- Rep. Devin Nunes says he wants to find out what role the Brookings Institution played in handling the Steele dossier.
- Evidence emerged this week in a British court case that former Brookings president Strobe Talbott obtained the dossier from Christopher Steele.
- Nunes said that Brookings’ involvement in the matter is a “major part” of the story about the dossier.
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said he’s interested in the role that the Brookings Institution, a top foreign policy think tank, played in the handling and disseminating the infamous Steele dossier.
“I think this would be a major part of this story if indeed one of the major think tanks in this country, in this city, was involved in the dossier,” Rep. Devin Nunes said in an interview Tuesday on Fox News.
A defamation case in London against Christopher Steele has revealed that the former British spy provided a copy of the dossier to Strobe Talbott, who served as president of the Brookings Institution through 2017.
Steele provided Talbott with a copy of the dossier days before the 2016 election.
Talbott had contacted Steele in August 2016 offering to help Steele with his investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia, according to lawyers for a businessman suing Steele for defamation over the dossier, evidence unveiled in the Steele trial show. (RELATED: Christopher Steele Text Messages Revealed At First Day Of Defamation Trial)
“Mr. Talbott telephones Mr Steele out of the blue in August 2016, having heard about his work and offers advice if needed,” a lawyer for the businessman said at the opening of Steele’s trial on Monday, according to a copy of the remarks obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The lawyer said that Talbott called Steele on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3, 2016 asking for a copy of the dossier in order to “discuss with John Kerry and other officials at the State Department.”
Talbott is a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and served as deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration. When Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state she created a board of outside advisers and installed Talbott as chairman.
Steele sent a text message to Talbott after Donald Trump’s election win, seeking advice on how to handle “the package,” or the dossier.
“Dear Strobe, I know this is not straight forward but we need to discuss the package we delivered to you the other week, and sooner the better. What you thought of it, what you did with it, how we (both) should handle it and the issue it highlights going forward etc.,” Steele wrote on Nov. 12, 2016.
It is not entirely clear what Talbott did with the dossier once he received it. But he did share a copy of it on Jan. 9, 2017 with Fiona Hill, a Brookings official who later joined the Trump administration as its top Russia expert.
BuzzFeed News published the dossier the next day.
Hill told Congress last year that she was surprised to learn that Steele had written the dossier. She said she doubted its validity and believed that it might have contained Russian disinformation.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s information to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
Page said he is disappointed in the role that Talbott played in spreading Steele’s information.
“Strobe Talbott is someone who I had long known and respected,” Page told the DCNF.
“The new evidence revealing that he and his colleagues from the Brookings Institution got involved in this severe election interference campaign with the DNC-funded Dodgy Dossier truly shocks the conscience.”
Nunes said in his Fox News interview that he is trying to find answers to what he called “The Three ‘Ds'”: the development, dissemination and defense of the dossier.
“We now know that the head of the Brookings Institute [sic] was involved in this dossier,” he said.
“What’s of interest is the Brookings Institute…they were involved for sure in the dissemination and for sure in the defense of the dossier. We just don’t know yet were they also involved in the development.”
On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a 57-page memo of interviews conducted in January 2017 with Steele’s primary source. The source, who is not identified in the document, told the FBI that Steele put “rumor and speculation” in parts of the dossier.
Talbott has not responded to multiple requests for comment. The Brookings Institution did not respond to an email seeking comment on Nunes’ statements.
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