If anyone thought Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley's stunt this week to muddy the waters in the Mueller investigation couldn't get any uglier, they'd be wrong. We've come to expect this sort of behavior from their colleagues in the House, with Devin Nunes doing everything he can to run interference for Trump in his committee's farce of an investigation into the Russians meddling in our election.
As Business Insider's Natasha Bertrand explained to MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid this Sunday, Graham and Grassley aren't behaving any better when it comes to cooperating with their Democratic counterparts in the Senate.
REID: Lindsay Graham was back on Meet the Press this morning essentially characterizing Christopher Steele as a quasi-criminal, and we're talking about now senators who have themselves been tough on the Russia issue, including Lindsey Graham. What do Republicans make of their colleagues like Graham who are now attempting to switch the Russia investigation focus to Fusion GPS and essentially shift the investigative focus to Hillary Clinton?
BERTRAND: There's a lot of confusion among fellow Republicans and Democrats especially who say they were even consulted before this criminal referral was made about Steele. The night before it was actually made public, I was trying to ask Democrats if they had a response and if they were going to come out with anything that would counter the criminal referral, and I got nothing because no one knew that it was happening.
So this is really a shocking turn of events that even people close to Fusion GPS, people close to Steele were not expecting at all. They were not expecting that the first criminal referral in the Russia investigation to be put out by Congress would be against someone who that had intelligence he gave to the FBI, that he handed to John McCain, who then gave it to the FBI himself.
This is just really seen as an attempt, as a political attempt, to muddy the waters because, you know, there's a sense that Bob Mueller is getting really, really close to Trump's inner circle as he pursues the Russia investigation.↓ Story continues below ↓
And Chris Steele, he gave the information to the FBI as soon as he learned it. You cannot say the same thing about people in the Trump campaign who met with the Russians during the election.
You know there's this effort to conflate the opposition research that the Trump campaign was doing, the opposition research that the Trump campaign was doing by meeting with the Russians, and by entertaining the idea of obtaining this Clinton information and what Steele did, which was essentially gather from Russian sources that he gained from decades of working on the Moscow docs there, but the difference of course is that Chris Steele actually bypassed Fusion GPS entirely, and took his finding directly to the FBI. The question now is why didn't the Trump campaign do the same thing?
REID: Yeah, absolutely. I would love to be a fly on the wall for the conversation between John McCain and Lindsey Graham about this, because it is a very strange turn of events.