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House Republicans launch ‘Phase 2’ of Trump dossier probe

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House Intelligence Committee Republicans have launched “Phase 2” of their probe into the origins of the unverified anti-Trump dossier, firing off an inquiry to a host of current and former officials — including former FBI Director James Comey.

In a letter obtained by Fox News, committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., posed a string of dossier-related questions to current and former intelligence, law enforcement and State Department officials. He specifically wants to know when they learned the document was funded by Democratic sources, and how it was used to obtain one or more surveillance warrants at the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

In the Feb. 20-dated letter, Nunes even threatened to issue subpoenas.

“If you do not provide timely answers on a voluntary basis, the Committee will initiate compulsory process,” he wrote. 

Nunes, with cooperation from the White House, earlier this month released a controversial memo alleging the anti-Trump dossier – compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign – was crucial in the application for a surveillance warrant against Trump associate Carter Page.

FILe - In this June 8, 2017 file photo, former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Comey’s publisher is moving up the release date of his memoir “A Higher Loyalty,” to April 17. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

James Comey and other ex-officials are facing new questions from Republican Rep. Devin Nunes about the Trump dossier.

 (AP)

Democrats have called that memo misleading and want to release a memo of their own – though have been delayed by national security objections from the White House. Amid the firestorm, Nunes told Fox News earlier this month that his committee would pursue “Phase 2” of the investigation.

He suggested this would include scrutinizing the State Department and other agencies.

The new letter includes a dozen questions about the dossier, including how the officials in question learned of the document’s Democratic funding and whether they held meetings about the unverified allegations against Trump or took any other official action. 

Fox News understands the questionnaire went out to about two dozen current and former officials.

Among them were Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who testified in May 2017 that the Trump dossier was virtually unknown to him.

“I have no awareness,” Brennan said, when asked by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy if the FBI ever relied on the dossier as part of any court applications.

The newly released GOP memo says the FBI and Justice Department relied heavily on the Trump  dossier and downplayed its Democratic roots.

A source close to the investigation is not ruling out the possibility that more officials could be questioned as the next phase of the probe continues. 

Perhaps anticipating this phase of the investigation, an Obama State Department official earlier this month acknowledged he had regular contact with the dossier’s author.

In a Washington Post column, Jonathan Winer detailed an extensive exchange of documents with Steele, a friend of his since 2009. He said he shared “more than 100 of Steele’s reports with the Russia experts at the State Department” over a period of two years. These weren’t related to American politics – but he would later share information about the Trump dossier with the top levels of the Obama State Department.

Further, Winer said he shared separate Trump-related material passed on by a Clinton contact with Steele. And he acknowledged that material, originally from Clinton-tied activist/journalist Cody Shearer, made its way to the FBI.

In publishing his Op-Ed, Winer wrote that he suspects Nunes wants to know about his own relationship with Steele while at the Obama State Department.

Fox News’ Judson Berger contributed to this report.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

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U.S. has administered over 309 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, CDC says

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The United States had administered 309,322,545 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and distributed 374,398,105 doses in the country as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures were up from the 308,112,728 doses of vaccine that the CDC said had been administered as of Saturday, out of 374,397,205 doses delivered.

The agency said 173,840,483 people in the United States had received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 143,921,222 people were fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The CDC tally includes the two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech/ as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

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Nigel Farage SHOULD be honoured for 'services to EU exit' – 'He's the man of the Century!'

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DOZENS of influential figures have been rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their services to Brexit – but one former MEP has pointed out that Nigel Farage has been excluded.

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Queen Elizabeth II hosts Bidens at Windsor Castle

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LONDON — They met Friday at the Group of Seven summit, but President Joe Biden and the first lady had an altogether more private meeting with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, at her home in Windsor Castle.

The monarch, 95, received the Bidens for tea at her historic residence, about 30 miles west of London. On arrival they were greeted with an official Guard of Honor military parade, which gave a royal salute and played the American national anthem.

Biden stood next to the queen in the sunshine, wearing his aviator sunglasses, before inspecting the troops in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, last seen on television during the somber funeral ceremony of her husband, Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April.

The queen has stoically continued with her official duties since then and met Biden alongside other world leaders and their spouses on Friday at the G-7 summit, by the seaside in Cornwall, southwest England.

There, she amused leaders when she quipped during a photo-call: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”

Biden first met the queen in 1982 as a Democratic senator for Delaware but this time he joined her as president. He is the 13th serving president the monarch has met. She has met every serving American president since Dwight Eisenhower — except Lyndon Johnson who did not travel to Britain while in office.

As a 25-year-old princess in 1951, she also stayed with President Harry S. Truman and his family in Washington, D.C.

The queen has hosted four other American presidents at Windsor Castle in recent years, including former-President Donald Trump in 2018, who shocked press and palace pundits when he breached royal protocol by walking ahead of the queen, at times blocking her view and giving her his back.

After a state visit in 2019, Trump told Fox News: “There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time.”

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On arrival to England last week, first lady Jill Biden told reporters that meeting the queen was “an exciting part of the visit for us.”

She also undertook a separate engagement with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, when the two visited a school on Friday.

Kate told NBC News during the visit that she was looking forward to meeting her new niece, Lilibet Diana, born in California earlier this month.

Britain’s royal family have had a turbulent year in the public eye following a bombshell interview given by the queen’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The couple stunned viewers with allegations of royal racism — denied by the palace — while Meghan also spoke publicly about how royal life and media pressure had taken its toll on her mental health.

After taking private afternoon tea with the queen on Sunday, Biden will then travel to nearby Brussels for a NATO summit, before heading to Switzerland on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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