On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein released the Senate Intelligence Committee testimony of Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, who stated that the information found in the infamous Steele Dossier matched some of the intelligence the FBI had already gathered because the bureau reportedly had a source inside the Trump campaign. The document release was the latest in a series of bipartisan actions by members of the committee after Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote to the Justice Department to recommend criminal charges against Steele.
Since Sen. Feinstein’s release of the testimony refutes the GOP claim that the FBI used Steele as a source to launch its collusion probe, Trump attacked Sen. Feinstein on Twitter: “The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. Must have tough Primary!”
However, Sen. Feinstein didn’t break any laws while releasing Simpson’s testimony, as Vox explains:
Simpson testified in a closed session, but he wasn’t discussing classified information (he’s not a government official) or anything about anyone’s private life (there are some minor redactions to ensure this). And Simpson had already publicly called for the full release of his testimony.
What Feinstein violated was the normal rules of Senate decorum, which Republicans had been using to cover up a key point that debunks some of their own talking points about this matter.
The Republican claim that the Steele Dossier kicked off the FBI’s investigation was more recently dealt a blow when it was revealed that George Papadopoulos’ drunken bragging to an Australian diplomat actually sparked the probe. However, Trump will probably soon find a new way to try and discredit the Russia probe.