Senator Diane Feinstein has released transcripts of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s interview with Glen Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS is the political research firm responsible for the production of the infamous Steele Dossier, the political report that alleges the Russian government has compromising information on President Trump.
Simpson had testified before in a closed-door meeting before the committee in August of last year. Republicans have long decried the dossier as an act of fiction and have heavily criticized the FBI, accusing it of using the uncorroborated report as the basis for their investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Senator Grassley, along with fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, surprised Democrats by sending a criminal referral on the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, to the Department of Justice last week. They wanted the DOJ to look into whether Steele had made false statements to the FBI about the way he compiled the information in the dossier.
In the face of that criticism, Simpson along with Fusion GPS co-founder, Peter Fritsch, called on Senate Republicans to release the transcripts in an op-ed in The New York Times last week. They called on Republicans to stop “chasing rabbits” and let the American people see the results of their research into Russia for themselves.
Two Democratic senators on the Committee, Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal had called on Grassley to release the transcripts just yesterday. “Sadly, attacks on Simpson and Christopher Steele, as well as selective leaks of parts of Simpson’s congressional testimony, have recently become a distraction from our work investigating the breathtaking proven and alleged crimes of the Russian government and the Trump team,” they said.
Grassley had said in the past that he would allow the committee to vote on whether to release the transcript, but that vote never happened. He said more recently that he wants to make the information public but at the appropriate time, citing the ongoing investigation.
Feinstein, in releasing the transcript, did not consult with Grassley, and made the decision unilaterally. “The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” she said. 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.”
Fusion GPS applauded the move. “Fusion GPS commends Sen. Feinstein for her courage. The transcript of Glenn Simpson’s lengthy responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning speaks for itself,” a statement from the firm read.
Senator Grassley was furious. “It’s totally confounding that Senator Feinstein would unilaterally release a transcript of a witness interview in the middle” of an investigation he said.