Feinstein cites 'bad cold' for release of dossier testimony

Senators Grassley, Graham Refer Christopher Steele for Criminal Investigation | Chuck Grassley

Democrats to Grassley: Release Russia-related transcripts

Democrats pushed back, defending Feinstein and saying she was forced to act in the face of mounting Republican efforts to thwart and cut short multiple Russian Federation probes on Capitol Hill. "The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public".

Mr Trump has denied allegations his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and his lawyer is suing Buzzfeed, which first published the dossier, for defamation.

His company had hired ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele to look into any leverage the Kremlin may have over Trump, then only a candidate.

While Simpson claimed that Steele acted out of alarm and not out of political motivation, that argument was undermined by other parts of Simpson's own testimony that showed that Steele was "concerned" about the reopening of the Clinton email investigation, and a news story that said there was no connection between Trump and Russian Federation. It's unclear why this would discredit the investigation, even if it were true - multiple members of the Trump campaign, including the president's son and son-in-law, have admitted to accepting ostensible aid from the Russian government.

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In releasing the Simpson transcript on Tuesday, however, Feinstein has taken away some of the advantage that Republican majorities enjoyed before.

A day earlier, Ms Feinstein, who faces a primary challenge in her re-election this year, released the transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee's closed-door August interview with an official from the political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the dossier.

The California Democrat said she made the transcript public because she felt the American people had the right to know what the firm's leaders said about a dossier of Russia-related information about Trump.

"It's not a distraction to see how the Justice Department used the dossier, how reliable it is, because that goes to the heart of the rule of law", Graham said. And Simpson said Steele did so because he was concerned about whether Trump was being blackmailed. She is the top Democrat on the panel.

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House Democrats are incensed that the committee's splintering probe is being eclipsed by new GOP-led investigations into the FBI's conduct during the Clinton email scandal.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, denied any personal role in Russia's involvement in the 2016 election when he appeared before the House and Senate intelligence committees in October.

MCEVERS: The dossier's also of course been the target of some pretty consistent political attacks from the president's allies. But it will be hard, if not impossible, for Trump to avoid a meeting with Mueller.

"America's greatness is enshrined in the words written on the Statue of Liberty: 'Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' It's been said that America is an idea".

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The Judiciary Committee's chairman, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., acknowledged he had received a copy but said "no further full committee activity is planned at this time".

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