Senators request documents related to Christopher Steele, author of Trump dossier

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

McConnell: "Case closed" on Mueller probe

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and FBI Director Christopher Wray Friday, requesting documents related to Christopher Steele, the former British operative who compiled the infamous Trump dossier.

Republicans have expressed concern about Steele's role in the origin of the Russia investigation, which they believe has unnecessarily plagued President Trump for two years. Much of the information in Steele's dossier was initially unverified. Some of it has since been corroborated, though many of the sensational claims remain unverified. This has led some to be skeptical about how much the FBI relied on the dossier when opening the counterintelligence investigation into whether Mr. Trump worked with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

"We understand that State Department employees received unverified memoranda Steele authored about candidate Trump and Russia (commonly referred to as the Steele dossier) in the summer of 2016, met with Steele and one of his colleagues in October 2016, documented that October meeting and topics discussed therein, and referred the information to the FBI. We seek all material related to those incidents along with an explanation of when the State Department provided it to the FBI," the senators wrote in the letter.

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The letter also claimed that "Steele's intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign."

The two chairs have also recently "raised questions about any FBI awareness of leaks to the media and possible efforts to use briefings with the Trump transition team as covert intelligence gathering operations."

Mr. Trump has often pointed to the Steele dossier as the document which instigated the investigation, and has said that the origin of the Russia investigation was the true scandal.

First published on May 10, 2019 / 6:03 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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