It’s fitting that this week, as Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury consumes Washington, also marks the anniversary of the publication of the Trump dossier, the collection of intelligence about the president’s ties to Russia. The two documents, the dossier and the book, may prove to be bookends for the first phase of the Trump presidency, and both are fascinating looks at Trump that depend on opaquely sourced and largely unverified information.
The dossier is back in the news not just because of the anniversary, but because on Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, released the transcript of an interview with Glenn Simpson, whose firm, Fusion GPS, contracted with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to look into Trump, eventually leading to the dossier. Democrats and Republicans had offered contradictory reports of how cooperative Simpson was, and the release elicited an angry reaction from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.
It also angered the president:
The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. Must have tough Primary!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
There’s little indication that Feinstein’s action was illegal, and Trump’s attack on her can only help her in a primary. Earlier on Wednesday, the president also tweeted:
The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
Trump’s insistence that “Republicans should finally take control” is important. For one, Republicans lead both houses of Congress. For another, that statement veers close to Trump trying (once again) to interfere in an investigation into him. Asked about the comment by CNN Wednesday, Grassley suggested a conversation with Trump would be inappropriate.