President Donald Trump on Wednesday called out Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for leaking the transcript of a closed-door hearing the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.
“The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. Must have tough Primary!,” President Trump wrote on Twitter.
The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. Must have tough Primary!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
Feinstein has on multiple occasions publicly stated that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Fusion GPS is currently being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee for the controversial dossier it produced on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 elections.
Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to produce the report, which contained unverified allegations against Trump.
The 35-page report, marked as classified, relies almost exclusively on Kremlin-linked sources. These include a senior Kremlin official, a senior official in the Russian Foreign Ministry, and a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin.
Fusion GPS then leaked the salacious claims made by the Russian sources to intelligence agencies in the United States and the UK, to politicians, and to media organizations.
The company also paid several journalists who reported on Russia matters during the same time frame.
A separate investigation by the House Intelligence Committee led by chairman Devin Nunes is trying to establish whether opposition research from Fusion GPS on Trump formed the basis of the FBI’s investigation into allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
The FBI opened its investigation in July 2016, the same month that Christopher Steele, a former British spy hired by Fusion GPS to write the Trump Dossier, talked to the FBI.
The leak of the transcript by Feinstein comes as Fusion GPS embarks on a PR campaign, including publishing an op-ed in The New York Times, in which it tries to salvage the claims in its report and to deny its report was the foundation for the FBI’s investigation.
In an op-ed piece published in The Times on Jan. 2, Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch write that they “don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.”
A revelation that the Russia collusion investigation was sparked by the dossier, a piece of opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, would prove to be a massive scandal.
The House intelligence committee is also establishing whether the FBI investigation was then used by the Obama administration to obtain a court warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on the Trump campaign and transition team.
The leak of the transcript by Feinstein also comes after Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) referred Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal investigation.
The referral to the DOJ was made over potential false statements to investigators over the distribution of the information contained in the dossier.
“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 in a statement.