Once Steele tapped into his Russian sources and learned what the Russians had on Trump, Steele set out as a free agent to save the republic by sharing his "information" with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Feinstein sought to push back against that perception and to bolster the FBI's credibility.
The dossier, released in full by BuzzFeed, allegedly showed evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, but also included salacious information about the president. When pressed by the committee, Simpson's lawyer Joshua Levy suggested it would be unsafe to do so.
Simpson said Steele was concerned "whether or not there was blackmail going on, whether a political candidate was being blackmailed".
Steele went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation with allegations that Trump may have been compromised by the Kremlin in July 2016, and said in early October of that year that the agency got back to him and said it "had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source", according to Simpson.
They requested that the Department of Justice investigate Christopher Steel, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and GPS Fusion over Steel's dossier on Trump.
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Simpson said he didn't know whether the person was connected to the Trump campaign or a Trump company, adding that his understanding was that the source was "someone like us who chose to pick up the phone and report something".
The dossier claims that Cohen met with Russian operatives somewhere in Europe, including Prague, to attend a meeting to "clean up the mess" created by public disclosures of other Trump associates' reported ties to Russia. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) a criminal investigation against Steele for lying to the FBI.
"The Fusion GPS chief's lawyer, Joshua Levy, interrupted to say: "[Mr Simpson] wants to be very careful to protect his sources.
"It's political rhetoric to call the dossier 'phony, '" he said.
Representatives for Fusion GPS declined to comment.
In October, The Washington Post reported the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee had helped fund Fusion GPS' research on Trump's alleged ties with Russian Federation.
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However, two sources close to Fusion GPS told NBC News that Simpson's testimony inaccurately conflated what he had been told, and that the human source was actually George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign aide who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.
The dossier, commissioned by the firm Fusion GPS during the 2016 presidential election campaign, was compiled by a former British spy named Christopher Steele.
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Democrats - and even some Republicans - were alarmed last week when Grassley made a criminal referral to the Justice Department, suggesting it investigate Steele for possibly lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The release of the transcript does not, however, break any laws, as Trump suggests it might.
Cohen, who is named in the dossier, said BuzzFeed and several of its staffers defamed him by publishing the 35-page document, which contained a mix of truths, falsehoods and unverified rumours about interactions between people close to Trump and Russian figures. Steele and Simpson had previously contacted the FBI regarding material they had collected on the Trump campaign - a project with no other direct tie to the Clinton investigation.
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