California Sen. Dianne Feinstein circumvented her Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday and released more than 300 pages of testimony provided last year by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
Feinstein’s decision came after a tense back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats over what to do with the transcript of Simpson’s interview, which he provided on Aug. 22.
That battle heated up last week after Simpson and his Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch penned an op-ed in The New York Times calling on the three congressional committees who have interviewed Fusion GPS employees to release transcripts of the interviews.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, balked at the idea, saying that the transcript needed to remain confidential while the panel is interviewing other witnesses.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has also interviewed members of Fusion GPS, also appeared to back Grassley’s rationale last week. He said that he would like Fusion partners to appear for public testimony.
On Monday, two Democrats on the Judiciary committee, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, called on Grassley to release the transcript of Simpson’s testimony, which clocks in at 312 pages.
In a statement, Feinstein said that she released Simpson’s testimony after conferring with her fellow committee Democrats.
“The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves,” she said.
“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. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.”
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee blasted Feinstein’s decision to release the transcript.
“It’s totally confounding that Senator Feinstein would unilaterally release a transcript of a witness interview in the middle of an ongoing investigation – a witness that Feinstein herself subpoenaed last year for lack of cooperation,” said Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy.
“Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses,” added Foy, who noted that the committee is still trying to secure interviews with witnesses like Jared Kushner.