Daymn! Senator Dianne Feinstein* just took off the gloves. 1
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, defied her Republican colleagues on Tuesday to unilaterally make public a much-discussed transcript of the committee’s interview with one of the founders of the firm that produced a salacious and unsubstantiated dossier outlining a Russian effort to aid the Trump campaign.
The interview, with Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS, provided few revelatory details about the firm’s findings on the Russian election effort or on President Trump and his campaign. But both the circumstances of its release and the vivid picture it paints of Mr. Simpson’s operation and his chief Russia investigator, Christopher Steele, provided fresh ammunition to both sides of a growing fight over the dossier.
In his testimony, Mr. Simpson sought to portray himself as an astute researcher well versed in the Russian government and that country’s organized crime. And he said Mr. Steele, the former British spy he hired to investigate the campaign’s ties to Russia, had “a Sterling reputation as a person who doesn’t exaggerate, doesn’t make things up, doesn’t sell baloney.”
Mr. Steele believed that his investigation had unearthed “a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed,” Mr. Simpson told the committee.
Mr. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the firm’s co-founders, had called for the Judiciary Committee to release the transcript in an Op-Ed essay in The New York Times, arguing that it would show that Republicans were unfairly smearing their work. The request inspired a tart back-and-forth with Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the committee’s Republican chairman, but appeared to be going nowhere until Tuesday, when Ms. Feinstein took the side of Fusion…
…For Ms. Feinstein and Mr. Grassley, two senior senators who worked closely last summer to initiate a joint Russia investigation, the breach was striking. But it reflects the growing divide between the two parties…
…The release of the transcript broke what had more or less been a prevailing rule of secrecy around Congress’s various investigations into Russia’s efforts and the Trump campaign. Though pieces of information from witness interviews in the House and the Senate have leaked to the news media, only two complete transcripts — from House Intelligence Committee interviews with Carter Page and Erik Prince — had been publicly released among hundreds.
In a brief interview, Ms. Feinstein left open the possibility of releasing other transcripts from the committee’s investigation.
The Steele Dossier reminds me far more of Primary Colors than Fire and Fury does – more click-bait than an actual indictment. Not that I don’t believe the president* capable of the actions described therein, but the fact that Feinstein released the transcript without the agreement of Grassley tells me far more about where we are in relationship to the bipartisan investigation.
And it’s not good.