Trump Dossier Fabricator Christopher Steele Facing Possible Criminal Charges

By: - January 9, 2018

The first possible criminal charges to come out of the congressional investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election are on the horizon.  Be advised, “This is not going to go the way you think.”

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and senior Judiciary Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) have informed the Justice Department that they have found reason to believe that Christopher Steele, the creator of the so-called “Trump Dossier,” lied to federal authorities about his contact with reporters regarding the dossier.  Steele is a former British intelligence officer who worked for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1987 to 2009.  The veteran spy is a founding director of London-based private intelligence firm Orbis Business Intelligence.

“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.” – Senator Chuck Grassley

The two senators specifically allege that Steele had potentially violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001 by making false statements to the FBI regarding the distribution of claims from the dossier.  The referral to the Justice Department does not pertain to the veracity of the claims in the dossier, just the manner in which Steele conducted himself with federal authorities when making official statements.  The majority of claims in the dossier remain completely unsubstantiated almost a year after being leaked to the media.

Steele had originally been hired by the research and strategic intelligence firm Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS had previously been hired by the Democratic National Committee to conduct oppositional research on then-US presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  They were also hired by Planned Parenthood after undercover videos exposed the abortion provider for illegally selling fetal tissues obtained through abortions.

Steele was hired in June of 2016 to investigate any Russian connections to Trump during the presidential campaign.  He eventually produced a 35-page document in December of 2016.  The dossier was published by BuzzFeed on January 10th, 2017.

Senators Grassley and Graham’s cover letter to Rosenstein and Wray

“After reviewing how Mr. 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. The rule of law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves. I hope the Department of Justice will carefully review our letter and take appropriate action.” – Senator Lindsey Graham

As the content of the senators’ referral is classified, it remains unclear exactly what Steele may have lied about or what his official statements consisted of.  In the unclassified cover letter for the referral, the two senators stated that “based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information.”