Bruce Ohr is going to become more and more important in this investigation. I think people should pay close attention to it. – Devin Nunes
Devin Nunes went on Hannity. It was a short segment. It was also explosive.
Nunes specifically highlights several important points:
- The ongoing push by House Republicans to get President Trump to declassify the redacted pages of the Carter Page FISA Warrant.
- Bruce Ohr’s role and the 302’s from his FBI interviews. Nunes: “Bruce Ohr is going to become a more and more important figure in this.”
- Exculpatory evidence Nunes has seen – presumably on Carter Page – that should have been presented to the FISA Court and was not.
- No Official Intelligence used & Alexander Downer.
- The media’s role in 2016. Nunes: “The media in 2016 had all this information too. So they know that this information was being generated by the Clinton campaign.”
Some commentary and elaboration on Nunes’ primary points.
Point 1: Declassification
Nunes has been pushing hard for President Trump to declassify the FISA Documents. This is a crucial and needed step. I’ve discussed this several times, most recently here. I suspect this is likely a coordinated effort between the House Intelligence Committee and the White House. I expect that President Trump will declassify the FISA Documents at some point in the reasonable future. There are rumors of it happening this week.
Point 2: Bruce Ohr’s Role
This is the most important point from the interview. Bruce Ohr’s role will likely prove crucial – as will information from his FBI interviews.
On March 18, 2018, we reported on a letter Grassley sent to the Inspector General:
The letter to IG Horowitz was attached to a request for a second Special Counsel that Grassley sent to AG Sessions. Also included was a less-declassified version of the Grassley Memo that many overlooked. Here are the documents from Grassley:
- Grassley’s Special Counsel Request Letter – sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 15, 2018.
- Attachment 1 – Grassley’s request for a “comprehensive review of potential improper political influence, misconduct, or mismanagement in the conduct of the counterintelligence and criminal investigation” into Russia and Trump. – sent to Inspector General Horowitz on February 28, 2018.
- Attachment 2 – A 3rd – and less redacted – version of the Senate Grassley Memo.
Grassley identified six sets of documents being sent to IG Horowitz as attachments:
- An October 2016 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application relying significantly on Mr. Steele’s allegations and credibility to seek surveillance of Carter Page;
- Three renewal FISA applications – dated January, April, and June of 2017 – similarly relying on Mr. Steele’s allegations and credibility to seek approval to surveil Mr. Page;
- A Human Source Validation Report relating to Mr. Steele;
- Numerous FD-302s demonstrating that Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr continued to pass along allegations from Mr. Steele to the FBI after the FBI suspended its formal relationship with Mr. Steele for unauthorized contact with the media, and demonstrating that Mr. Ohr otherwise funneled allegations from Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele to the FBI;
- Spreadsheets summarizing the details of interactions between Mr. Steele and the FBI, including the dates of contacts, the subject-matter of those contacts, and information relating to whether and when any payments may have been made;
- Form 1023s and other documents memorializing contacts between the FBI and Mr. Steele.
Form 302s are used to report or summarize FBI interviews. Form 1023s are used to document meetings between FBI officials and FBI confidential human sources.
Grassley sent IG Horowitz a classified memorandum that was not included in the public documents:
Additional relevant documents to which the Committee was provided access to review cannot be identified in this unclassified letter. Thus, those documents are detailed more fully in the attached classified memorandum.
Grassley also posed a series of 31 questions for Inspector General Horowitz to pursue. For more on Grassley’s questions, see here.
Document set number 4 regarding Bruce Ohr proved particularly interesting. Some details were found in the footnotes.
Footnote 5 of Grassley’s letter showed that Ohr was extensively interviewed by the FBI – indicating significant ongoing contact with Steele. Here are Ohr’s form 302 dates along with actual interview dates from footnotes contained in Grassley’s letter:
- Ohr FD-302 12/19/16 (interview date 11/22/16)
- Ohr FD-302 12/19/16 (interview date 12/5/16)
- Ohr FD-302 12/19/16 (interview date 12/12/16)
- Ohr FD-302 12/27/16 (interview date 12/20/16)
- Ohr FD-302 1/27/17 (interview date 1/27/17)
- Ohr FD-302 1/31/17 ( interview date 1/23/17)
- Ohr FD-302 1/27/17 (interview date 1/25/17)
- Ohr FD-302 2/8/17 (interview date 2/6/ 17)
- Ohr FD-302 2/15/17 (interview date 2/14/17)
- Ohr FD-302 5/10/17 (interview date 5/8/17)
- Ohr FD-302 5/12/17 (interview date 5/ 12/17)
- Ohr FD-302 5/16/17 (interview date 5/15/17)
Note the difference between actual interview date and 302 date.
