House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) is next planning to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the unverified dossier on Trump, according to a new report.
“In phase three, the involvement of the intelligence community will come into sharper focus,” a senior investigator told RealClearInvestigation’s Paul Sperry in a report.
Nunes will also focus on President Obama’s first CIA Director Leon Panetta, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, among others, the report said.
“John Brennan did more than anyone to promulgate the dirty dossier,” the investigator told Sperry. “He politicized and effectively weaponized what was false intelligence against Trump.”
The first part of Nunes’ investigation revealed in a memo earlier this month that the FBI used the dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. It also revealed that the FBI also used a Yahoo News story to obtain the warrant, even though dossier author Christopher Steele was also the source for that story.
The second part of Nunes’ investigation will focus on the Obama State Department’s role in the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign. Since news of the second phase was reported, former State Department official Jonathan Winer has come forward and admitted in a Washington Post op-ed that he passed on a report given to him by Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal to Steele, who then gave it to the FBI.
Sperry’s report revealed the third phase of Nunes’ investigation. Sources told Sperry that Brennan talked up the dossier to Democratic leaders, as well as the press, during the campaign. They also told him that Brennan fed allegations about Trump-Russia contacts directly to the FBI, and pressed then FBI-Director Jim Comey to conduct an investigation of several Trump campaign members.
Brennan briefed then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in August 2016 that the Russians were backing Trump and that the FBI would have to take the lead in an investigation because the FBI is the federal agency in charge of domestic intelligence and they can spy on U.S. citizens, unlike the CIA.
Reid would write a letter to Comey two days later demanding he open an investigation targeting “individuals tied to Trump” to determine whether they coordinated with Russia to influence the election. Reid specifically named Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and repeated an unfounded claim from the dossier.
Two months later, Comey would sign an application for a surveillance warrant on Page. Reid pressed Comey again in late October, accusing him of sitting on “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers and the Russian government.”
Congressional investigators told Sperry that Reid was referring to the dossier claims that Brennan passed on to him.
They also said Brennan sought also made sure contents from the dossier were attached to an official daily intelligence briefing for then-President Obama in January, weeks before Trump was sworn in. That briefing was then leaked to CNN and media, who had refrained to report on the dossier earlier. Buzzfeed would then publish the dossier shortly thereafter.
In addition to denying knowing who paid for the dossier, Brennan has also denied it had anything to do with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the election to help Trump. However, congressional investigators suggested to Sperry that a still-classified version of the January 2017 intelligence report contradicts that claim.
Nunes plans to call Brennan and other former Obama administration officials before the committee, based on newly-obtained documents and information, according to Sperry.
Brennan has claimed he first learned of the dossier in late summer of 2016, when members of the news media asked him about it, and that he heard just “snippets,” and had not seen it until a month after the election.
Investigators will also question Clapper, who delivered the presidential briefing along with Brennan, and claimed that there were other sources that corroborated the dossier, Sperry reported. Clapper will be questioned on what those other sources are.