As the House Intelligence Committee continues its probe into President Donald Trump’s Russian ties, GOP staffers are reportedly searching for the man behind the explosive Trump dossier — apparently without the knowledge of those leading the investigation.
According to CNN, two House GOP staffers recently traveled to London to track down Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier containing information about Trump’s ties to Russia and the president’s past activities in Moscow. The staffers were reportedly trying to find a way to contact Steele’s lawyer and convince the former British intelligence officer to testify before the committee.
The ranking members of Congress leading the investigation, however, were apparently kept in the dark about the trip. In an interview Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, told host Jake Tapper that he “wasn’t aware” of the staffers’ London trip.
Though CNN reported that Democrats weren’t told about the trip, leading to a congressional rift between the parties, Schiff said Sunday that he believes committee chairman Rep. Michael Conaway — a Republican congressman from Texas — was similarly unaware of the London visit.
Schiff supported the idea of Steele testifying before the committee, however, telling Tapper that the intelligence officer has “very relevant information that would assist our investigation.”
“The reality is we do want to meet with Mr. Steele, we would like him to come before the committee. If he’s not willing to do that, we’d be happy — Mr. Conaway and myself — to go to London and sit down with him,” Schiff said.
The details of Steele’s dossier — some of which have been corroborated by the FBI and intelligence officials — are an “important element” of the House investigation, Schiff said Sunday, particularly in the wake of the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.
“We want to look at each of the allegations within the so-called dossier, and particularly look at them now in light of what we know from that Don Jr. meeting about the intent of the campaign to get Russian help,” Schiff said. “Part of that is discussed — not necessarily that particular meeting, but that whole idea — is discussed within Mr. Steele’s findings in that dossier.”
The dossier’s most salacious claim — that the Kremlin possesses a tape of Trump telling Russian sex workers to urinate on the bed in which former President Barack Obama slept — remains unverified.