Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a senior committee member, recommended the Justice Department criminally investigate Christopher Steele, the author of the salacious dossier on President Trump.
In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the two Republican senators enclosed a classified memorandum relating to communications Steele had with “multiple U.S. news outlets” about the dossier. The senators asked the DOJ to investigate if the former British spy lied to federal authorities.
Senators @ChuckGrassley and @LindseyGrahamSC have referred Christopher Steele to @TheJusticeDept for investigation after information reviewed by committee investigators revealed significant inconsistencies in statements provided to authorities pic.twitter.com/MKhJlscdKP— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) January 5, 2018
“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 in the dossier," they wrote in the letter.
The two Republicans also issued statements about their referral.
"I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation. But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review,” Grassley said.
“Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI. If the same actions have different outcomes, and those differences seem to correspond to partisan political interests, then the public will naturally suspect that law enforcement decisions are not on the up-and-up,” he added. “Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely. In any event, it’s up to the Justice Department to figure that out."
Graham, meanwhile, added that "after reviewing how Mr. Steele conducted himself in distributing information contained in the dossier and how many stop signs the DOJ ignored in its use of the dossier, I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter."