GOP senator questions Comey over 'inconsistencies' on Trump dossier
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFinance Committee vote on Yellen nomination scheduled for Friday Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority Yellen champions big spending at confirmation hearing MORE (R-Iowa) is pushing FBI Director James Comey to clarify "inconsistencies" in information about a controversial opposition research dossier on President Trump. 

Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Comey saying there are discrepancies between information he gave during a March briefing and Justice Department documents made available after the closed-door meeting. 
"There appear to be material inconsistencies between the description of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele that you did provide in your briefing and information contained in Justice Department documents made available to the Committee only after the briefing," Grassley wrote in the letter dated April 28. 
The GOP senator warned that "whether those inconsistencies were honest mistakes or an attempt to downplay the actual extent of the FBI's relationship" with Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who wrote the dossier, the bureau needs to respond to Grassley's previous request for information.
Grassley sent Comey a letter on March 6 requesting any agreements the agency may have had with Steele. 
He noted in Friday's letter that he and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing Justice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr without charges MORE (D-Calif.) received a "four-sentence letter" last month that said the FBI addressed the concerns during Comey's closed-door briefing. 
But Grassley stressed that the FBI didn't indicate at the time of the briefing that that information was meant to respond to the March 6 letter, and that the closed-door meeting didn't address many of his questions. 
"That is incorrect. The FBI has failed to provide documents requested in the March 6 letter or to answer the vast majority of its questions," Grassley added.
Grassley wants Comey to respond to his March 6 letter and answer a handful of additional inquiries, including details of any payments made to Steele, by May 12. 
If Comey doesn't respond, the GOP senator appeared to hint that he would be willing to hold up Trump nominees.
"I hope that this matter can be resolved without additional holds on nominees. These are important issues that require public transparency," Grassley wrote in the letter. 
Grassley previously slowed roughly two dozen Obama administration State Department nominees in a push to get the department to respond to his questions on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSamantha Power's Herculean task: Turning a screw with a rubber screwdriver Beau Biden Foundation to deny lobbyist donations, make major donors public Whoopi Goldberg wears 'my vice president' shirt day after inauguration MORE's use of a private email server and information about top aides from her time as secretary of State. 
He is currently digging into Steele and the controversial dossier, which alleges that the Russians had compromising information on Trump.
In addition to the March 6 letter to the FBI, he also sent a letter to Fusion GPS — a firm that reportedly hired Steele — demanding details on the funding of a controversial opposition research dossier on President Trump from the 2016 campaign.