Today we learn from Natasha Bertrand at the Atlantic that Rep Devin Nunes went to the UK early this August to get dirt on Christopher Steele from M15, M16 and GCHQ but they weren’t home when he called. Womp! Womp! And this in addition to Nunes sending staffers to the UK last year trying to find something -anything- to give the GOP talking points to use against Steele, the DOJ, our Intelligence agencies and any law enforcement concerning Trump/Republican criminal activity.
One wonders if our taxpayer dollars went to pay for this nonsense.
Devin Nunes’s Curious Trip to London
Earlier this month, as all eyes were on the courtroom dramas unfolding in Virginia—where President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman was just convicted on bank- and tax-fraud charges—and in New York—where the president’s longtime personal lawyer pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and implicated Trump in a crime—the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was in London, seeking out new information about the former British intelligence officer and Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele.
According to two people familiar with his trip across the pond who requested anonymity to discuss the chairman’s travels, Devin Nunes, a California Republican, was investigating, among other things, Steele’s own service record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with a U.S. Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. To that end, Nunes requested meetings with the heads of three different British agencies—MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. (Steele was an MI6 agent until a decade ago, and GCHQ, the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the National Security Agency, was the first foreign-intelligence agency to pick up contacts between Trump associates and Russian agents in 2015, according to The Guardian.)
A U.K. security official, speaking on background, said “it is normal for U.K. intelligence agencies to have meetings with the chairman and members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” But those meetings did not pan out—Nunes came away meeting only with the U.K.’s deputy national-security adviser, Madeleine Alessandri. The people familiar with his trip told me that officials at MI6, MI5, and GCHQ were wary of entertaining Nunes out of fear that he was “trying to stir up a controversy.” Spokespeople for Alessandri and Nunes did not return requests for comment, and neither did the press offices for MI5 and MI6. GCHQ declined to comment.
Steele, who authored a collection of memos sourced to Kremlin and campaign insiders alleging a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow to win the 2016 election, has been a fixation for Nunes ever since the document was published slightly more than two weeks before Trump’s inauguration. Last summer, two of Nunes’s staffers, Kash Patel and Doug Presley, traveled to London—without the knowledge of the U.S. Embassy or British government—in search of Steele, whose lawyer denied the staffers access to his client. This time, Nunes sought a work-around, I’m told. His trip to London at such a precarious moment for the president, and the intelligence agencies’ decision to decline him a meeting, is emblematic of the political island on which Nunes finds himself—along with a handful of other Trump allies in Congress and the media—as he continues his search for wrongdoing by the Justice Department.