Nunes presses Trump to ask Theresa May about British government’s role in Steele dossier

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday urged President Trump to ask Prime Minister Theresa May whether British officials supported intelligence-gathering activities targeted at his campaign associates or coordinated in any way with the author of the unverified Trump "dossier" -- as the president prepares to make a state visit to Britain in June.

"I respectfully request that you ask Prime Minister May about the British government's knowledge of the Steele dossier and whether the British government took any unilateral actions based on information provided by [Christopher] Steele or at the request of any U.S. departments," California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes wrote in a letter to Trump, exclusively obtained by Fox News.

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Nunes cited a May 19 article in The Telegraph titled, "Theresa May's spy chiefs were briefed on explosive Christopher Steele dossier before Donald Trump." The report said the heads of MI5 and MI6  and a top May adviser were told about Steele’s salacious memos on the Trump campaign after his 2016 election victory -- before Trump was made aware.

Saying the article raised "important questions about the potential role foreign government officials may have played in spreading the dossier's false allegations and what actions they may have taken in response to the allegations," Nunes posed a series of questions for Trump to ask May.

"Is the British government aware of, did it give permission for, or did it participate in, activities by any government to surveil or otherwise target active or former associates of the Trump campaign, if any such surveillance activities took place?" Nunes wrote.

Another proposed question reads: "Describe any communications or relationship, if any, Joseph Mifsud ... has had with British intelligence and any information the British government possesses about Mifsud's connection to any other government or intelligence agency."

Nunes, who has access to classified records on the matter, has been at the forefront of investigating the genesis of the Trump-Russia collusion probe. Trump told Fox News earlier this month that he would declassify related materials soon.

Earlier this week, Nunes told Fox News that the FBI had "something to hide" concerning Mifsud, a Maltese academic who allegedly told former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in April 2016 that Russia had damaging information about Trump's rival Hillary Clinton, eventually touching off the original FBI probe. Papadopoulos has accused Mifsud of acting as one of many spies intent on corroborating "bad intelligence."

George Papadopoulos (left) pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud (right).

George Papadopoulos (left) pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud (right). (Twitter/Youtube)

"He is the first person that we know of on earth that supposedly knows something about the Russians having Hillary's emails," Nunes told "Fox News @ Night." "He has since denied that, but [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller in his report claimed that Mifsud -- or insinuated that Mifsud -- was some sort of Russian asset. We know that this is not the case. In fact, we know that he was in the U.S. Capitol ... just steps away from an intelligence committee."

Nunes' letter to Trump also drills down on how deeply reliant the intelligence community was on Steele, whose dossier played a central role in obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump aide Carter Page.

A report from The Hill's John Solomon earlier this month found that the FBI was told that Steele had admitted to a contact at the State Department that he was "keen" to leak the dossier for purposes of influencing the 2016 election. The State Department official, further, raised concerns about the accuracy of his claims. Steele also acknowledged the dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign. The FBI did not make either fact clear to the FISA court.

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Additionally, on four occasions, the FBI told the FISA court that it "did not believe" Steele was the direct source for a Yahoo News article implicating Page in Russian collusion. But London court records show that contrary to the FBI's assessments, Steele briefed Yahoo News and other reporters in the fall of 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS -- the opposition research firm behind the dossier.

Reads one question in Nunes' letter: "Did Christopher Steele inform any current or former British intelligence or government officials about the allegations he put forward in the Steele dossier or any other allegations about President Trump or Trump campaign associates colluding with Russians? If so, describe what action British officials took in response to this information."

And a follow-up: "Did any current or former British intelligence or government officials discuss with Christopher Steele the possibility of Steele writing additional memos about President Trump or Trump associates colluding with Russians? If so, what guidance did British officials give to Steele and when was this guidance provided?"

Nunes also sought to probe any possible coordination between U.S. and British officials.

"Did any current or former U.S. government or intelligence officials inform any current or former British government or intelligence officials about Steele's allegations or any other allegations about President Trump or Trump campaign associates colluding with Russians, if other such allegations exist? If so, describe the circumstances and timing of this communication and any resulting action that was taken," Nunes wrote.

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As Trump's own Justice Department launches a review into the origins of the Russia probes, Nunes' letter suggests the hunt for details could lead overseas. He also asked whether any British officials relayed "classified or unclassified information to any current or former U.S. officials about alleged contacts between Trump associates and suspected Russian intelligence officials, if any such information exists?"

Nunes concluded: "Did any current or former British officials provide an assessment of Christopher Steele, including a determination of his credibility or motivations, to any current or former U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, or government officials, or presidential transition team members?"