The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier alleging ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has been in talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee about meeting with its top lawmakers.
According to an NBC News report, Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, indicated through an associate last month that he was willing to meet with Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes NC Republican primary key test of Trump's sway MORE (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democrats draw red lines in spending fight MORE (D-Va.).
But at a joint news conference on Wednesday, Burr and Warner said their panel had "hit a brick wall" in its efforts to investigate the controversial dossier because Steele had refused to speak with congressional investigators.
Sources cited by NBC said the situation was "more complicated" than Burr's comments suggested.
Steele is said to be reluctant to divulge who paid for the dossier's development. The former spy was hired by Fusion GPS, a private research firm, to work on the project.
The dossier had originally been commissioned by Republicans opposed to Trump during the GOP presidential primary. But after the real estate mogul secured the party's nomination, Democrats began paying for the work to continue.
The dossier became known to news organizations in Washington during the general election last year, but most did not report on it because it contains salacious material that has not been verified.
CNN reported Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the criminal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia's efforts to meddle in the election, has met with Steele as part of the probe.
In a statement to NBC News, Burr and Warner said they were still open to meeting with Steele as part of the Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling.
"The Committee has made multiple requests to meet with Mr. Steele over the last nine months, including outreach to his attorneys," they said. "We remain open to any credible offer to meet with Mr. Steele, whether in Washington or in London."