Devin Nunes (R-CA) said that the investigation leading up to the four-page FISA memo released on Friday was only “phase one,” and that the House Intelligence Committee is currently in the middle of investigating the State Department over their involvement in surveillance abuses.
“We are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation, which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in this,” said Nunes.
“That investigation is ongoing and we continue work towards finding answers and asking the right questions to try to get to the bottom of what exactly the State Department was up to in terms of this Russia investigation.”
#BREAKING: Devin Nunes says this is just the first memo to be released. He says there will be another one dealing specifically with the State Department’s role in everything that happened. pic.twitter.com/kpHVDQ44WX
— Ryan Saavedra ???????? (@RealSaavedra) February 3, 2018
While it is unclear what role the State Department may have in surveillance abuses, the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York noted last month that former MI6 spy, Christopher Steele, was “well-connected with the Obama State Department,” according to the book Collusion: Secret meetings, dirty money, and how Russia helped Donald Trump win” written by The Guardian correspondent Luke Harding and published last November.
Harding notes that Steele’s work during the World Cup soccer corruption investigation earned the trust of both the FBI and the State Department:
The [soccer] episode burnished Steele’s reputation inside the U.S. intelligence community and the FBI. Here was a pro, a well-connected Brit, who understood Russian espionage and its subterranean tricks. Steele was regarded as credible. Between 2014 and 2016, Steele authored more than a hundred reports on Russia and Ukraine. These were written for a private client but shared widely within the State Department and sent up to Secretary of State John Kerry and to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who was in charge of the U.S. response to the Ukraine crisis. Many of Steele’s secret sources were the same sources who would supply information on Trump. One former State Department envoy during the Obama administration said he read dozens of Steele’s reports on Russia. The envoy said that on Russia, Steele was “as good as the CIA or anyone.” Steele’s professional reputation inside U.S. agencies would prove important the next time he discovered alarming material, and lit the fuse again.
Aside from the infamous 35-page “Trump-Russia” dossier Steele assembled for opposition research firm Fusion GPS (a report which was funded in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNC), Congressional investigators have been looking into whether Steele compiled other reports about Trump – and in particular, whether those other reports made their way to the State Department, according to The Examiner.
…they are looking into whether those reports made their way to the State Department. They’re also seeking to learn what individual State Department officials did in relation to Steele, and whether there were any contacts between the State Department and the FBI or Justice Department concerning the anti-Trump material.
It will be interesting to see how the State Department – and in particular Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – responds to “phase two.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Watch the entire Nunes interview here: