In the first serious power move by a Senate Democrat during the course of the Trump-Russia controversy, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking Judiciary Committee member, just went rogue, released the Fusion GPS testimony on the Christopher Steele Russia dossier that her Republican colleagues have been trying to conceal.
Her brave act has caused an instant stir in Washington, as some of the details Senate judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley and fellow Republican member Lindsey Graham have tried to keep from the public eye have come to light.
One such revelation is that the intelligence dossier the Fusion GPS research firm commissioned from former British spy Christopher Steele (whom the Republican judiciary members have tried to silencewith a preposterous criminal referral) alleges that President Trump’s businesses are part of an international money laundering racket.
Felix Sater, a Russia-born former senior advisor to Trump and a convicted felon, who offered Trump a meeting with Putin that was supposed to help him win the 2016 presidential election, turns up again as the hub of the money laundering ring.
According to GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s heretofore concealed Senate judiciary testimony:
So there was a civil case, at least one civil case in New York involving — filed by the city of Almaty… against some alleged Kazakh money launderers . . . I don’t remember exactly how, but we learned that — it wasn’t from Chris. We learned that Felix Sater had some connections with these people, and it’s been more recently in the media that he’s helping the government of Kazakhstan to recover this money. There’s been media reports that the money went into the Trump Soho or it went into the company that built the Trump Soho.
Sater and Trump also worked for a time on the Trump Soho deal with Arif Tevfik, a Soviet-Turkish mafia-connected real estate agent who had been arrested on charges related to a prostitution ring.
Money laundering is just one of the many charges Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller could level at President Trump. It is one of 12 charges on which Mueller has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
The Russian mob-linked Sater is now cooperating with an international money laundering investigation that could corroborate such allegations in the dossier.
As details of the Russia dossier testimony spill forth, we are likely to learn a great deal more about the unsavory characters with whom our current president associates himself.
Trump, of course, is the most unsavory character of all.
Dems just leaked the explosive Fusion GPS testimony and it’s everything we hoped for
Defying the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Diane Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee, today unilaterally released the transcript of the interviews done with Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, which hired the British investigator who created what is now called the Trump-Russia dossier.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had refused to authorize the release of the ten hours of closed-door testimony that Simpson gave before the committee in August, even though Simpson had repeatedly asked him to do so.
“The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” Feinstein said today in a statement.
“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,” adds Feinstein. “The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”
Grassley had insisted Simpson had to return and testify before the committee in an open hearing instead of releasing the transcript. Simpson objected saying that he had already given detailed testimony and wanted the public to see what he had said about being hired to create the dossier, hiring ex-British spy Christopher Steele and explaining how it was financed.
At the time Steele reached out to the FBI and told them what he found on the grounds that he felt it was a national security matter and that he had a responsibility to bring it to the feds attention.
The newly released testimony confirms that Steele believed he had proof the FBI had a whistleblower from inside the Trump campaign organization.
“Republicans have attacked the credibility of Steele’s dossier,” reports the Washington Post. “Democrats say such attacks are an effort to discredit the ongoing probe by special counsel Robert Mueller III into whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian agents to interfere in the presidential election.”
Last week, Grassley sent a letter to the Justice Department recommending that Steel be investigated for possible criminal charges for misleading the FBI.
Feinstein and Grassley have been at odds over how the Senate Judiciary should conduct what was supposed to be a bipartisan investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the role of the Trump campaign working with the Russians.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases a transcript of the Judiciary Committee’s closed-door interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson over Republican objections https://t.co/73o1hcdsdf pic.twitter.com/7plULiATw4
— CNN (@CNN) January 9, 2018
Feinstein has insisted on keeping the focus on those matters and looking into why President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Feinstein has objected to a plan by Grassley and the Republicans to spend time investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails, yet again, and looking into a 2010 deal with a Russian company under the administration to purchase American uranium mines.
When the committee’s investigation started last June, it was seen as an effort by both parties to get to the truth around the Russian-Trump connection, and it was seen as an independent threat to the president.
Since then Grassley and the Republicans have stalled and tried to turn the committee’s purpose to Clinton and the Uranium deal which – which is what President Trump wants to be pursued – even though that has been previously probed and found to have little to do with Obama or Secretary Clinton.
When the Senate committee began, it was seen as a contrast to the House Intelligence Committee probe which was led by Republicans who clearly wanted to protect the president at all costs.
Over time, the Senate investigation has also become partisan, and much of the Republican efforts seemed not only aimed at helping the president but also discrediting Mueller’s investigation and even the FBI itself.
Feinstein is a hero for breaking with the traditions of the Congress and going public with this information, to shine a light on what really happened, at least from the point of view of Fusion GPS, which itself has become a target for Republican haters.
The American people deserve the truth but that is not what the Republicans seem to want to find or reveal. What Feinstein has done is to circumvent the old boys club at least for now, which gives new credibility not only to her own work but also that of Special Counsel Mueller.