Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday released the full transcript of the panel’s interview with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the firm that researched President Trump during the 2016 campaign.
The lengthy transcript was released over the objections of Republicans, who have been sharply critical of Simpson’s firm, Fusion GPS.
“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,” Feinstein said in a statement. “The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”
Fusion GPS, which was hired first by Republicans and later Democrats, studied various aspects of Trump’s background, a typical function for opposition researchers during presidential campaigns.
However, the research became more focused on Trump’s ties to Russia when Fusion GPS contracted with a former British spy, Christopher Steele, to probe deeper. As concerns mounted about Russia’s attempts to interfere with the election, Steele brought some of his research to the FBI.
“It’s a national security issue,” Simpson recalled Steele saying, according to the transcript.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was sharply critical of Feinstein’s decision to release the transcript without consulting with him first.
“It’s totally confounding,” said a Grassley spokesman, Taylor Foy. “Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony,” such as from Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.
This post has been updated with a comment from Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office.