Devin Nunes reportedly went on a secret trip to London seeking information on ex-spy Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr

Rep. Devin Nunes is pushing the envelope
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Earlier in August, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) secretly slipped away to London, seeking information on former British spy and Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand reports. "Nunes requested meetings with the heads of three different British agencies — MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters," Britain's equivalent of the National Security Agency, "but those meetings did not pan out," Bertrand says, citing two people familiar with his trip.

Nunes did get a meeting with Madeleine Alessandri, Britain's deputy national security adviser, Bertrand reports, but although British intelligence chiefs would normally meet wit the head of the House intelligence committee, "the people familiar with his trip told me that officials at MI6, MI5, and GCHQ were wary of entertaining Nunes out of fear that he was 'trying to stir up a controversy.'" Nunes and other allies of President Trump incorrectly blame the Steele dossier for starting the investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia's government.

If you're familiar with Nunes' other "Deep State" misadventures, it might be tempting to laugh at his evidently fruitless London sortie, which follows an unsuccessful fact-finding trip two of his aides reportedly took to London last December. And his Democratic opponent, Andrew Janz, did just that, saying while Nunes didn't have time for his constituents in August, "he did have time to sneak around London and be denied meetings by British Intelligence."

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But the attempts by Nunes and his House GOP allies to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation and Steele dossier, including outing a longtime FBI informant, have helped prompt key U.S. intelligence assets in the Kremlin and elsewhere to go cold, The New York Times reported. "Officials said that some allies have cited the exposure of the informant and other intelligence leaks in curbing some of the intelligence they share. And former spies believe that, long-term, the exposure will hurt overseas collection."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.