In only one instance were they done on the same day. In the first interview nearly one month passed before the meeting was documented. Two other 302s were belatedly filled out on this same day. It was previously known that Bruce Ohr had multiple contacts with Steele in 2016. Not known (until Grassley’s letter) was this contact continued into 2017 – potentially well into May.
Here’s a listing of events immediately before and after the initial December 19, 2016 documentation of Ohr’s interview (full timeline here):
- December 8 2016 – McCain gives Comey copy of Steele Dossier.
- December 9 2016 – Brennan provides CIA Assessment to Obama – Russia conducted hacking operations to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning presidency.
- December 9 2016 – Obama orders a full review of Russian-election hacking.
- December 13 2016 – Steele writes his final Dossier Memo. Asserts a Michael Cohen August meeting occurred in Prague. Cohen has never been to Prague
- December 15 2016 – James Clapper signs off on Executive Order 12333 changes impacting the NSA – Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
- December 22 2016 – General Michael Flynn speaks to unknown Russian officials regarding the Israel resolution.
- December 29 2016 – Second Report – GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity – is released.
- December 29 2016 – General Michael Flynn speaks to the Russian Ambassador.
- Early 2017 – Steele (& Fusion) may have gone to work for Daniel Jones and Penn Quarter Group post election.
- January 3 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 – Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
Interesting is the proximity to Obama’s Data-Sharing Order. Clapper signed off on 12-15-16. Lynch finalized on 1-3-17. This order appears to have been delayed. It had been expected mid-year 2016. The order proved unusual (more here):
Prior to formal signing of Section 2.3, greater latitude existed in regards to collection of information.
Once signed into effect, Section 2.3 granted broad latitude to inter-agency sharing of information.
Also of note is proximity to timing of Steele & Fusion beginning post-election work with Daniel Jones and Penn Quarter Group.
This importance of this needs to be emphasized.
The potential declassification of Ohr’s interviews might prove the final key to what was transpiring. The interviews run from late November 2016 to mid-May 2017. Steele and Fusion GPS were apparently working with the Penn Quarter Group during this time. After the 2016 election.
Point 3: Exculpatory Evidence on Carter Page
There’s always been a problem with calling Page an Agent of a Foreign Power.
The FISA Application references an FBI Interview with Page. Page was never interviewed by the FBI regarding his status as a spy.
During testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, the following exchange occurred between Trey Gowdy and Page (transcript):
GOWDY: I’m just wondering if you can recall whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation may have interviewed you in 2016?
PAGE: During that case related to Mr. Podobnyy, where – which was also illegally leaked, that I was indeed Male No. 1, someone leaked that to Politico and ABC News in April – I had a meeting in the U.S. District Court, Southern District in New York – or the U.S. Attorney’s Office there on the criminal side – and I spoke with them about that then.
Page is referring to a March 2016 meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding the Evgeny Buryakov case. The Buryakov case began in 2012.
Page also spoke with someone from the FBI regarding that case. He would not speak with the FBI again until March 2017.
Page was providing testimony against Podobnyy in the Buryakov case. Page assisted the FBI in their case against Buryakov.
I suspect the exculpatory evidence may be related to these events.
Point 4: No Five Eyes Intelligence/Alexander Downer
Nunes previously disclosed that no Official Five Eyes Intelligence was used in opening the FBI’s Counterintelligence Investigation.
He also said this:
Nunes: We are investigating the State Department. We think there are some major irregularities at the State Department and we’re trying to figure out how it is that this information – about Mr. Papadopoulos of all people – who was supposedly meeting with some folks in London, how that made it into the FBI’s hands.
The Australian Embassy supposedly passed information from Papadopoulos’ conversation with Alexander Downer to the FBI in late July. And Downer’s story does seem odd (See: Ties that Bind).
Downer appeared to have established the Papadopoulos meeting through intermediaries. Downer personally arranged one of the largest foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation – $25 million from the Australian government. Less known is that Downer was on the Advisory Board of Hakluyt (the private UK intelligence firm) from 2008-2014. He reportedly still maintains contact with Hakluyt officials. More will come out on this.
Point 5: Media had information in 2016
We know the media had various versions of the Steele Dossier in 2016. Fusion GPS and Steele were directly contacting members of the media. Julia Ioffe’s September 23, 2016 article makes this abundantly clear:
As I started looking into Page, I began getting calls from two separate “corporate investigators” digging into what they claim are all kinds of shady connections Page has to all kinds of shady Russians. One is working on behalf of various unnamed Democratic donors; the other won’t say who turned him on to Page’s scent. Both claimed to me that the FBI was investigating Page for allegedly meeting with Igor Sechin and Sergei Ivanov.
Seemingly everyone I talked to had also talked to the Washington Post, and then there were these corporate investigators who drew a dark and complex web of Page’s connections.
