Congress Makes First Criminal Referral To DOJ In Trump-Russia Scandal — And It Is Steele!

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Republicans, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

This is, uh, bullshit.

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a senior committee member, told the Justice Department they had reason to believe that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in the dossier, and they urged the department to investigate. The committee is running one of three congressional investigations into Russian election meddling, and its inquiry has come to focus, in part, on Mr. Steele’s explosive dossier that purported to detail Russia’s interference and the Trump campaign’s complicity.

Since we don’t have access to the memorandum, we don’t know what the specific allegation is, although it discusses potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. That section of the federal criminal code refers to knowingly making false or misleading statements to federal authorities.  The letter says it is “for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained.”

In other words, they think Steele lied to the House Judiciary Committee.


La di da.

Anyone can make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which is not obligated to take up the matter. But a recommendation from a senior senator who runs the committee that has oversight of the department comes with added weight.

The Justice Department had no immediate comment on the referral. But Fusion characterized the recommendation to charge Mr. Steele as a smear and an attempt to further muddy the inquiry into Russia’s interference.

Which it is.

RELATED: Giving more for Fox News to talk about — we learned today that federal law enforcement authorities have been actively investigating the Clinton Foundation and whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged policy favors or special access for contributions to the charity.

According to the reports, the investigation is being led by the FBI office in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the foundation was formed, and CNN reported that it was being overseen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office there.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well as the Justice Department, declined to comment in the CNN story. The FBI office in Little Rock referred the Hill to the FBI headquarters, which also declined to comment.