(Liberty Bell) – Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has fingered the massive left-wing think tank Brookings Institution for having helped disseminate the long-debunked anti-Trump Steele dossier.
He says that they defended the credibility of the dossier and could have even been involved in its creation, Breitbart reports.
Speaking with Fox News on Tuesday, Nunes accused Strobe Talbott, the head of Brookingsm of playing a direct role in the salacious dossier. Nunes explained he’s examining “the three ‘D’s” of the dossier: its development, dissemination, and defense.
“They [the Brookings Institution] were involved for sure in the dissemination and for sure in the defense of the dossier. We just don’t know yet were they also involved in the development,” Nunes said, noting that it would be a “major” part of the story.
Nunes explained to Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday that an ongoing court case in London involving Christopher Steele, the former British spy and author of the dossier, has revealed links between the operative and Brookings, including the possibility that Steele had worked with leadership at the think tank to create the dossier.
He pointed to messages between Steele and Talbott, who was president of Brookings at the time, which caused him to question “what on earth was the president of Brookings doing texting back and forth to Steele, why was he accepting the dossier?”
Steele is currently being sued by Russian tech executive Aleksej Gubarev in a London court for defamation. A memo in the discredited dossier accused Gubarev of using WebZilla, a tech company he owns, to facilitate hacks against Democrats.
The Daily Caller reported on the text messages received from Gubarev’s lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, who read the text messages between Talbot and Steele to the court on Monday.
Talbot was friends with Bill Clinton when the two were students at Oxford, with Talbott eventually becoming a special adviser to the secretary of state during the first Clinton administration. Later, when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, she created a board of outside advisers and installed Talbott as chairman.
In one text message, Talbot called Steele “out of the blue in August 2016,” inquiring about Steele’s work at the time and offering him advice if needed:
Mr. Talbott telephones Mr Steele out of the blue in August 2016, having heard about his work and offers advice if needed.
In another text message after the elections, Steele asked Talbot how he wanted to handle “the package” (the dossier) that he received a copy of on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3 to “discuss with John Kerry and other officials at the State Department.”
“Dear Strobe, I know this is not straight forward but we need to discuss the package we delivered to you the other week, and sooner the better. What you thought of it, what you did with it, how we (both) should handle it and the issue it highlights going forward etc.,” Steele wrote on Nov. 12, 2016, according to Caldecott.
In a testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on November 21, 2019 as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, former White House adviser Fiona Hill told Nunes how she had received a copy of the dossier from Talbott one day before BuzzFeed published it on January 10th, 2017.
Hill, who was once a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution before she joined the Trump administration, also noted that she’d met Steele in 2016, ahead of the elections.
A partial transcript from the hearing reads:
NUNES: OK. Dr. Hill, in your testimony, you said that – no, in your deposition, excuse me, that Christopher Steele was your counterpart at one time. Is this correct?
HILL: That’s correct, yes.
NUNES: You testified that you met with Christopher Steele in 2016. I assume that’s still correct?
HILL: That’s correct, yes.
NUNES: And the only thing we didn’t get on that is do you know about when that was in 2016 and how many times?
HILL: I’m afraid I don’t. I actually met with him – well you asked me actually in a deposition when the most recent time that I had met with him in 2016 and he retired from the British Intelligence Services in 2009, which is the same time …
NUNES: Right, I’m asking about 2016.
HILL: 2016, I don’t recall, but I did meet with him some times before 2016.
NUNES: But you don’t remember the date?
HILL: I don’t, I’m afraid, no.
NUNES: OK. You stated in your deposition that a colleague had showed you the Steele dossier before it was published. Who was that colleague?
HILL: That was one of my colleagues at the Brookings Institution.
NUNES: And who – who was that?
HILL: That was the Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott, who had been sent a copy of this.
NUNES: And he shared it with you?
HILL: That was the day before it was published in Buzzfeed.
NUNES: Thank you. You mentioned in your deposition also that you thought that it was a – let’s get the exact quote – that the dossier was a rabbit hole. Is that still your testimony?
HILL: That’s correct.