BREAKING: First Charges In The Russia Investigation Just Announced

The hysteria over possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election may have started as an effort to destroy President Donald Trump, but when all is said and done a few Democrats may be the ones who got burned.

The New York Times reports that Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) South Carolina have recommended that the US Department of Justice open a criminal investigation into former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the notorious Trump dossier filled with salacious, discredited, and unverified accusations against 2016’s unlikely GOP victor.

Specifically, the two lawmakers believe that Steele potentially lied to the feds about his communications with reporters pertaining to the dossier’s contents — a crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of 8 years. Of course, being the New York Times, the report makes readers wade through several paragraphs of blather about partisanship insinuating that Republicans are neglecting their duty by targeting “one of the people who sought to expose” election interference rather than interference itself. But eventually, the Times arrives at the details:

The circumstances under which Mr. Steele is alleged to have lied were unclear, as much of the referral was classified.

In a short cover letter dated Thursday but transmitted on Friday, the senators wrote, “Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained.”

That section of the federal criminal code refers to knowingly making false or misleading statements to federal authorities […]

Anyone can make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which is not obligated to take up the matter. But a recommendation from a senior senator who runs the committee that has oversight of the department comes with added weight.

The Justice Department had no immediate comment on the referral. But Fusion characterized the recommendation to charge Mr. Steele as a smear and an attempt to further muddy the inquiry into Russia’s interference.

Ah, yes, Fusion GPS. This morning, the Federalist’s Sean Davis has been reminding the public just how phony that notorious smear firm’s posturing really is:

The closer people with actual prosecutorial power dig into the dossier, the bigger the potential problem for Democrats is. As TFPP has previously covered, last fall we learned that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democrat National Committee financed a substantial portion of it, and did so through a lawyer as an intermediary to hide their role in its creation — a deception for which Team Hillary now faces a Federal Elections Commission complaint.

(The conservative website Washington Free Beacon originally commissioned Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump during the GOP primary, but abandoned the project once he secured the nomination. Steele didn’t become involved until the Democrats picked up the project during the general election.)

What do you think about all of this? Are Democrats in big trouble, or will the current Attorney General continue to treat the matter with kid gloves? Sound off in the comments below.