Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, who respectively chair the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of its subcommittees, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which they said former spy Christopher Steele made "false statements" about his sharing information in the dossier with U.S. media outlets.
The referral comes after Republicans in Congress have made several attempts in recent weeks to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the Justice Department and the FBI, charging there is anti-Trump bias within the ranks of federal agents and prosecutors. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said she was unaware of the criminal referral before it was made. "But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review", Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in the statement Friday.
Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been conducting an investigation running parallel to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Trump's alleged ties to Russian Federation.
The Trump dossier, sometimes called the Steele memo, contains numerous unverified allegations against President Trump, including that Russian intelligence had a video of him in a compromising sexual situation.
"Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI", Grassley said in the letter.More news: Game of Thrones Final Season of Six Episodes to Air in 2019
Four individuals, including three former campaign officials, have so far been indicted as part of an ongoing criminal federal investigation into whether or not Trump officials conspired with the Kremlin, including Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
The Judiciary Committee probe is one of three congressional investigations into Russian interference into the USA election, and is separate from Robert Mueller's probe.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she and her Democratic colleagues were not consulted on the referral.
In it, they allege that Republican lawmakers are waging a "cynical campaign" to portray Fusion GPS and the now infamous Steele dossier as "unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation".
The Judiciary Committee has not interviewed Steele.More news: Bronx apartment fire leaves 16 injured
The statement from Graham and Grassley goes on to say that the referral "does not pertain to the veracity of claims contained in the dossier" and that it "is not meant to be an allegation of a crime". The dossier forms much of the basis for Congress and the DOJ's investigation into aforementioned alleged ties between Trump and Russian Federation.
Fusion GPS didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
Simpson added: "We're extremely proud of our work to highlight Mr Trump's Russian Federation ties".More news: Almost $1 billion up for grabs in Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots
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