Russia Investigation: Republicans Leaking Info on Trump Dossier, Attorney Says

Devin Nunes
Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, questions FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers during a hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 20. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes and Senior Republicans may have leaked information about the panel's investigation into the notorious dossier that alleged President Donald Trump had been ensnared by Russian intelligence, according to an attorney.

The committee is probing the 2016 dossier, which was compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele after being contracted by Washington firm Fusion GPS. The dossier forms part of their investigation into allegations that members of Trump's team colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

The document contained a series of lurid and unverified claims about Trump, including that Russian intelligence had recorded Trump with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room—and could use the information to blackmail the president.

Fusion GPS is currently fighting the committee's bid to obtain their bank records, arguing it would compromise their confidential client list. The committee's general counsel, Mark Stewart, said the information would be protected from public disclosure "absent a full vote" of the committee.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington Monday obtained by the Law Newz website, Fusion's GPS's lawyer, Josh Levy, alleges that members of the committee had leaked information from the investigation.

Levy wrote that the identity of Fusion GPS's bank was leaked to The Washington Examiner, and the information did not come from anyone at Fusion GPS. "The only other persons who knew the identity of the bank were committee staff, Mr. Nunes and possibly other committee members," Levy said.

In June, Nunes stepped aside from involvement in the Russia probe, after the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified information. Nunes had briefed the White House on intelligence intercepts of a Trump campaign aide speaking with Russian officials during the election.

Levy also alleges that when Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch and executive Thomas Catan appeared before the Committee last week, the fact that they had pleaded the Fifth Amendment to every question was leaked to outlets including Fox News—and the information could only have come from committee members or staff.

Levy takes partcular issue with an op-ed entitled "Fusion Collusion" by journalist Kimberley A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal, and portrays Democrat members of the panel during the interview with Fritsch and Catan in a negative light.

"Any reasonable person reading this column can only conclude that HPSCI majority staff or members leaked this confidential information to Ms. Strassel," Levy wrote.

Levy goes on to write that Fusion GPS received an inquiry in October from ABC News reporter Matthew Mosk about the committee's plan to subpoena its bank records, and alleged that neither GPS Fusion nor its counsel had leaked the information after being served with the order.

"Mr. Mosk's source could only have come from the Committee or its staff," Levy wrote.

Newsweek has contacted Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee for comment on Levy's allegations.

On Tuesday The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported that the Clinton campaign had helped fund part of the research that appeared in the dossier. Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS to conduct the research, according to the report.

That same day, Nunes announced his panel's inquiry into the sale of a Canadian mining firm that had uranium mines in the American West to a Russian firm after Hillary Clinton helped to approve the decision.

The Trump dossier has become the focus of fierce partisan battles, with Trump and allies arguing the allegations it contains are politically motivated.