I also tried to run down the rumors being handed me by the corporate investigators: that Russia’s Alfa Bank paid for the trip as a favor to the Kremlin; that Page met with Sechin and Ivanov in Moscow; that he is now being investigated by the FBI for those meetings because Sechin and Ivanov were both sanctioned for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It now appears likely many in the media had the potentially unredacted Page FISA Warrant in their possession since late March 2017. This was disclosed in the James Wolfe Indictment – discussed here.
This helps explain the media’s reluctance to provide honest reporting on any of these events. It’s entirely possible major media outlets had unredacted copies of one or both of the first two FISA Applications in their possession – selectively mining them for stories and leaks.
The Nunes Interview:
Note: I was forced to clean up the transcript (original here). Hannity continually interrupts – generally at crucial points and with information that is often unimportant. Nunes was forced to talk very quickly towards the end as he was trying to get certain information out before he was cut off.
The video is below. A full transcript follows:
HANNITY: Here with more reaction, House intelligence committee chairman California Congressman Devin Nunes, who frankly deserves the Medal of Freedom for really showing sadly the biggest abuse of power and corruption scandal.
Let’s just get your general take on everything, where we are and what is important now.
NUNES: Thank you, Sean, and thanks for having me on again.
Really where we are at, a lot of people ask what’s left?
We still have information that we need from the Department of Justice. However, I will say as of tonight we are getting closer and closer to having the information that we need.
HANNITY: Tell us why.
NUNES: One of the big issues that – they have provided – they have allowed – all the issues that were in our subpoena they have now – either we’ve been able to review, our investigators have been able to review, or they have been delivered to the committee in one form or fashion or another.
The above segment was intriguing. It starts at 0:48 mark. Nunes was going to say something important and specifically stopped himself. Watch it. You’ll see what I mean.
NUNES: So let’s put that aside, there is still more that has to be done and we’re of course, months and months late. So where are we? We talked about this last week.
We have at least 20 pages of the FISA warrant that went after Carter Page. We have about 20 pages that the House Republicans have asked – several months ago – for the President and his office to declassify. We need that declassified.
Senator Grassley secondly asked for the Bruce Ohr 302s. Bruce Ohr is going to become more and more important in this investigation. I think people should pay close attention to it.
HANNITY: Explain the 302, which is an official report. Where they altered?
NUNES: So the FBI interviewed Bruce Ohr at least a dozen times and put together reports.
So once they fired Steele – which at that point they should’ve not been meeting with him anymore – but what they had is Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS.
She was going to meet and get the information for Christopher Steele – as they were trying to verify this unverified dossier – the Clinton dirt that was used to get the FISA warrant.
So that’s number two.
Number three, there is exculpatory evidence that we have seen of classified documents that need to be declassified. These were not…
HANNITY: Exculpatory in nature in what way? I don’t mean to press you. Exculpatory in what way?
NUNES: In that the Carter Page FISA – the judges should have been presented with this exculpatory evidence that the FBI and DOJ had. So those are the three areas that we have left in terms of what we need declassified. Second issue…
HANNITY: I’ve been hearing rumors on top of that of a tape and potentially intel servers involvement in all of this? Is there any truth to that?
NUNES: Well, that I think gets to the origins of the investigation, which we still are unclear on. We know that the Australian diplomat that was serving in London – we were told that it was Five Eye’s intelligence that was used to go after Papadopoulos.
What we discovered in our investigation is there was no Five Eye’s intelligence, and in fact, Downer’s story – the Australian diplomat – doesn’t even make any sense. So we’re still trying to follow up on that. But in the big picture here, we need these documents declassified. That has to get done.
HANNITY: I’m running out of time and I want to get this in. This is very important. I just played the tape, the April 2017 tape of your colleague, shiftless Schiff – sorry, Adam Schiff. I won’t add my commentary to your comments. And it sounds like he’s colluding with Russians for dirt on Donald Trump.
And wasn’t the phony dossier that Hillary and the DNC paid for, wasn’t that full of Russian lies, and it was used to misinform the American people to get a FISA warrant – as your memo pointed out, and the Grassley-Graham memo pointed out, the bulk of information for the FISA?
NUNES: Well look, if it would have been up to the Democrats, they were in on this from the beginning. So was the media, Sean. The media in 2016 had all this information too. So they know that this information was being generated by the Clinton campaign.
You had DOJ, FBI – all those cast of characters that were meeting regularly with Christopher Steele.
You had Bruce Ohr, the number four at the Department of Justice – who I think is going to become a more and more important figure in this – and a lot of the investigators and reporters should be looking closer at Bruce Ohr.
HANNITY: I appreciate your time. Soon maybe this week. That’s the rumors I’m hearing. Good to see you, sir.
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