statement Steele made to the FBI about the timing of discussions with journalists about the content of the dossier, which conflicts with what he told another source. The committee is not alleging that Steele intentionally misled federal law enforcement but that they believe the discrepancy needed to be reviewed nonetheless.
Letter to DOJ refers to Classified Information
(UNCLASSIFIED when separated from attachment)
January 4, 2018
The Honorable Rod J. Rosenstein
Deputy Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
The Honorable Christopher A. Wray
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535
Dear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Director Wray:
Attached please find a classified memorandum related to certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple U.S. news outlets regarding the so-called “Trump dossier” that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the FBI.
Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Davis or DeLisa Lay of Chairman Grassley’s staff at (202) 224-5225.
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
Lindsey O. Graham
Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Committee on the Judiciary