The odds that the public will soon learn more about the Trump dossier increased dramatically this week after a Republican senator said he would vote in favor of releasing a transcript of a Senate interview with the opposition researcher who compiled the salacious document.
A spokesman for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says that the Senate Judiciary Committee member will likely vote in favor of releasing a transcript of an interview conducted last week between committee staffers and Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS.
Hatch becomes the second Republican to publicly indicate that he will support releasing a transcript of the interview, which lasted 10 hours and is expected to contain new information about the dossier and the Trump-Russia probe. (RELATED: Fusion GPS Founder Refuses To Identify Dossier Clients In Marathon Senate Session)
“Senator Hatch, like Chairman Grassley, believes we should make as much public as possible, and as soon as we can. Barring additional and unexpected developments (such as, for example, a new, bonafide assertion of privilege or the unanticipated discovery of a need for additional interviewing to provide greater context before release), he would vote in favor,” Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for Hatch, told The Daily Caller.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow first reported Hatch’s position on the transcript release.
Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, is a key figure in the ongoing investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. That’s because, despite the fact that some parts of the dossier have been debunked, the 35-page document has been used by the FBI as part of the basis of the collusion investigation.
That investigation spurred three congressional probes on Russia-related matters. The Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee and House Intelligence Committee are also investigating the issue.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently leading the federal investigation into collusion.
After Simpson’s marathon interview, his attorney, Josh Levy, issued a statement calling on the committee to release a transcript of the session. Levy also said that Fusion GPS stands by the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Fusion GPS hired Steele last June to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. The firm was initially hired to investigate Trump in Sept. 2015 by a Republican donor who opposed Trump. After Trump won the GOP primary, that client left the project and an ally of Hillary Clinton’s stepped in to continue the investigation. That’s when Steele was hired.
Grassley has led the push on Capitol Hill to reveal details about the dossier and Fusion GPS. Because Fusion GPS was working on behalf of political clients, Grassley has expressed concern that the dossier was used by the FBI. He has also questioned whether the bureau paid Steele, a former MI6 agent, to investigate Trump.
Given Fusion’s support for releasing a transcript of the interview, the nine Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are expected to also support the release. If Hatch and Grassley also vote in favor of releasing the transcript, a majority of the committee would be in favor of the measure.
In a town hall meeting in Iowa last week, Grassley said that he would likely vote in favor of making the transcript public.