House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) told Breitbart News on Saturday the committee will likely send more officials a list of questions about when they knew about the Russia dossier and what they did with it.
“There’s likely going to be more people who will get it as the investigation unfolds, and if they don’t respond, they’ll be subpoenaed,” Nunes said in an exclusive interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“If you’re an official and you knew about this, the Congress has a right to know about it, and so do the American people,” he added.
Last week, the committee sent a list of questions to more than 20 current and former law enforcement, intelligence, and State Department officials, asking when they knew about the dossier and what they did with it. Fox News reported that three of the recipients are former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The other recipients have not been named.
Nunes said one of the reasons the committee would not identify who has gotten the questionnaire is that they do not want recipients to coordinate their responses.
“We don’t want to let all the people know who’s getting it because, for one thing, we don’t want them coordinating their responses because we believe that some people will answer the questionnaire,” he said.
“We just need answers to very basic questions, like when you knew about the dossier, when you knew it was paid for by the Democratic party, who did you tell, who was informed, those kinds of things,” Nunes said. “Just very basic questions.”
The list of ten questions about the dossier will be key to finding out how the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee-funded document was used during the election.
The research into Trump’s international business ties began with Never Trump Republican donor Paul Singer, via The Washington Free Beacon. But after it appeared Trump would cement the GOP nomination, he stopped funding it.
At that point, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), through its law firm Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPS to conduct research into Trump’s business ties with Russia. Fusion then hired Christopher Steele, whose research would later be known as the Steele dossier.
Fusion GPS and Steele would shop his research to the FBI, media outlets, State Department officials, and members of Congress in the weeks leading up to the election.
Steele’s sources for his research have never been publicly identified. According to the resulting dossier, many are current and former Russian intelligence officials, raising questions about whether the dossier is Russian disinformation meant to discredit Trump and sow discord in the U.S.
Nunes said he has heard the accusations that one of Steele’s sources may have been Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who had engaged in a legal battle with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
He said there was nothing he could share publicly, but he added, “It is a concern of ours.”
Nunes said that already, some folks are coming forward to admit what they did with the dossier.
After being named in a letter by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), then-State Department official Jonathan Winer admitted in an op-ed last month that he saw the dossier and passed a summary of it onto then-State Department official Victoria Nuland, who suggested passing it on to then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
Winer also admitted passing on information he received from long-time Clinton friends Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer to Steele, who then gave it to the FBI.
“You’re beginning to see irregularities in what was flowing into the State Department, characters that I think most Americans would see to be a little odd, being that they had close ties to Hillary Clinton and her campaign,” Nunes said.
Nunes said there will be more information coming but the committee wants to see the Justice Department start taking actions.
“There will be more information that will be made available. What we’d really like to have happen is for people responsible for some of these actions to be held responsible by the executive branch,” he said.
“In Congress, we can do oversight, we can subpoena, we can hold people in contempt, we can impeach, but we can’t actually go and arrest someone and hold them in a jail and prosecute them; the executive branch has to do that.”