Leaders on the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded recently that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee leaked Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-VA) text messages to Fox News in February, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing two congressional officials briefed on the matter.
Fox News in February published text messages that Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, exchanged with Adam Waldman, a lawyer for a Russian oligarch, in an attempt to set up an interview with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the so-called Trump dossier. Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee quickly downplayed the text messages and indicated they had no problem with Warner’s attempts to reach Steele.
In January, the House Intelligence Committee requested copies of the text messages from the Senate committee, and days later Fox News published the texts, a person familiar with the matter told the New York Times.
Markings on the text messages published by Fox News indicated they came from the House committee, according to the New York Times. A lawyer for Waldman also concluded that the leak likely came from House Republicans, per the Times.
The lawyer for Waldman complained to the House committee, and Burr, apparently frustrated by the leak, requested a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) about the matter, per the New York Times. Ryan told Burr that he heard the complaints but noted he did not run the committee, the congressional officials briefed on the matter told the New York Times.
Burr and Warner told the Times in a joint statement that they did meet with Ryan but did not request any specific action. Burr denied to CNN on Thursday that the committee concluded that their counterparts in the House were behind the leak or that he raised the issue with Ryan.
Burr flatly denies report that his panel has concluded that Nunes/House Rs behind leak of Warner texts. Says: “No,” when asked if SSCI concluded that. He also denied they raised concerns about Nunes to Ryan. “We met with Speaker Ryan to update on our investigation. That was it."
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 1, 2018
Nunes spokesman Jack Langer did not deny that the House committee majority was behind the leak in a statement to the Times.
“The New York Times, a prominent purveyor of leaks, is highlighting anonymous sources leaking information that accuses Republicans of leaking information,” Langer said. “I’m not sure if this coverage could possibly get more absurd.”