Sen. Feinstein issued the transcript of the 10-hour interview without the support of committee's Republican chairman
Sen. Grassley had argued the committee needed to temporarily protect certain information while an investigation was ongoing
Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the author of the opposition research dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia was acting on his own volition when he went to the FBI because he was concerned that a presidential candidate was being blackmailed, according to the 312-page transcript of his testimony.
Simpson told the committee in closed-door testimony in August – which was released publicly on Tuesday – that he did not know how the FBI would react when ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, went to the bureau in July 2016.
“Chris said he was very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat and said he wanted to – he said he thought we were obligated to tell someone in government, in our government about this information,” Simpson said. “He thought from his perspective there was an issue – a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed.”
To date, no evidence has emerged that Trump was blackmailed.
Simpson also testified that Steele told him the FBI had similar intelligence from “an internal Trump campaign source” and that the FBI “believed Chris’ information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.”
A source close to Fusion GPS clarified that Simpson’s mention of an internal Trump campaign source actually refers to the Australian ambassador who contacted the FBI to pass on information that he received from then-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
The New York Times reported last month that Papadopoulos told the Australian ambassador in May 2016 about the Russians’ dirt on Hillary Clinton over drinks in London.
Simpson’s testimony was released Tuesday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who posted the transcript of the August 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee interview that took place behind closed doors.
Feinstein issued the transcript of the 10-hour interview without the support of committee’s Republican chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who had argued the committee needed to temporarily protect certain information while an investigation was ongoing.
Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy said that Feinstein released the transcript without consulting Grassley and suggested it could jeopardize the committee’s ability to interview future witnesses.
“Feinstein’s unilateral decision was made as the committee is still trying to secure testimony from other witnesses, including Jared Kushner,” Foy said in a statement. “Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses.”
The transcript is likely to provide Democrats a counterargument to the Republican charges that the dossier was a political document paid for by Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
In a statement, California’s senior senator said she was releasing the transcript with the support of the committee’s Democrats.
“After speaking with majority and minority committee staff for 10 hours, Glenn Simpson requested the transcript of his interview be released publicly. The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” said Feinstein. “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the re