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

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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