The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee has released a transcript from an interview with the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned a dossier of allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation.
Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a closed-door interview last August that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, made a decision to approach the Federal Bureau of Investigation in July 2016. Chuck Grassley, declined to. The firm commissioned the dossier, which was initially paid for by a conservative website and then later by Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
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. Following his lead, several GOP-led committees are now investigating whether the dossier formed the basis for the FBI's initial investigations.
Ms. Feinstein moved to do so without the committee's Republican chairman, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, nearly certainly escalating partisan tensions on the committee.
"Essentially what he told me was they had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source and that - that they - my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point - that they believed Chris's information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization", Simpson said in the transcript.
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Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has also interviewed members of Fusion GPS, also appeared to back Grassley's rationale last week.
"I understand Chris severed his relationship with the FBI out of concern that he didn't know what was happening inside the FBI and there was a concern that the FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people", Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Feinstein for her courage", the research firm said in a statement.
The demand comes one week after Grassley and Sen. Chuck Grassley, issued a criminal referral last week for Steele, alleging the committee had reason to believe that the former spy had lied to authorities about his conversations with the press regarding the dossier.
"This was like, you know, you're driving to work and you see something happen and you call 911", Simpson told investigators.