Just four days after two GOP Senators asked the DOJ to launch a criminal probe of Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 British spy who was the author of the Trump dossier, and which according to many served as the basis for the Russian collusion probe, on Tuesday afternoon Senator Dianne Feinstein circumvented her Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday and unilaterally released the full 312-page transcript of the committee’s closed-door interview with Glenn Simpson, a former journalist and co-founder of Fusion GPS, which commissioned the controversial Donald Trump’s dossier about alleged connections with Russians.
The unexpected release, which came after a tense back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats over what to do with the transcript of Simpson’s interview, follows Fusion GPS’ demand last week that the full transcript be released, sparking a fight with Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) over who was standing in the way of the document being released. The Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed Simpson on August 22, 2017 as part of its investigation into Russia’s election interference.
That confrontation heated up last week after Simpson and his Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch penned an op-ed in The New York Times calling on the three congressional committees who have interviewed Fusion GPS employees to release transcripts of the interviews. Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, balked at the idea, saying that the transcript needed to remain confidential while the panel is interviewing other witnesses.
Curiously, 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. He said that he would like Fusion partners to appear for public testimony.
In a statement, Feinstein said that she released Simpson’s testimony after conferring with her fellow committee Democrats.
“The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves. The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”
Needless to say, Grassley was furious after Feinstein’s publication, stating that it is “totally confounding that Senator Feinstein would unilaterally release a transcript of a witness interview in the middle of an ongoing investigation” and that “Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses.”
GRASSLEY Spox Taylor Foy Responds to @SenFeinstein releasing transcript: “Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses.” pic.twitter.com/Q8pX2bij5m
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) January 9, 2018