Senate Intelligence Committee leaders have accused Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee—led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)—of leaking private text messages from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the New York Times reports.
The text messages were published Feb. 8 by Fox News, and showed Warner texting with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch in an attempt to gain access to former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. That report was hyped by Republicans, included Donald Trump, and came on the heels of the president’s decision to release a partisan memo by Nunes, which purported to prove surveillance abuses during the FBI’s Russia investigation.
“Taken together, the actions suggested a pattern of partisanship and unilateral action by the once-bipartisan House panel,” the Times notes.
Despite Trump’s assertion that the messages prove “Warner did not want a ‘paper trail’ on a ‘private’ meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame,” Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) undercut the president’s spin, writing on Twitter, “Sen. Warner fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago.”
Warner and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-SC) were “so perturbed by the leak” they demanded a meeting last month with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to discuss the partisan breach of protocol and Nunes’ role as the House Intelligence Committee chair, according to the Times.
Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, did not deny that members of the committee leaked the texts.
“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.”
In a joint statement, Burr and Warner “acknowledged the meeting with Ryan,” the Times reports.