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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham have made a criminal referral against Christopher Steele, the British spy who authored the dossier detailing Russia's interference in the election, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The senators wrote in a cover letter that Steele knowingly made misleading or incorrect statements to federal authorities "regarding his distribution of information contained," the Times reports. And this is "the first known congressional criminal referral in connection with the meddling," NYT notes.

  • Steele's dossier has become a main focal point for Republicans in the investigation, claiming it demonstrates "Obama-era political bias" that affected the decision to open an investigation in 2016, per the NYT.
  • Joshua A. Levy, lawyer for Fusion, the political firm that helped fund the dossier, told the Times the referral "is nothing more than another attempt to discredit government sources, in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation...We should all be skeptical in the extreme."
  • While the Department of Justice is not required to pursue the charge, this referral "comes with added weight" being from the chairman of the Judiciary Committee (Grassley), the Times reports.

Go deeper: The dossier has been blamed for sparking the Russia investigation, but a separate NYT report suggests former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos is responsible.

Correction: the second sentence of this story has been corrected to say Steele is alleged to hae lied to "federal authorities" not the committee

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.