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Ok, I’ve been thinking through the Graham-Grassley noise re: referring Christopher Steele for investigation.

I think I get the game now...

1/

11 tweets
Earlier this week, Steele’s employers, FusionGPS penned an Op-Ed in the Times that dramatically upped the pressure on Congress to release transcripts of their testimony.

That would be quite bad for Republicans.

2/
Lo and behold, a few days later, Graham and Grassley release a PR stunt letter insinuating the guy responsible for the info in the FusionGPS testimony is less than honest.

3/
On the surface, this just muddies the waters.

However, I suspect it was done to create a pretext for not releasing the transcripts.

4/
Now, congressional R’s can say that the testimony in those transcripts is the subject of an investigation, so it would be inappropriate to release them.

It’s the congressional version of “I’d release my taxes but they’re under audit.”

5/
It’s actually a pretty clever gambit if that’s the strategy. It blunts the pressure to release the transcripts...

...however, as Republicans are apt to do, it creates unintended consequences.

6/
First, it sets the precedent that suspicion of dishonest testimony is grounds for federal to the DOJ for investigation.

Once Dems get that, they’ll use that same logic to call for criminal referrals for everyone from Junior to Kushner to Sessions.

7/
Second, it actually increases the scrutiny on the claims in the PR stunt letter - which revolve around what Steele said about his contacts with reporters.

That will inevitably lead to a re-litigation of all of the things reporters reported - which have now been corrobrated.

8/
At the end of the day, I suspect Graham and Grassley think they just found a clever way to dodge the bullet of releasing the FusionGPS transcripts...

...only to discover that they’ve merely kicked that can down the road while pumping a cpl new shells into their own feet.

<end>
p.s. in #7 or #8, it should have read “grounds for referral to the DOJ”

I curse you, small keyboard!
p.p.s. Just to amplify all of this, the release of the FusionGPS testimony will be a “point of no return” moment.

Releasing their testimony will not just let the genie out of the bottle, it will smash the bottle for good.

R’s have good reason to dread that.
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