The montage of documents, emails, texts and phone records obtained by congressional oversight committees from twice-demoted Department of Justice Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr reveal his close relationship with foreign spy, Christopher Steele. The information also reveals that the FBI used that same spy (even after they fired him) to continue to collect unverified information in an effort to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
According to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ohr may hold the key to unraveling a good portion of “who was involved and what actually took place” in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.
I think he’s a key guy that we just have to depose for questioning
Several congressional sources told SaraACarter.com that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is preparing to depose Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr and Glenn Simpson, the founder of the embattled research firm Fusion GPS. The judiciary committee is also planning to depose the former General Counsel for the FBI Jim Baker, who was demoted from his position for allegedly leaking sensitive information to the media. Lawmakers also plan to question Sally Moyer, Jonathan Moffa, and George Toscas. All these interviews will be conducted behind closed doors, the congressional officials noted.
Jordan, who has been at the forefront of the congressional investigations, said the interviews are an essential step in understanding the role of the Justice Department in the FBI’s handling of the case against members of the Trump campaign. The interviews will also shed light on Ohr’s seemingly close relationship with Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS to compile the unverified dossier on Trump in 2016. Steele was dismissed from his role as an informant for the FBI in November 2016 for violating his agreement to not share information with the media.
“The latest emails between Ohr, Steele, and Simpson have a few key takeaways: First, how friendly they all are, including Ohr’s wife, who was working for Simpson,” said Jordan, who added that based on the emails, Skype calls and texts the threesome was in communication dozens of times. “I think he’s a key guy that we just have to depose for questioning.”
On Saturday, Jordan and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows revealed on Twitter that the depositions will take place on Aug.28.
Bruce Ohr, former Associate Deputy AG, will be in front of Congress on August 28th. His wife worked for Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm for Clinton.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 11, 2018
DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+ contacts with dossier author, Chris Steele, as far back as January 2016.
He owes the American public the full truth.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) August 10, 2018
Jordan said that many of the concerns regarding Ohr came to light during the July hearing with former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who was the bureau’s lead investigator in the Trump-Russia saga. Strzok was also part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump until the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered troves of anti-Trump text messages to his lover, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page. Page resigned from the bureau in May and testified behind closed doors to Congress last month. She worked for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Justice Department for lying about his contacts with the media.
“It was during questioning that Strzok revealed the FBI was getting parts of the dossier from Bruce Ohr and that revelation was problematic to say the least since Steele was fired by the FBI for lying about his contacts with the media,” Jordan added. But Strzok was hesitant during this questioning and said that the FBI had informed him “not to give specifics” about his conversations with Ohr.
Emails and handwritten notes obtained by SaraACarter.com and several other news outlets reveal that Ohr was in close contact with Simpson and Steele throughout the 2016 investigation. The notes by Ohr and his email exchanges with Steele suggest that Ohr was used as a conduit by the FBI to continue gathering information compiled by Steele.
These revelations raise many serious questions, among them: Who at the FBI authorized the continued use of Steele? And who at the DOJ allowed Ohr to be used as a source in an FBI investigation spun from a document produced by a foreign spy at the behest of Fusion GPS, who employed Ohr’s wife?
Making the problem even more potentially challenging was the revelation that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee were paying for the dossier through their law firm, Perkins Coie.
Emails between Steele and Ohr date prior to the FBI’s official opening of their investigation, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” at the end of July, 2016 into alleged Trump-Russia collusion.
In one email exchange dated Jan . 12, 2016, Steele discussed with Ohr the Russian aluminum magnate, Oleg Deripaska. Byron York with the Washington Examiner first reported this exchange last week. It’s an important exchange, say congressional officials who are curious about the apparent relationship between Steele and Deripaska.
Steele refers to Deripaska in the email as “OD” and “OVD.” Deripaska needed a visa to enter the U.S. to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. He was banned by U.S. officials years before because federal law enforcement officials had suspected him of being criminally connected in Russia.
“I heard from Adam WALDMAN [a Deripaska lawyer/lobbyist] yesterday that OD is applying for another official US visa ice [sic] APEC business at the end of February,” said Steele. Deripaska is being “encouraged by the Agency guys who told Adam that the USG [United States Government] stance on [Deripaska] is softening.”
“A positive development it seems,” said Steele, who–interestingly enough–seemed to be happy that Deripaska was apparently getting the visa.
But Deripaska has also assisted the FBI and CIA after Robert Levinson was captured in Iran in 2007. Levinson, who was working with the CIA at the time of his capture, was a priority for the bureau and the CIA. Deripaska was brought into the investigation because of his connections in Iran and Russia, which the bureau believed would help them successfully secure the release of Levinson. But by 2011, the operations with Deripaska came to a close, and Levinson remains missing, according to reports.
Jordan says this development regarding Deripaska and Steele is a line of questioning the committee wants to pursue.
“Was Steele at any point working for Deripaska?” asked Jordan. “This would certainly be something we would like to know.”
Near the end of July, 2016 Steele and Ohr were speaking frequently by email and Skype. In total, lawmakers believe the pair had more than 60 communications.
Also during July, Steele and Ohr planned a meeting in D.C. with Ohr’s wife, Nellie. After they had their meeting in Washington D.C., Steele suggested to Ohr that he meet with Simpson for help on the “issue.”
“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce. Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issue/s. Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help,” stated Steele’s July 30, 2016 email.
A handwritten note also suggests that in Nov. 2016, Ohr may have met with Strzok, Page and FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (who is now awaiting sentencing for one count of lying to the FBI). Pientka has been subpoenaed by Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) judiciary committee but according to sources, FBI Director Christopher Wray has declined the request, citing an ongoing investigation.