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Two United States Republican senators have asked the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a criminal probe into Christopher Steele, the author of a controversial book on President Donald Trump.
Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham referred Mr. Steele, a former British intelligence agent, for allegedly making false statements to federal investigators, Xinhua reported.
It is the first known criminal referral from the congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in US presidential elections in 2016.
“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation. But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review,” Mr. Grassley was quoted as saying.
“After reviewing how Steele conducted himself in distributing information contained in the dossier and how many stop signs the DOJ ignored in its use of the dossier, I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter,” Mr. Graham said, adding that the referral “is not intended to be an allegation of a crime.”
Mr. Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been conducting an investigation running parallel to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
The referral, which was made on Thursday but revealed on Friday, comes days after the latest public back-and-forth between Mr. Grassley and research firm Fusion GPS that hired Mr. Steele to compile the controversial dossier.
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