Last week it was revealed that a senior Department of Justice official had been demoted because after the 2016 election, he’d met with the author of the Trump dossier.
According to congressional sources, Simpson and Ohr met sometime around Thanksgiving last year, when President-elect Trump was in the process of selecting his cabinet, and discussed over coffee the anti-Trump dossier, the Russia investigation and what Simpson considered the distressing development of Trump’s victory.
Ohr was associate deputy attorney general at the time which means his boss was Sally Yates. You don’t have to have a suspicious mind to wonder if there was some kind of linkage between this commiseration session and the Russia probe that was beginning to metastasize.
Now there is an interesting twist to the story via Fox News’ James Rosen…this would be the same James Rosen the Obama administration put under surveillance and had labeled as an unindicted co-conspirator in a leak investigation.
A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump “dossier” had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.
Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
We don’t know what Nellie Ohr did for Fusion GPS but we do know a couple of things. Fusion GPS was a very small and secretive company that, according to the Washington Post profile today, never had more than ten employees. Her background is intriguing:
A review of open source materials shows Mrs. Ohr was described as a Russia expert at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank, when she worked there, briefly, a decade ago. The Center’s website said her project focused on the experiences of Russian farmers during Stalin’s collectivization program and following the invasion of Russia by Nazi forces in 1941. She has also reviewed a number of books about twentieth century Russia, including Reconstructing the State: Personal Networks and Elite Identity in Soviet Russia (2000), by Gerald Easter, a political scientist at Boston College, and Bertrand M. Patenaude’s The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (2002).
How many Russia experts did they really need on staff during the campaign?
At this point we have no idea what she did for them but we do have two data points: a) she worked for them and b) her husband, Bruce Ohr, was recently disciplined for meeting with a Fusion GPS contractor, Christopher Steele, the author of the Trump dossier. The appearance of impropriety alone is stunning. It is impossible to believe Sally Yates didn’t know who was the employer of Mrs. Ohr. We don’t know how Ohr was revealed as being in contact with Steele, but we have to assume it was a paper trail of some kind. That implies reporting by Ohr to someone on his meeting. All in all, even assuming nothing untoward happened at any point, it paints a picture of a Department of Justice that was devoid of any sense of propriety and scorned the idea of appearances of conflicts of interest.