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House Republicans tried to smear a Democratic senator by leaking his texts to Fox News

Update 1:34 p.m. ET: Sen. Richard Burr rejected The New York Times' version of events in comments to CNN's Manu Raju: "Burr flatly denies report that his panel has concluded that Nunes/House Rs behind leak of Warner texts," Raju tweeted. "Says: 'No,' when asked if [Senate Intelligence Committee] concluded that. He also denied they raised concerns about Nunes to Ryan. 'We met with Speaker Ryan to update on our investigation. That was it.'" Our original post appears below.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee apparently leaked a Senate Democrat's private text messages to Fox News in an attempt to discredit him, The New York Times writes based on the Senate Intelligence Committee's conclusions. The text messages — in which the Senate Intelligence Committee's ranking member, Mark Warner (D-Va.), attempts to arrange a meeting with the author of the controversial Trump dossier, Christopher Steele, by talking to a Russia-linked lawyer — were initially shared with the House Intelligence Committee by the Senate Intelligence Committee, at the request of the former's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Copies of the texts had been submitted to the Senate committee by the lawyer who messaged with Warner, Adam Waldman. "The Senate committee has had difficulty making contact with Mr. Steele, whom it views as a key witness," explains The New York Times. "And Mr. Waldman, who knew Mr. Steele, presented himself as a willing partner."

But using the leaked texts, Fox News portrayed Warner as having "had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering ... access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele." President Trump tweeted in the aftermath: "Wow! …Warner did not want a 'paper trail' on a 'private meeting' … all tied to Crooked Hillary."

The Senate Intelligence Committee's top members, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Warner, were alarmed by the House Republicans' leak, even summoning House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to discuss what happened under Nunes. The leak came just after the House committee had published a controversial memo against the advisement of the FBI. Read the full report at The New York Times.