by Chuck Ross
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman provided an update on Sunday of the panel’s investigation into what he says are “major irregularities” at the State Department regarding its handling of information about President Donald Trump’s campaign.
California Rep. and Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s investigators are looking into the State Department’s handling of information about George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign adviser whose discussions about Hillary Clinton emails are what led the FBI to open its counterintelligence investigation in July 2016, the chairman suggested when he appeared on Fox News.
“We are investigating the State Department. We think there are some major irregularities at the State Department, and we’re trying to figure out how it is that this information about Mr. Papadopoulos of all people, who was supposedly meeting with some folks in London, how that made it over across into the FBI’s hands,” Nunes told Maria Bartiromo, the host of “Sunday Morning Futures.”
,@DevinNunes: “We do know that longtime associates of @HillaryClinton, including Sidney Blumenthal and another person named, I think, Cody Shearer, were actively giving information to the @StateDept that was somehow making its way to the @FBI.” #SundayFutures@MariaBartiromopic.twitter.com/nUw5gIHCB7
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 22, 2018
The Intelligence Committee is investigating the State Department’s involvement in handling the infamous Steele dossier, Nunes has said in the past. But there had been no indication the State Department might be involved in anything related to Papadopoulos, an energy consultant who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had with a mysterious Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud.
The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, after receiving information from the Australian government. Two months earlier, Papadopoulos met in London with Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat to the United Kingdom. Papadopoulos told Downer about a Russian plan to disseminate stolen Clinton emails, the Australian diplomat reportedly claims.
Papadopoulos has acknowledged he was told about stolen Clinton emails during an April 26, 2016, meeting in London with Mifsud, who then worked as a professor.
It remains unclear whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s claims about emails. The 30-year-old energy consultant is cooperating with the special counsel’s office as part of his plea deal.
The Intelligence Committee was looking into the State Department’s handling of the Steele dossier, the salacious and unverified document former British spy Christopher Steele authored, Nunes announced in January.
“We do know that longtime associates of Hillary Clinton, including Sidney Blumenthal and another person named, I think, Cody Shearer, were actively giving information to the State Department that was somehow making its way to the FBI,” Nunes said.
It recently emerged that former State Department official Jonathan Winer met with Steele during the 2016 campaign to discuss the ex-spy’s investigation of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
Winer, who served as special envoy to Libya at the time, wrote up a two-page summary of Steele’s allegations and shared them with other State Department officials, including then-Sec. of State John Kerry.
Winer also handled information from Blumenthal, a notorious Clinton-world fixer who the Obama White House blocked from joining the Clinton State Department.
Blumenthal gave Winer two memos compiled by Cody Shearer, another Clinton acolyte. Shearer’s reports contained similar allegations to those found in Steele’s reports, including the claim Russia’s government had blackmail material on Trump. Winer shared the unverified document with Steele, who in turn gave it to the FBI.
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Chuck Ross is an investigative reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Chuck on Twitter.