Three days after the public release of a GOP memo that raised questions about the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, a pair of Republicans in the U.S. Senate released a new document on Monday, which they shows more evidence of possible political bias in the Russia investigation, as the GOP again attacked the credibility of former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, charging that he had been secretly fed information by supporters of Hillary Clinton.
Making public a heavily redacted document, which represents a criminal referral against Steele by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the two Senators say there is evidence that Steele was fed possibly partisan information by someone at the State Department during 2016.
“It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele’s allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility,” wrote Grassley and Graham in their memo, which was declassified and approved for release today by the FBI.
Because of the blacked out portions of the GOP memo, it wasn’t clear what the information was that was given to Steele, or allegedly how it might have been used for political purposes against Mr. Trump.
The existence of this criminal referral against Steele – the author of what’s called the Steele Dossier on President Trump – was known last month, but the details were not made public until after Senators requested a declassification by the FBI.
Much of this GOP memo – which was sent to the Justice Department in January – dovetails into the arguments being presented by Republicans and President Donald Trump, that Democratic Party opponents of the President were using Steele to feed information to the FBI, during the early time of the Russia investigation.
The Grassley and Graham memo says, “there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility,” as Grassley asked that it be made public.
“There are still many questions that can only be answered by complete transparency. That means declassifying as much of the underlying documents as possible,” Grassley wrote in his letter.
The release of the document came as Republicans, Democrats, and the President were still squabbling over the release of last week’s memo, which Democrats charged was lacking in context.
In a morning tweet, the President took aim at the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), accusing Schiff of leaking classified material.
Schiff has called the GOP memo released last week, “a political hit job on the FBI in the service of the President.”
Democrats were not impressed.
“He will insult and attack anyone who investigates him, whether they serve in Congress, law enforcement, or the military,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said of Mr. Trump.
The President then used another tweet to laud the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
“Representative Devin Nunes, a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure,” the President said.
Democrats argue Nunes deserves to be criticized, charging that Nunes is basically running interference for the President in the Russia probe.