After numerous delays, Judicial Watch (JW) received partially redacted copies of DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s FBI 302 reports (interview summaries) on Thursday evening. Ohr, who was serving as the associate deputy attorney general at the time, had acted as a backchannel between dossier author Christopher Steele and the FBI. When his involvement (his conflict of interest and role as conduit for Fusion GPS material) became known by top DOJ officials, Ohr was demoted in December 2017.
JW received 34 pages of documents, consisting of twelve 302s, which can be viewed on Scribd here. The first interview was conducted on November 22, 2016 and the final one occurred on May 15, 2017, days before Robert Mueller was appointed to the special counsel.
The DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, through the Perkins Coie law firm, commissioned Glen Simpson’s opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, to investigate candidate Donald Trump. Simpson hired former British spy Christopher Steele for the job. Steele compiled an incriminating, unverified and unverifiable dossier which alleged ties between Trump and the Russian government.
The FBI used the bogus dossier as the basis for its application to the FISA Court to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. The FBI had been warned by Ohr in September 2016 that the dossier was both unverified and that Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President.”
The FBI had also received an email from State Department official Kathleen Kavalec, which included documentation, reiterating Ohr’s warnings.
Still the FBI presented the dossier to the FISA Court as “verified” on October 30, 2016. They received the warrant and renewed it three more times.
In the meantime, James Comey, who signed off on the first application, presented a summary of the dossier to President-elect Trump in early January 2017 as “salacious” and “unverified,” and continued to present it to the FISA Court as “verified.”
The 302s provided new information and corroborated previously known information.
For example, the State Department played a larger role than had been thought. In the first interview Ohr told agents that “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign, Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI…Ohr knew that [Fusion GPS’s] Glen Simpson and others [were] talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.”
Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked as a contractor for Fusion through September 2016. Nellie was hired to conduct research on members of Trump’s family. Bruce provided his wife’s research to the FBI.
In late September 2016, Ohr describes a person (likely Christopher Steele) as “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President.”
Highlights (via Judicial Watch)
“Ohr knew that [Fusion GPS’s] Glen Simpson and others talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.”
Glenn Simpson directed a person whose is redacted to speak to the press. It appears as if the press that person went to was the far left leaning Mother Jones.
On December 5, 2016, Ohr promised to “voluntarily” give his wife Nellie Ohr’s Fusion GPS research to the FBI. He also provided the FBI with a report on Paul Manafort titled, “Manafort Chronology.”
On December 12, 2016 Simpson gave Ohr a thumb drive with Fusion GPS research on it. Ohr claims to not know what is on that drive. During the meeting Simpson, based evidently on a meeting with Glenn Simpson, identified Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer as having “many Russian clients.” Simpson also told Ohr that Cohen, “may have” attended a meeting in Prague.
Ohr describes Simpson directing someone to talk to the Mother Jones reporter “as it was Simpson’s Hail Mary attempt.”
On December 20, 2016, Ohr provided the FBI with his wife’s Nellie Ohr’s Fusion GPS research, “which contained the totality” of her work “but the Fusion GPS header was stripped.”
On January 23, 2017, Ohr tells the FBI that Steele told him that Steele “spoke with a staff member of Senator John McCain’s office sometime prior to October 2016.”
The FBI interviews show that Ohr texted and talked to Christopher Steele using the WhatsApp application.
On February 2, 2014, the FBI tells Ohr to see if Steele would be “comfortable getting the name of an FBI agent” as a contact. Ohr tells the agents that State Department official Katheen Kavalec spoke with “Steele several times prior to the U.S. Presidential election and believed Steele’s reporting to have [been] generated mainly from [REDACTED].
On Feb. 14, 2017, Ohr tells the FBI that Steele communicated with him via Facetime that Steele was “beginning to worry about his business.” Steele discussed brokering new business with the FBI and told Ohr, ‘You may see me re-emerge in a couple of weeks.”
On May 3, 2017, Steele called Ohr to tell him that he “had been worried about Director Comey’s upcoming testimony to Congress, especially his response to questions that would be raised by (Senator) Grassley.”
Although what he was specifically worried about is redacted, Steele was “happy with Director Comey’s response.”
Steele also stated that he was limited in “his ability to testify before Congress” because of disclosure laws in the UK being more narrow than the United States.
On May 12, 2017, Steele called Ohr to discuss a letter the Senate Intelligence Committee sent him. According to Ohr, “The letter requested answers to the following questions:
Had Steele provided information to the US Government?
What was the scope of Steele’s investigation?
Did Steele have any additional information to provide?”
In May, 2017, Ohr was asked by the FBI to ask “Steele if he would be willing to have a conversation with FBI agents in the UK.” Steele responded that he would, but he would need to check with a redacted name.
“This new Bruce Ohr FBI 302s show an unprecedented and irregular effort by the FBI, DOJ, and State Department to dig up dirt on President Trump using the conflicted Bruce Ohr, his wife, and the Clinton/DNC spies at Fusion GPS,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The FISA courts weren’t informed of this corrupted process when they were asked to approve and reapprove extraordinary spy warrants targeting President Trump.”
I will be digging into these documents more thoroughly and will post on this story later today.