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

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 12,009,301 — Total deaths: 548,799 — Total recoveries — 6,561,969Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 3,053,328 — Total deaths: 132,256 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,532,612Map.
  3. Public health: Houston mayor cancels Republican convention over coronavirus concerns Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.

9 hours ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.