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Source: Michael Cohen was provided inside information about House Intel investigation

Posted at 4:37 PM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 19:37:23-05

An attorney for President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen was provided secret information about House Intelligence Committee testimony from another committee witness, a sign of the growing discord engulfing the Russia investigation, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

In December, an attorney for David Kramer -- an associate to Sen. John McCain who had met with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele -- sent a letter to the House Intelligence Committee accusing the committee's Republicans of leaking information about Kramer's December testimony to the attorney of another witness.

The attorney, Larry Robbins, was referencing a conversation with Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan in which Ryan brought up Kramer's testimony, according to the source. After the conversation, Robbins sent the committee a letter demanding to know why a committee official had shared secret testimony with another lawyer, but instead his client was subpoenaed by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes to return before the committee on short notice.

Leaking testimony to another witness is a violation of committee rules. And the fact that Cohen is alleged to have been the recipient of leaked information raises new questions about whether a key player in the President's orbit received private information about an investigation examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 elections.

CNN first reported last month on the accusation that Kramer's testimony had been leaked to another lawyer. The Daily Beast first reported that Cohen's attorney was the recipient of the alleged leak.

Kramer was of interest to the committee because of his role connected to the dossier written by Steele, which Nunes and other Republicans have sought to discredit. Kramer, who worked for McCain's think tank at Arizona State University in 2014, met with Steele in 2016. He and McCain then met with a former British ambassador to Russia who worked with Steele, according to UK court filings, and ultimately Kramer worked with Fusion GPS to obtain hard copies of the dossier.

Cohen and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment. Robbins also did not respond to a request for comment.

Emily Hytha, a spokeswoman for Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican running the committee's Russia investigation, told the Daily Beast that witness testimony was not shared improperly.

"Any accusation that a witness's testimony was shared with another witness or their lawyer is unequivocally false," she said. Hytha did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

Cohen was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee last year. His name has resurfaced in recent weeks over a $130,000 payment made in the weeks before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

There have been complaints about leaks from the committee coming from both sides of the aisle. Last week, there were suspicions in the Senate Intelligence Committee that the House Intelligence Committee Republicans had leaked Sen. Mark Warner's text messages with a lobbyist, although Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr denied his committee had reached that conclusion.

And House Intelligence Committee Republicans accused Democrats of asking White House communications director Hope Hicks leading questions in order to leak that she had told white lies for Trump.