Senators scrutinize author of Trump-Russia dossier

Nunes' hometown split on FBI memo controversy

Grassley and Graham's memo, released this week, alleges the Federal Bureau of Investigation relied heavily on Steele's research to obtain spy authorization from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a top-secret court that that signs off on such domestic spy operations.

Two influential Republican senators have injected new information into the partisan dispute over the government's secret surveillance of a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, revealing more details about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department used research compiled by a former British spy whose work was funded by Democrats.

Former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele spoke with investigators on special counsel Robert Mueller's team for two days, the Telegraph reports. Lindsey Graham, of SC, late Tuesday released a criminal referral they had sent to the Justice Department earlier this year asking for an investigation into the former spy, Christopher Steele.

Grassley and Graham urged Rosenstein and Wray to investigate Steele for potential criminal violations that occurred while he compiled the dossier - which former FBI Director James Comey told Congress was "salacious" and "unverified".

The Washington Examiner's Byron York in his report that Clinton associate Cody Shearer was in with Steele about anti-Trump research, and that Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer was a connection between Steele and the State Department during the 2016 campaign.

Last week, a Republican memo from the House intelligence committee provided the first formal government confirmation of a secret FISA warrant on Page and several other key details. Steele's alleged lying "is relevant to his credibility as a source", Grassley and Graham said. "The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page".

"It did so based on Mr. Steele's personal credibility and presumably having faith in his process of obtaining the information", it continues.

The FBI said it stopped talking to Steele in October 2016 - after he had given the FBI information about Page - because of his "unauthorized disclosure of information to the press", the Grassley-Graham letter says.

This move has fueled accusations the agency was running a highly politicized surveillance operation meant to help then-candidate Clinton. It also confirmed that the Russian Federation investigation didn't start with the Steele dossier. And the same will likely be true of a Democratic memo drafted by members of the House intelligence committee if Trump allows its release later this week.

"The Democrats' memo is already finished, so it won't take into account all the information that came out from Senators Grassley and Graham", said the senior congressional official. "So they'll be rebutting the Nunes memo without even mentioning the fact that the information has been confirmed, and expanded upon, in the Senate".

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