Bruce Ohr is going to become more and more important in this investigation. I think people should pay close attention to it. – Devin Nunes
Ohr was first introduced to a broader audience in December 2017 during a series of unusual and startling events.
On December 1, 2017, Judge Contreras presided over General Flynn’s guilty plea. Here’s what happened next:
- December 2 2017 – The Washington Post and New York Times revealed the existence of incriminating messages from Peter Strzok revealing anti-Trump biases. These articles referenced the IG Investigation.
- December 2 2017 – The Inspector General issued a statement in response to inquiries regarding the ongoing IG Investigation.
- December 4 2017 – CNN revealed that FBI Agent Peter Strzok changed the wording of Comey’s description of Clinton’s handling of classified information from “Grossly Negligent” to “Extremely Careless”.
- December 6 2017 – DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney Bruce Ohr was demoted after House Intelligence Committee investigators found Ohr had repeated contacts with Christopher Steele while Steele was constructing the dossier. Ohr also met with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, after the election. It would later be discovered Ohr met with Simpson prior to the election as well.
- December 7 2017 – Fox News revealed that Ohr was in contact with Christopher Steele at the same time the FISA application was submitted and granted.
- December 7 2017 – Morning. Rep. Jim Jordan grilled FBI director Wray about the FBI’s use of the Steele Dossier to secure the Carter Page FISA warrant. Jordan demanded to see the FISA Application documents.
- December 7 2017 – Afternoon. Judge Contreras was suddenly recused from the Flynn Case. Contreras is a FISA Judge. Contreras also knows Strzok.
- December 11 2017 – It was revealed that Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election. Specifically, Nellie Ohr was “paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.”
Bruce Ohr failed to disclosed the employment his wife, Nellie, by Fusion GPS. This appears to have been intentional.
As for Ohr’s demotion, the Department of Justice only took action after they learned of a Fox News investigation into Ohr’s role:
Until Dec. 6, when Fox News began making inquiries about him, Bruce Ohr held two titles at DOJ…Ohr held the rank of associate deputy attorney general, a post that gave him an office four doors down from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The day before Fox News reported that Mr. Ohr held his secret meetings last year with the founder of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, and with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier, the Justice Department stripped Ohr of his deputy title and ousted him from his fourth floor office at the building that DOJ insiders call “Main Justice.”
The disclosure of Bruce Ohr’s role was significant. His boss was Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
I detailed some of the conversations and emails between Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele previously. Contact points continuously occur around important and critical events. And despite Simpson’s Congressional Testimony, Simpson and Ohr also met – prior to the election.
Steele’s relationship with the FBI was formally terminated in late October or early November 2016, after Steele disclosed his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn.
It’s at this point the role of Bruce Ohr shifted. Ohr became the conduit between Fusion GPS/Steele and the FBI. These contacts are highlighted in a February 28, 2018 letter from Chuck Grassley to Inspector General Horowitz:
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.
Form 302s are used to report or summarize FBI interviews.
Note the choice of wording by Grassley. Ohr “continued to pass along allegations from Mr. Steele to the FBI after the FBI suspended its formal relationship with Mr. Steele.”
This wasn’t just hearsay. Grassley had seen these 302s. From his letter:
Over the past year, the Department of Justice has made a number of documents relating to these issues available for review by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
These documents have raised several serious questions about the propriety of the FBI’s relationship with former British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele, including its use of allegations compiled by Mr. Steele for Fusion GPS and funded by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democrat National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
These documents also raise questions about the role of Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, in continuing to pass allegations from Steele and Fusion GPS to the FBI after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a source.
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)
Ohr’s first interview date was November 22. 2016. Christopher Steele was terminated as an FBI source in late October or early November 2016. Contact with Steele and Ohr continued to at least mid-May 2017 – six months after the election.
Note the difference between actual interview date and 302 date. Three interviews are memorialized on December 19, 2016. Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order was signed by James Clapper on December 15, 2016. The order was finalized by Loretta Lynch on January 3, 2017.
Prior to the formal signing of Section 2.3, greater latitude existed in regards to collection of information. More important to this case, once signed into effect, Section 2.3 granted broad latitude to inter-agency sharing of information.
Some have interpreted the Ohr interviews as an indication that Ohr had been “caught” and was being interviewed in relation to possible transgressions. This is incorrect. Ohr remained in his position at DOJ until the House Intelligence Committee uncovered his activities – probably in conjunction with the Inspector General. Ohr’s interviews with the FBI began while the Obama Administration was still in office. It is the final series of FBI interviews that likely mark the initial discovery – or threat of discovery – of Ohr’s role as Steele’s conduit.
Should you still have doubts, I encourage you to read Grassley’s letter in full.
We know that Steele and Fusion GPS continued their work following the 2016 election. Sometime in early 2017 – perhaps earlier – Steele and Fusion GPS were hired by Daniel Jones and Penn Quarter Group to “continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” It appears that most of Ohr’s FBI interviews relate to this period of Steele & Fusion’s involvement with the Penn Quarter Group.
This brings us to an August 15, 2018 letter sent from Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy to Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding the scheduled interview of Bruce Ohr. Here’s the really interesting part:
In anticipation of this interview, we request DOJ provide the Committee access to all FD-302’s written as a result of any interviews conducted by the FBI of Mr. Ohr. These should include, but not be limited to, any 302’s previously made available to other congressional committees.
The implication of this is significant. There appear to additional 302’s involving Bruce Ohr that have not yet been publicly disclosed. Goodlatte is fully aware of the 302’s I listed above. He’s almost certainly seen them. He appears to be aware of additional FBI Interviews and additional 302’s documenting those interviews. Additional formal documentation appears to exist.
If so, contact between Bruce Ohr, Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson was even more prevalent than previously thought.
Deputy AG Rosenstein has testified he was unaware of the activities of Bruce Ohr. But the existence of the 302’s demonstrate that Ohr’s involvement with Steel and Simpson wasn’t only known – it was documented. And Goodlatte’s letter indicates contact may have been more extensive than previously thought.
Consider the underlying implications. Bruce Ohr was not acting alone. The FBI repeatedly met with Ohr to gather information and these meetings were formally documented. By definition, other individuals in some official capacity knew exactly what Ohr was doing. The activity between Ohr and Steele was apparently sanctioned at certain points within the FBI and DOJ.
Take this one step further. Bruce Ohr was the conduit between Steele & Simpson and the FBI. Grassley has established this as fact. This interaction was being formally documented by the FBI in 302’s. These interviews are now official record. They were likely used in ongoing renewals of the Carter Page FISA Warrant.
Given these set of established facts, how likely is it that Bruce Ohr’s direct supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, was unaware of Ohr’s ongoing interactions with Steele and Fusion GPS.
Sally Yates signed the original FISA Warrant on Carter Page in October 2016 along with the first FISA Renewal in January 2017. Bruce Ohr reported directly to Yates.
Again, Ohr was not operating by himself without the knowledge of others. His actions were repeatedly and officially documented – possibly more frequently than previously known.
Deputy AG Sally Yates almost certainly had to know what Bruce Ohr was doing.
The Bruce Ohr 302’s may provide the final key to unlocking this entire mess. It’s possible they provide a missing link into the Obama Administration as well.
Sara Carter recently reported on yet another Bruce Ohr-Christopher Steele communication. Contained in a text from Steele:
“Hi! Just wondering if you had any news? Obviously, we’re a bit apprehensive given scheduled appearance at Congress on Monday. Hoping that important firewalls will hold. Many thanks.”
The Bruce Ohr 302’s may be the means to breach that firewall.
Sally Yates had to know.
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