Newly obtained emails, texts and handwritten notes of Bruce Ohr confirm the Justice Department official was deeply connected to the unverified anti-Trump dossier and its author, Christopher Steele, who told Ohr of his fear that they would be “exposed” because of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
The dossier, produced by Fusion GPS and funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was used by Justice Department and FBI officials to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
Fox News, which reviewed the Ohr documents, said they shed more light on Steele’s activities before the presidential election.
Steele was shopping the dossier to media at the same time he asked Ohr for help with a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, after rumors the U.S. might impose sanctions, Fox News said.
Congressional investigators have pointed out that Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS at the time the dossier was compiled.
The FBI dropped Steele as a source in November 2016 because of his unauthorized contacts with media, but the Obama administration maintained contact with Steele by using Bruce Ohr as a back channel.
Fox News noted that now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok confirmed during recent congressional testimony that the FBI received “documents and material” from Ohr.
President Trump weighed in on the latest development Friday in a tweet.
“‘Very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed,’ said Bruce Ohr. DOJ’s Emails & Notes show Bruce Ohr’s connection to (phony & discredited) Trump Dossier. A creep thinking he would get caught in a dishonest act. Rigged Witch Hunt!”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that President Trump, after revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan — who delivered material from the dossier to then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — that he was reviewing the clearances of other Obama-era officials, including Ohr.
Ohr’s emails conflict with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s claim to Congress that he had no contact with Ohr until after the presidential election.
In his notes, Ohr indicates he met with Simpson in December 2016 in Washington and was given “a memory stick.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, who has followed the Russia-2016 campaign story closely, noted Friday the New York Times infers that anyone expressing an interest in Ohr is hostage to “conspiracy theory.”
“And media wonders why it is so disliked and untrusted,” she wrote.
NYT doubles down, now claims anyone expressing any interest in Bruce Ohr is hostage to “conspiracy theory.” And media wonders why it is so disliked and untrusted. Huh.
— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) August 17, 2018
‘At the center of it all was Fusion GPS’
The emails, texts and memos recently turned over to Congress by the Department of Justice, combined with a pattern of efforts by Hillary Clinton operatives employed by Kremlin-linked figures to connect the Trump campaign to Russia, indicate the infamous Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Trump campaign staff may have been a set up, Lee Smith of RealClearInvestigations reported this week.
Smith said the DOJ’s collaboration with Clinton-paid researchers and efforts to connect the Trump campaign to Russia “came together in midtown Manhattan on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower.”
“At the center of it all was Fusion GPS, which had two clients whose interests were served by the Trump Tower meeting: the Russians and the Clinton campaign.”
Smith pointed out that in sworn Senate testimony last year, Simpson claimed the Trump Tower meeting corroborated one of the key claims made in the reports filed by Steele: “Trump and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.”
Simpson, however, also testified he had no knowledge of the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and others until it was reported a year later.
Smith said there is reason to doubt that account, because the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was his client. Veselnitskaya has publicly stated that in the discussion at Trump Tower she used talking points developed by Simpson for the Russian government.
Simpson also has testified that he had dinner with Veselnitskaya the night before the Trump Tower meeting and the night after, Smith noted.
The dossier, however, claims Donald Trump himself, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Carter Page were in clandestine contact with the Russian government.
If that were the case, former FBI agent Mark Wauck told RealClearInvestigations, it’s not clear why the Russian government needed British music publicist Rob Goldstone to entice Donald Trump Jr. to the meeting.
“And why would Moscow need to send a Russian lawyer who didn’t speak English to Trump Tower? That tends to confirm that the meeting was intended as a setup.”