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Blumenthal: Committee should release transcript of testimony on Trump dossier

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called for the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election to make public recent and lengthy testimony by Glenn Simpson about the now infamous dossier on Donald Trump that his research firm drafted from information gathered by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

“I believe they will be. I certainly will vote to make them public.” Blumenthal told MSNBC in reference to the transcript of Simpson's 10-hour testimony. “They should be made public, but even more important Glenn Simpson should testify before the committee in the open, under oath, and so should the others who have been subpoenaed to do so as well. Donald Trump Jr. and the person who – anyone involved in that meeting in early June that involved apparently Jared Kushner and others.”

Simpson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the co-founder of Fusion GPS, a firm hired by a group of Republicans in 2015 to gather opposition research on Trump, met privately Tuesday with committee staff and said afterwards that he stood by the contents of the dossier – some of it salacious – which indicated potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.

"Mr. Simpson told Congress the truth and cleared the record on many matters of interest to congressional investigators,” ABC News quoted Simpson's attorney Josh Levy as saying, noting that the committee had “the right to disclose the transcript” of Simpson's testimony if it so desired. The Judiciary Committee's probe is one of several exploring possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia, while trying to steer clear of interference with an investigation by Robert S. Mueller, who was made special counsel after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, ostensibly to put an end to his investigation of members of Trump's inner circle.

Simpson “has potentially knowledge about matters relating to Trump collusion with the Russian meddling as well as possible obstruction of justice, and we're going to proceed with our investigation, but as you well know, the special counsel is proceeding as well,” said Blumenthal. “And we want to make sure, whether it's the release of the transcript or anything else, that we in no way conflict with the special counsel's role.”

House Intelligence Committee staffers drew fire for seeking the elusive Steele in an unannounced visit to his attorneys' U.K. office this summer. The unusual trip was reportedly sanctioned by committee Staff Director Damon Nelson and made without informing either the Republican in charge of the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election or its ranking Democrat.

Steele allegedly has already met with the FBI and has turned over the sources he used to compile the dossier, ABC News reported.

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