- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2017

The House Intelligence Committee investigating the Russian government’s role in last year’s White House race secretly dispatched two Republican staffers to London this summer to locate Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative attributed with compiling a controversial and largely unverified dossier detailing President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, Politico reported Friday.

The previously undisclosed trip has heightened tensions on Capitol Hill, where multiple investigations devoted to Russia’s involvement in last year’s election are simultaneously unfolding in tandem with a Justice Department probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller, Politico reported.

Republican organizers hid the trip from Democratic colleagues in the House panel as well as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating last year’s race and Mr. Mueller’s office, seemingly widening the information gap between the three separate but similar probes.

“They’re doing their path, we’re doing ours,” a congressional official told Politico regarding the House and Senate inquiries.

Mr. Steele, a former member of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence service, gained infamy this side of the Atlantic earlier this year for compiling a sensational dossier detailing Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia prior to last year’s election.

It was ultimately published online by BuzzFeed in January and was subsequently denounced by the president as “fake news,” but the document and its origins are nonetheless of interest to investigators from either side of the aisle probing Russia’s role in the 2016 race.

The Republican staffers left their contact information at two addresses associated with Mr. Steele, including his attorney’s office, Politico reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter.

Mr. Steele was at his lawyer’s office when the staffers arrived, but the envoy followed instructions from Washington not to speak with him directly, Politico reported. His lawyer has since been in contact with House Intelligence Committee, the report said.

The U.S. intelligence community blames the Russian government with interfering in last year’s race, and congressional and federal law enforcement officials are currently investigating whether any Trump associates were in cahoots with Russian actors. Both the Kremlin and White House have denied involvement.

The unverified 35-page dossier compiled by Mr. Steele suggests that Russia possess compromising information concerning Mr. Trump that Moscow could potentially use in its favor, including allegations of sexual and financial misconduct.

Mr. Steele has not spoken publicly since the dossier became public in January.

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