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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

In a surprising move that defied foot-dragging Republicans in Congress, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein released a crucial set of transcripts that have become the target of a protracted battle in connection with the ongoing Russia investigation.

On Tuesday afternoon, Feinstein released nearly 400 pages of testimony transcripts from Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, who previously testified in private before members of Congress. Fusion GPS is the private research firm that assembled the now famous dossier on Trump.

Specifically, Fusion hired former British spy Christopher Steele in 2016 to assemble the widely confirmedintelligence document that detailed Trump’s many shocking connections with Russian business operatives over the years, as well as the Kremlin’s attempt to get him elected president. The document also raised concerns about the threat of Trump being blackmailed by Russian operatives who have so much compromising information about him.

Republicans, busy trying to create political cover for the White House, have waged war on the dossier and on Fusion GPS in recent months.

Many in the GOP seem convinced that if they can raise doubts about its legitimacy and how the dossier was used (or not used) by the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, they will somehow be able to taint the entire probe into Trump’s past.

But the just-released transcripts debunk that:


Last week, in a defense of their work published in The New York Times, Simpson and his colleague Peter Fritsch pushed back against the GOP witch hunt. They demanded that the transcripts from their Congressional testimony be released to the public in order to clear up the misinformation Republicans are spreading about the company and about Steele.

With no signs of GOP action on that front, Feinstein made the move herself on Tuesday.

“The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” Feinstein said in a statement. “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.”

The transcript “illustrates the credibility of Christopher Steele,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told CNN on Tuesday. The congressman stressed Steele’s “impeccable credentials.”

Last week, two Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, wrote to the Department of Justice, demanding that a criminal prosecution be undertaken to target Steele for allegedly lying to FBI investigators.

It was noteworthy that they did not provide the DOJ any information about Steele that investigators did not already have. Meaning, if the FBI thought there was any wrongdoing, it would have acted on that long ago.

The newly released transcripts could go a long way towards debunking all kinds of GOP misinformation. Feinstein made the right move on behalf of the American people.