Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats are not having it. Enough with the discrediting of entire institutions in a desperate effort to protect President Trump.
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) charged, “Not a single revelation in the Steele dossier has been refuted,” in her analysis of the Grassley-Graham Christopher Steele criminal referral.
“The criminal referral of Christopher Steele has nothing to do with accountability,” Feinstein said. “Clearly its goals included undermining the FBI and Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, attacking Christopher Steele and deflecting attention from collusion and obstruction of justice investigations.”
The Democrats destroyed a series of claims in the Republican criminal referral, pointing out that the charge is not that Steele lied or misrepresented the facts about Carter Page or what is in the Steele dossier:
1. The single “baseless allegation,” she notes, is that Steele lied about his contacts with the press.
2. The Republican referral cherry picked facts.
The omission of inconvenient facts, like leaving out additional information provided to them by the DOJ, led to such leaps of logic as accusing Steele of soley sourcing his report on a “friend of the Clintons.” However, Feinstein notes, “It would have been impossible for Mr. Steele to include information that he received in an October 19 report from ‘a friend of the Clintons’ in his 14 earlier reports, which date back to June 20, 2016.”
3. The criminal referral does not make its case that Steele lied to the FBI.
However, the FBI still trusted Steels’ reporting and the FISA court still granted three renewals after having been informed of Steele’s contacts with the press, the Senator points out.
4. Christopher Steele has credibility. “Christopher Steele is a respected and reliable expert on Russia,” Senator Feinstein writes. “For example, in 2010, Mr. Steele gave information to the FBI that led to indictments of several officials from the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the termination of the organization’s president, Sepp Blatter. Citing U.S. officials, Reuters noted that Steele’s work on the FIFA matter ‘lent credence to his reporting on Trump’s entanglements in Russia.'”
5. Steele was so concerned about the Russians interfering in the US election and Donald Trump possibly being compromised that he voluntarily shared his information with the FBI.
6. All of the information in the criminal referral was already available to the FBI and the DOJ. “In fact, the referral relies on publicly available information and information that was provided to Congress from DOJ and the FBI.”
7. Carter Page was warned by the FBI in 2013 that the Russians were trying to cultivate him and Mr. Page bragged that he was an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin, long before Donald Trump chose him as a foreign policy adviser.
In July 2016 with the approval of Trump’s campaign manager, Page went to Moscow. On this trip, he emailed the Trump campaign about “some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential Administration here.”
Steele reported that Putin shared Trump’s goal of defeating Hillary Clinton, whom Putin both “hated and feared.”
Steele reported that Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was using Carter Page, as well as others, as intermediaries between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Page admitted meeting with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, and while Page denied meeting Mr. Sechin, admitted meeting Andrey Baranov, a close associate of Mr. Sechin, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Page went back to Moscow after the election and met again with high-ranking Russian officials.
None of these facts are disputed in the Grassley-Graham criminal referral, the Senator noted.
“This Committee should dedicate its resources and attention to getting to the bottom of exactly what Russia did during the 2016 election and who was involved – not attacking voluntary sources and the nation’s leading law enforcement agencies,” Senator Feinstein concluded.
The plot to get Christopher Steele charged with a crime was a desperate ploy
Trump has had no success in derailing the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the Russia scandal, so he has had Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Senate Judiciary Committee doing his bidding in the Senate. The Trump strategy is to discredit the FBI investigation by falsely claiming that it was based on the Steele Dossier. The attack on Christopher Steele was meant to damage the credibility of the entire Russia investigation.
The Republicans have nothing, and their effort to charge Steele with a crime just went up in flames.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.