The third “phase” of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ investigation into alleged abuses by the FBI and the Trump campaign will focus on former CIA Director John Brennan, among other Obama-era intelligence officials. Brennan was the director of the CIA from March 2013 to January 2017, the end of President Obama term in office.
In addition to Brennan, Nunes will also be focusing on President Obama’s first CIA Director Leon Panetta, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, among others. Brennan is the subject of scrutiny by Nunes for politicizing and “weaponizing” false intelligence reports against Trump, according to investigators.
Brennan talked up the infamous Steele Dossier to Democratic congressional leaders, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whom he briefed in August 2016, they say. Reid then wrote a letter to then FBI Director James Comey demanding he open an investigation into individuals connected with the Trump campaign, including Carter Page. Two months later, Comey would sign an application for surveillance on Page.
Reid again wrote to Comey in Octobers after Comey wrote a letter to Congress effectively reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Reid accused Comey of sitting on “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers and the Russian government.” According to congressional investigators, Reid was referring to claims made in the dossier.
Nunes’ investigators also claim that Brennan made sure to include significant portions of the Steele Dossier in the President’s Daily Brief for President Obama in January. That brief was then leaked to the press. News outlets had refrained from reporting on the dossier until that point because its findings were never verified. The news site Buzzfeed published the dossier shortly thereafter.