Of all the moving parts in the bogus “Trump/Russia” investigation (and there are many), one of the most intriguing of all is the husband-and-wife team of Bruce and Nellie Ohr. How convenient that he would be working very high up in the Justice Department while his wife, an expert on Russia who even speaks fluent Russian, would just happen to be working as a contractor for “oppo” research company Fusion GPS, which was hired by law firm Perkins Coie, which was representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC (but I repeat myself). Fusion GPS hired British ex-spy Christopher Steele to come up with any dirt he could find that might further the Trump “collusion” narrative, which he did with a “dossier” of unverified information that even he would not vouch for.
The connections here really are like something out of a spy novel or political thriller, and, of course, we know that if Hillary Clinton had been elected President, all evidence would have disappeared or been rendered unretrievable with BleachBit and we would never have known a thing about it. Even after she lost, the Justice Department under M.I.A. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued to stonewall. But thanks (once again) to Judicial Watch, and with a real attorney general now in charge of declassifying documents, the DOJ is finally responding to the Freedom Of Information Act request for Bruce Ohr’s 302s (those are the official notes of his FBI interviews).
Until the notes are released --- the DOJ says this will happen by August 5 --- we won’t know how much they’ve included and how much is withheld or redacted. That in itself might tell us quite a bit about how swampy the swamp still is. Barr has the authority to declassify whatever he wants to, so just how much transparency will we get? The more we get to see, the better it speaks of the DOJ.
It was way back on on September 10 of last year that Judicial Watch sued under FOIA for a dozen 302s of the debriefings the FBI had with Bruce Ohr after meetings and conversations with Christopher Steele. (Yes, there were a dozen of these!) These took place between November 22, 2016 –- after the FBI had officially cut ties with Steele because of his leaking to the media –- and May 15, 2017. Since they weren’t technically supposed to be using him as a source, they used Ohr as an “unofficial backchannel” to continue getting information tying Trump to Russia.
The collaboration had actually started months earlier. Bruce and Nellie Ohr first met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Bruce Ohr subsequently briefed then-deputy FBI Director Andrew “Andy’s office” McCabe on Steele’s work.
The FISA court that granted the warrant to spy on Trump’s campaign associates was never informed of any problems with Christopher Steele as a source, even though it was his “dossier” that formed the foundation of the FBI’s warrant application. Recall that there were additional huge problems with Steele as a source, such as his strong political bias and the fact that he was essentially working for the Clintons, and the FBI had been advised about this by Kathleen Kavalec at the State Department. The FISA court was never told about that, either.
According to Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller News Foundation, Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele had been acquainted for years. Good to know, as the most intriguing part of this whole puzzle is how the Chris Steele---Bruce Ohr---Nellie Ohr---Fusion GPS arrangement came to be. Perhaps Ross already has a good idea how it originated, but there are several possible scenarios. For example, did Nellie Ohr already work under contract for Fusion GPS and one day say, “Hey, you guys, want to know a wild coincidence? It’s so crazy you’ll never believe it! While we’re over here investigating Trump and Russia, my husband works at the Justice Department and knows people at the FBI who are investigating Trump and Russia!”
Or did Fusion GPS know Steele first and hear from him that they should hire Nellie, not just because she was an expert on Russia but because she was married to his friend who was a top official at the DOJ? However it came about, the arrangement was just too perfect: Bruce would be able to funnel information (or disinformation) damaging to Trump to the FBI, and Nellie would be able to funnel the same garbage through Fusion GPS to Hillary’s campaign.
My thought is that if anything in these 302s is redacted, it’s likely to be information relating to the setup of this cozy relationship. At any rate, we’ll have plenty to talk about on Monday.