The very first criminal referral is to investigate the individual who warned the FBI about Russia

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa Move Against Christopher Steele

Chuck Grassley [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.

Lindsey Graham

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

Senators Grassley, Graham Refer Christopher Steele for Criminal Investigation

Jan 05, 2018
Information reviewed by committee investigators revealed significant inconsistencies in statements that Steele provided to authorities
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) referred the author of the “Trump Dossier,” Christopher Steele, to the Justice Department for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 for false statements investigators have reason to believe Steele made about the distribution of claims contained in the dossier.
“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation. But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review,” Grassley said. “Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI. If the same actions have different outcomes, and those differences seem to correspond to partisan political interests, then the public will naturally suspect that law enforcement decisions are not on the up-and-up. Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely. In any event, it’s up to the Justice Department to figure that out.”
“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. The rule of Law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves. I hope the Department of Justice will carefully review our letter and take appropriate action,” Graham said.
Yesterday evening, Grassley and Graham delivered to Senate Security a letter and classified memorandum for delivery to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray containing information that forms the basis of the referral.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, individuals are prohibited from making false statements to the federal authorities of the United States. Grassley and Graham are referring Steele for making potentially false statements about the distribution of claims from the dossier.
This referral does not pertain to the veracity of claims contained in the dossier. The referral is for further investigation only, and is not intended to be an allegation of a crime.
It is the practice of the committee to notify the Justice Department whenever it comes across what appears to be credible evidence of a criminal violation that warrants further investigation by appropriate authorities based on information from any source, public or non-public.
In the interest of transparency, the senators and committee staff are working to redact all sensitive information in the classified memorandum sent to Rosenstein and Wray. If and when that process can be lawfully and appropriately completed in consultation with the Justice Department, an unclassified version of the memorandum will be released.