The transcript of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee released to the public by Dianne Feinstein is both the entire congressional investigation in brief, and a revealing insight into why Republicans have been so anxious to keep this information under lock and key.
Every question asked by Republicans in the meeting—every single question—focused on trying to find information they could use to demean and defame the witness. They wanted to paint Fusion GPS as a “Democratic operation.” They were determined to turn Christopher Steele’s visit to the FBI into a partisan act. They used every moment of their time to find something Fusion had done wrong, or that Steele had done wrong … some way that both the company and the information they had gathered could be dismissed. In a day-long interview that was supposed to further the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, no Republican expressed the slightest interest in that topic.
I lack enough expertise to know if this laser-like focus on building evidence to support right-wing conspiracy theories about Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele is unusual. Still, in light of the events that prompted Feinstein to release the transcript—including Graham’s and Grassley’s “very strange letter calling for an investigation of Christopher Steele“—this is just another troubling sign that the GOP is all-in to protect Trump.
Or, as Normam Orenstein puts it:
Bottom line: Grassley lied, slimed Simpson, joined with Graham unconscionably and unilaterally to slime and destroy Steele. Beyond shameful. https://t.co/zlx3JNYvwF
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) January 10, 2018
If you look at this kind of behavior in terms of a horse-race between partisanship and concern for the rule of law, it’s just all kinds of awful.
(hat tip to Jamie Mayerfeld).