Grassley’s low point



Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, fell off his maverick steed long ago and into the mud of Washington power politics as he grubbed his way to the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. Grassley blew what little credibility he had left when he unilaterally and without even consulting Judiciary ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a letter to the Justice Department seeking a criminal investigation against Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Trump Dossier. Republicans seeking to protect President Trump from Special Counsel Robert Mueller sought to divert our attention from Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. They charge that the entire Russia investigation was cooked up by the Clinton campaign. They want the Justice Department to investigate that. It’s called “Lock Her Up, Chapter 15.”

Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm, was hired by a big Republican donor to investigate Trump. Fusion put Steele, a former head of Russian affairs for the British intelligence service, on the case. When it appeared Trump had the nomination secured, the GOP donor dropped Fusion. It was then that the Clinton campaign picked up the oppo research where the donor left off.

Steele found through his contacts in Moscow that the Trump campaign was working with the Russians, and that some of the principals — including possibly Donald Trump himself — could be subject to Russian blackmail. He went to the FBI to blow the whistle. His contact at the bureau told him that they were already aware of the Russian connections from a source inside the Trump camp. That source has not been revealed.

The preceding two paragraphs are derived from testimony given by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Simpson sought to have that testimony made public when Grassley sought a criminal investigation of Steele. Grassley refused to release the transcripts. Simpson wanted to make clear that Grassley knew that the first information about Russia-Trump ties came from Trump Tower, not Fusion GPS or Christoper Steele. Steele was acting as a British friend concerned for the national security of the United States and the integrity of its election process. Steele also volunteered the information to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who made certain that everyone was aware of it. Shall we prosecute John McCain? There was a time when Chuck Grassley was the best friend a whistleblower could find in Washington. Now Grassley hunts them down for prosecution for telling the truth.

Most of the Steele dossier has been verified by no less than former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn with his guilty plea of lying to the FBI. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal also have corroborated all but the most salacious parts of the dossier.

Simpson’s testimony made clear that Steele was not the first to blow the whistle but blow the whistle he did. Grassley did not want us to know that. He wants you to think that Hillary Clinton had something to do with this. She didn’t. More likely, it was a Trump foreign policy advisor bragging to the foreign minister of Australia about the dirt that the Russians were digging on Clinton.

Chuck Grassley is misleading us. He is perpetuating a lie. Someone had an obligation to expose his duplicity. Feinstein released the testimony on Tuesday without asking Grassley, just as he had done to her when he solicited persecution of a whistleblower and patriot for Western democracy. Grassley said he was “‘confounded” by Feinstein. It’s about time.

Grassley proved during the health care debate that he was a lapdog for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Grassley from the Finance Committee wrote the financial provisions of the Affordable Care Act that turned out to be poison pills. When Republicans attained the majority through a pack of lies about the legislation — that there was a death panel that would pull the plug on Grandma — Grassley was elevated to chairmanship of Judiciary because McConnell had a puppy he could control. Grassley led the charge to deny Judge Merrick Garland a Senate hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Obama. We thought that was a low point for a man who used to be perceived as honest and fair.

But this is a new low point. Grassley wants to crucify a man for trying to alert the FBI to potential collusion — and even blackmail — involving the Russian spy apparatus and the Trump campaign. Grassley’s lust for power and his craven desire to hang onto it will make him answer to history. This is what he will be remembered for. Not as a maverick. Something else.