Sunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight
Grassley wants details on firm tied to controversial Trump dossier
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is demanding details on the funding of a controversial opposition research dossier on President Trump from the 2016 campaign.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Fusion GPS - a firm that reportedly hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate the then-GOP candidate - asking for details on Steele, who hired the firm and if it shared the document with the FBI.
"When political opposition research becomes the basis for law enforcement or intelligence efforts, it raises substantial questions about the independence of law enforcement and intelligence from politics," Grassley wrote.
He added that the Judiciary Committee "requires additional information to evaluate this situation."
Grassley is digging into Steele over the controversial dossier, which alleges that the Russians had compromising information on the president.
Grassley wants to know who first hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research against Trump, the details of the contract and copies of the contract, as well as information on any additional clients who hired the firm to research Trump.
He also wants to know when the firm asked Steele or his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, to investigate Trump, as well as any details on their contact with Steele and any reports that Steele gave them as part of his research against the then-GOP candidate.
The New York Times reported earlier this year that Fusion GPS was hired to conduct opposition research in September 2015 by a GOP donor opposed to Trump.
In June 2016 the firm hired Steele to investigate any ties between Trump and Russia and, according to the Times, then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign paid the firm for the research after it became clear that Trump would be his party's nominee.
Grassley also wants to know who else, if anyone, Fusion GPS gave the Trump dossier to, and if anyone within the firm or its clients did "instruct, request, suggest or imply" that the research be given to the FBI.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) confirmed earlier this year that he gave the dossier to the FBI.
Grassley also wants to know if any of the clients suggested that the FBI pay for the information, if Fusion GPS was aware that the bureau had planned to pay Steele, or if the firm and the FBI ever paid Steele simultaneously.
The Washington Post reported in February that the FBI had reached an agreement shortly before the election to pay Steele, but ultimately didn't.
Grassley is digging into Steele and sent a letter earlier this month to FBI Director James Comey asking for any records pertaining to any agreements the agency might have had with him.
He asked in the letter to Fusion GPS how many meetings Steele had with the FBI and if anyone at the firm had met with the FBI or the Justice Department on anything tied to Trump or Trump officials. If so, he wants details on the meetings, including what they discussed and companies of any communication.
Comey confirmed during an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee that the bureau is investigating potential ties between Trump officials and Moscow.