Criminal referral made against author of Trump dossier [video]

Criminal referral made against author of Trump dossier [video]

Criminal referral made against author of Trump dossier [video]

This headline is unfairly encouraging, but this is the latest news out of the Trump-Russia collusion investigations. Republican Senators Grassley and Graham have made a referral to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation into Christopher Steele’s conduct. Steele is the British spy who was hired by the research firm, Fushion GPS, who was hired by the Clinton Campaign/Democratic National Committee, to find opposition research on Trump.

Christopher Steele (Photo Credit: NewsMax)

The report was also provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, through multiple channels, but also notably by Senator John McCain. It is believed that the FBI, or some entity of the U.S. government, used this dossier as a basis to request a warrant to eavesdrop on the Trump Campaign, to search for ___?___ (TBD, Russian Collusion, etc). All of this remains very murky.

Republicans, including the two senators, have argued that the dossier is tantamount to political opposition research, and claimed that it might have been used by the F.B.I. to open its investigation. They have also said it might have provided the basis for key investigative actions, including a secret court-approved wiretap of a Trump campaign aide.

Current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the investigation say that the federal inquiry did not start with the dossier, nor did it rely on it. Rather, they have said, the dossier and the F.B.I.’s discussions with Mr. Steele merely added material to what American law enforcement and spy agencies were gleaning from other sources.

Unfortunately the criminal referral is apparently only based some inconsistencies in statements that Steele made while talking to media outlets versus what he said to investigators – one of those stupid process crimes.

In a short cover letter dated Thursday but transmitted Friday, the senators wrote, “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.”

That section of the federal criminal code refers to knowingly making false or misleading statements to federal authorities.

Nothing regarding the substance of the dossier has been held out as justifying criminal prosecution. But the investigations continue. The Department of Justice is not required to open an investigation despite the referral.

So while it doesn’t look promising that we are getting any closer to the truth, this move has enraged Democrats, who are holding on to a tiny thread of hope that some Russian collusion will be found. They just know impeachment is the right thing to do, and they WILL find a crime one way or another.

“It’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what should be the committee’s top priority: determining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, who added that she had not been consulted about the referral.

Fushion GPS also thinks the referral is just a ruse to get away from the real issue of Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia.

“Publicizing a criminal referral based on classified information raises serious questions about whether this letter is nothing more than another attempt to discredit government sources, in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation,” said Joshua A. Levy, the lawyer for Fusion GPS. “We should all be skeptical in the extreme.”

But a process crime is a process crime. Just ask Michael Flynn or George Papadopoulos, who each plead guilty earlier this year to similar episodes of lying while under oath. Take note of whether the DOJ pursues Steele in the same manner.

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