The Senate Intelligence Committee has said that Republicans on its House counterpart leaked private texts between Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and a U.S. lawyer with ties to Russia, The New York Times disclosed Thursday.
The report cited "two congressional officials briefed on the matter."
Warner and Senate panel chairman, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, railed about the leak in a meeting they demanded with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
They also questioned the direction of the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes.
According to the senators, "the leak was a serious breach of protocol and a partisan attack by one intelligence committee against the other," the Times reported.
AshLee Strong, a Ryan spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Fox News published the texts on Feb. 8, days after they were leaked and shortly following the release by House Intelligence Republicans of their memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department in its Russian meddling probe.
The texts "were sent via a secure messaging application," the Times reported, and suggested that Warner was "acting surreptitiously" to communicate with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who completed an unsubstantiated dossier containing negative information on President Donald Trump.
In the texts, Warner communicated with Adam Waldman, a Washington lawyer who knows Steele and who "presented himself as a willing partner" facilitating a meeting, according to the Times.
But Fox disclosed that Waldman's firm has lobbied for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate who once had close ties to Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman who has been indicted in the Moscow investigation.
Waldman originally submitted the texts to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Times reported.
But in January, a Nunes staffer requested copies for the House panel, "a person familiar with the request who was not authorized to talk about it publicly" told the newspaper.
Days later, however, the texts were published by Fox, disclosing only that it had obtained them "from a Republican source," the Times reported.
Jack Langer, a Nunes spokesman, did not dispute that the House panel provided the texts but slammed the Times for its report.
"The New York Times, a prominent purveyor of leaks, is highlighting anonymous sources leaking information that accuses Republicans of leaking information," Langer said in a statement.
"I'm not sure if this coverage could possibly get more absurd."
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