On Friday, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, released the full, unredacted 238-page transcript of Bruce Ohr’s closed-door testimony before a task force from the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that took place during the summer. As you recall, Ohr was fourth in command at the Justice Department, working under Rod Rosenstein, and Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS on the Hillary/DNC-funded Trump/Russia “dossier.” Collins said his patience with the Justice Department had “grown thin” –- no kidding. He says he’ll be releasing more transcripts; perhaps he means Nellie Ohr’s testimony, as they also interviewed her.
Questions instantly arise that so far I haven’t seen addressed anywhere. For one thing, what was the process that Collins had to follow before he could release Ohr’s entire testimony? The way Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch put it, Congress had to “take steps on its own” to release this transcript because the DOJ was “withholding approval for its release.” Just curious –- as Republicans do not run the committees now, what steps were those?
There are a few investigative reporters out there, notably John Solomon and Sara A. Carter, who have managed to see this testimony, or at least some of it, through their excellent sources, and tell us about it, but if a Republican on the committee can simply release it, good lord, why hasn’t this been done before now, and with a lot of other material? Patience “growing thin” –- I should say! Perhaps there’s a simple explanation that will make me slap my forehead when I hear it, but given the time all this is taking, the fact that Collins could just release it like that on the floor of Congress is kind of stunning. According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Collins decided that the DOJ’s proposed redactions had nothing to do with national security, so he just released it.
For many months, Fitton has had his work cut out for him trying to get documents, as the DOJ drags its feet on FOIA requests, and now, suddenly, a Republican simply releases Ohr’s testimony. It seems so ridiculously easy. Can Collins really do the same with other materials, and will he do it NOW? Or will the President need to take the additional step on other, more sensitive documents and declassify those?
Anyway, speaking of Tom Fitton, he appeared on Maria Bartiromo’s Sunday morning show on FOX News to talk about the implications of this testimony. It’s shocking, he said, how closely Christopher Steele was able to coordinate with the Justice Department, and how dishonest it was of the DOJ to be using that collaboration to dig up dirt on candidate Trump and, later, President Trump. It was especially disingenuous considering that it continued surreptitiously even after the FBI had fired Steele.
Fitton pointed out that Judicial Watch was the first to reveal documents showing that there had been approximately 60 communications between Steele and Bruce Ohr. He added that this conspiracy being run out of the DOJ involving Steele, Fusion GPS and Nellie Ohr “deserves a lot of attention.” What an understatement.
It was Judicial Watch that exposed the intriguing texts between Steele and Bruce Ohr saying “I hope the firewalls hold up” (after Comey’s firing) and “Thank you for supporting our cause.” All the information coming out now supports the initial impression we got from those messages.
There are Democrats in Congress who don’t seem to realize or care that the truth is coming out. They just ignore it and stick to their story no matter what, knowing most of the media will cooperate. Case in point: Adam “Shifty” Schiff, who continues to lie about the nature of his staff’s meetings with Michael Cohen prior to his public testimony. (Four meetings for a total of ten hours –- that’s a lot of coaching!) But, obviously, the real story we’ve been following for so long is being CONFIRMED.
(Aside: at the time Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Cohen about Trump's business dealings and taxes, I suspected that she had been handed those questions before the hearing, as they absolutely did NOT originate in her brain. But I think we can assume now that all the Democrats on the committee, not just AOC, had been prepared with specific questions to ask, and Cohen had also been prepared with specific answers to give. What a farce.)
But I digress. As Fitton pointed out, the collusion between Hillary’s campaign and the FBI (“that looks to continue”) still hasn’t been investigated. And recall that one of Cohen’s two attorneys is longtime Clinton crony Lanny Davis. “She’s still running the show in many respects,” he said. “Her dossier is still being used by the Justice Department and Mueller to investigate and harass President Trump. Why hasn’t Mrs. Clinton been asked questions about HER communications with Fusion GPS? Why haven’t her lawyers been brought in?” This all needs to be followed-up by “a competent Congress or an honest and fair Justice Department.”
Too bad we don’t have either of those things.
“Instead,” he said, “the Justice Department is protecting that relationship.”
That’s got to be enormously frustrating to Fitton at this point, considering how long (more than a year) his organization has worked to get those Fusion GPS-related documents out.
Here’s Fitton’s latest effort, with Judicial Watch once again having to sue to get the DOJ to give them records, this time of Dennis Cheng, former State Department protocol officer AND fundraiser for the Clinton Foundation. Keep at it, Judicial Watch, and thanks!
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats, spearheaded by Jerrold Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, are throwing EVERYTHING against the President to see what might stick, with plans to call 81 people, including members of his family, before the committees. This is where their behavior really starts looking like a witch hunt or, ironically, a scene out of Stalinist Russia, even to some members of the media who aren’t exactly known for their love and support of Trump. From a Washington Post editorial: “The extensive scope could bolster claims by Trump and Republicans that the congressional Democrats are seeking to undermine the President and cripple his 2020 re-election effort rather than conduct a disciplined, fact-finding inquiry.” They’re probably trying to warn the Democrats early in the process, fearing their fishing expedition could backfire.
I would add that this is most definitely NOT the way American justice is supposed to work. It’s not right (morally, ethically or constitutionally) to target an individual and then dig-dig-dig until something, anything, is found. It’s not right if that happens to you and me, and it’s not right to subject the President to it, either.
Of those Democrat politicians who claim this is a legitimate “oversight” function, I would ask them where such “oversight” is when it comes to our Department of Justice and FBI? If it weren’t for Judicial Watch, some persistent Republicans in the House and Senate, and a few intrepid reporters, this “oversight” would be nonexistent. Most in the media look the other way when it comes to that as well. We HAVE evidence that Hillary committed multiple crimes and was let off the hook. Unless and until we start seeing some strict “oversight” of that (and maybe we finally will, through Lindsay Graham and the Senate Judiciary Committee), I think we’ll have to agree with Fitton that in some ways, Hillary is still running the show.