Senate Russia Probe Fractures After Leading Republican Wants Focus On Clinton
The Senate Judiciary Committee's GOP chairman and top Democrat are splitting off in different directions when it comes to investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, risking a collapse of their once bipartisan probe.
While Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) digs deeper into a uranium sale approved by Hillary Clinton's State Department that the House GOP is also investigating, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is working on legislation that would make it illegal for Americans to accept help from foreign nationals to influence an election — citing a meeting that Donald Trump Jr. held at Trump Tower in June 2016 with Kremlin allies as an example.
“No foreign entity should interfere,” Feinstein said on Wednesday.
Feinstein is working with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on the foreign-influence bill, a spokesman said.
The legislation gives Feinstein, who's facing a primary challenge from the left, a platform to underscore her interest in an issue the liberal grass roots has seized on.
Tensions between Grassley and Feinstein appeared to rise after the Republican sent a passel of letters to central figures in the James Comey firing and the Trump-Russia nexus without the Democrat’s signature. The duo had previously collaborated on high-profile requests in their Russia investigation, including a big for the CIA to grant their members access to classified material already viewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Among the figures Grassley asked for information and interviews were Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Both Kushner and Veselnitskaya attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, initially advertised as a conduit for opposition research that could hurt Clinton’s campaign.