Rachel Maddow broke the news last night that, despite Sen. Richard Burr's statement to the contrary, former intelligence agent Christopher Steele offered to meet with Burr and Sen. Mark Warner.
"That claim falls short on two fronts. Christopher Steele is reportedly talking to the Muller investigators," Maddow said.
"If there are questions to ask Christopher Steele about that dossier, he's talking to American investigators about it, he's talking to the special counsel's office. The other way that claim fell short is the what we report tonight, that Christopher Steele relates there is no brick wall that Senate investigator have run up against trying to investigate the dossier or speak with Christopher Steele. The associate of Steele tells us in fact, very recently in late September, Christopher Steele in London relayed to Washington through this associate that Mr. Steele in fact would be happy to meet with Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Mark Warner. Apparently senators Burr and Warner had requested as they said in the briefing yesterday, requested to meet with Christopher Steele, the answer from Christopher Steele through this associate was 'Yes, yes, I will meet with you.'
"The next step as they understood it was a date. The associate who relayed this offer to me, Christopher Steele was surprised to hear Sen. Burr say, 'Full avenues of communication had been cut off with Christopher Steele' and a brick wall had been hit and there was no way to get him to answer these questions.
"Sso we reached out to the Senate Intelligence Committee, to the chairman and vice president in response to the reporting from us. They gave us an interesting statement that doesn't refute what our source told us but let me read you what they said, quote, "The committee made multiple requests to meet with Mr. Steele over the last nine months, including outreach to his attorneys. We are open to any credible offer to meet with Mr. Steele whether in Washington or London."
There are a number of possible explanations. One is that Steele would only meet with Mueller because Mueller was worried about leaks from the GOP. But it's just as possible that Sen. Burr and Sen. Warner were engaging in deliberate misdirection to protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation -- and Mueller's job, since it is widely assumed Trump will try to fire him.