Dianne Feinstein releases 300-page transcript of Senate Judiciary interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson
by Kelly Cohen
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Tuesday unilaterally released the 300-page testimony Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee in August.
Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, refused to release the testimony, despite pleas from Simpson to do so, and said the Fusion GPS co-founder should testify publicly instead.
“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,” Feinstein said in a statement Tuesday.
Fusion GPS is a private research firm that was behind the so-called Trump dossier. The dossier was a compilation of intelligence reports put together by former British intelligence office Christopher Steele that contains salacious, mostly unverified allegations tying President Trump to Russia.
Last week, Grassley recommended that the Department of Justice criminally investigate the author Steele, and said that he knowingly lied to federal authorities about his communications with U.S. journalists.
Fusion GPS put the dossier together after being paid originally by conservative news outlet the Washington Free Beacon, and then the Democratic National Committee and lawyers working for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Fusion GPS commends Sen. Feinstein for her courage. The transcript of Glenn Simpson’s lengthy responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning speaks for itself,” the firm said in a statement.
Grassley requested an investigation into Fusion GPS last year, and Republican lawmakers have said the dossier helped to spur the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, as well as obtain a warrant to wiretap former Trump adviser Carter Page.
In a lengthy statement, a Grassley press secretary blasted Feinstein’s decision as “confounding.”
“Feinstein’s unilateral decision was made as the committee is still trying to secure testimony from other witnesses, including Jared Kushner,” Taylor Foy said. “Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses.”
Foy also noted that no other congressional committee investigating Russia has released private transcripts, and that Simpson is still welcome to publicly testify.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., applauded Feinstein’s decision, saying it “advances the American people’s right and need to know the full truth.”
“Disclosing the transcript will prevent its use as a dangerous distraction from the critical work our Committee should be focusing on. Now more truth must be told about the Russian attack on our democracy and Trump campaign support of it,” Blumenthal said in a statement.