UPDATED December 12, 2017
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is “reluctant” to turn over any evidence because all roads lead to Uranium One, and Rosenstein is involved.
Senior DOJ Official’s Wife Worked At Oppo Research Firm That Produced “Trump Dossier”
by Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge
December 11, 2017
In what looks to be another embarrassing blow to the FBI’s (already dubious) credibility, Fox News reported Monday night that the senior DOJ official who was demoted last week after allegedly trying to conceal his contacts with the firm that compiled the infamous “Trump dossier” has deep ties to the firm through his wife.
As it turns out, Nellie Ohr, the wife of disgraced DOJ official Bruce Ohr, was employed at Fusion GPS last year. Her term of employment overlapped with the period when the Trump dossier was being compiled. Though Fox was unable to discern the exact nature of her role at the firm, its reporters discovered that she has done extensive research on Russia-related topics for think tanks based in the Washington, DC area.
Ohr is the second senior DOJ official involved in the DOJ’s probe into Trump’s Russia ties to be demoted this year for suspected bias pertaining to the investigation. The other official, Peter Strzok, allegedly exchanged text messages expressing anti-Trump sentiments with another DOJ official with whom he was having an affair. And as if that weren’t enough to signal a conflict of interest, Strzok, it was revealed, possibly saved then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from prosecution by making a crucial change to the language in the now-infamous letter excusing Clinton for her suspected crimes. Specifically, Strzok changed language in Comey’s letter to “extremely careless” from the original language of “grossly negligent.”
House Republicans – led by Intel Committee Chair Devin Nunes – have spent the better part of this year investigating how the dossier – which is loaded with salacious and unverified claims about Trump – played into the DOJ’s decision to launch the probe that eventually morphed into the Mueller 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.
In a statement, Nunes said his committee “is looking into all facets of the connections between the Department of Justice and Fusion GPS, including Mr. Ohr,” which suggests that more details fleshing out the exact nature of his wife’s involvement with the dossier could be forthcoming in the near future.
While the DOJ has refused to release any information about Ohr’s role in the investigation, it’s notable that he was demoted shortly after Fox began asking questions about his dual responsibilities: Not only was Ohr responsible for supervising the DOJ’s organized-crime prosecutions, but he also held the position of deputy attorney general. That position came with an office on “Main Justice” – a floor in the DOJ building where many senior officials have their offices.
According to Fox, Ohr’s office was situated just a few doors down from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, the official who is nominally in charge of supervising the Mueller probe. Rosenstein’s reluctance to provide information about the dossier to Nunes and his committee nearly led to him being subjected to a contempt of Congress order, along with FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee who has nevertheless insisted that the bureau’s agents have acted fairly and professionally in carrying out their investigation into Trump and his associates’ ties to Russian entities.
Until Dec. 6, when Fox News began making inquiries about him, Bruce Ohr held two titles at DOJ. He was, and remains, director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force; but his other job was far more senior. Mr. 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 Department of Justice has provided no public explanation for Ohr’s demotion. Officials inside the Department have told Fox News his wearing of two hats was “unusual,” but also confirm Ohr had withheld his contacts with the Fusion GPS men from colleagues at the DOJ.
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).
Unsurprisingly, Adam Schiff, the top-ranking Democrat on the committee refused to comment about Ohr specifically. Instead, he insinuated that Nunes was trying to deliberately discredit the DOJ, which, according to Schiff, did nothing wrong.
“I think there’s a hope that if they can impeach Christopher Steele, and they can impeach the FBI and DOJ, maybe they can impeach the whole Russia investigation,” Schiff told MSNBC in September.
Of course, nearly every shred of information pertaining to the dossier that’s been publicly revealed in recent months would appear to counter this claim. Back in September, it was revealed that the dossier was jointly financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Then it was revealed that Mueller had managed to interview Christopher Steele, the agent in charge of assembling the document. But apparently that interview did little to help the investigation verify its claims (if it had, we probably would’ve heard about it by now).
All of this would seem to support the notion that the Mueller probe is hopelessly compromised, because many of the staffers who’ve worked on the investigation have anti-Trump leanings.
The only question now is: Will this be the final straw that prompts Trump to fire Mueller and put an end to his witch hunt. Though, as we pointed out, Mueller’s decision to secure a guilty plea from Michael Flynn might ultimately help salvage his investigation by providing much needed cover.
Regardless, one thing is clear: These repeated lapses in judgment have seriously damaged the bureau’s credibility, as Nunes and several of his Republican peers have suggested.
Nellie Ohr’s ham radio license application:
Russia dossier investigators suspect reporters were paid to spread collusion claims
November 5, 2017
MI6 Agent Christopher Steele
The role of reporters is taking on added importance in federal court battles over the infamous Russia dossier that leveled unverified charges of collusion against the Donald Trump campaign.
In U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Fusion GPS, the dossier’s financier via the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign money, is fighting a House committee chairman’s bid to find out if the opposition research firm paid journa
In U.S. District Court in Florida, a self-described dossier victim wants a judge to order the news website BuzzFeed, which published the dossier in full, to disclose who gave it to the.
The cases underscore how a Moscow-sourced memorandum created as opposition research against Donald Trump in the presidential campaign last year often dictates the debate about politics and reporters’ rights in Washington.
Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, signed a subpoena to force a bank to turn over Fusion’s financial records. He wants to know who paid for the dossier, which was written in a series of 18 memos by former British spy Christopher Steele. He relied almost exclusively on unidentified Kremlin sources.
Fusion went to federal court to block the move, but the law firm Perkins Coie LLP, whose partner Marc E. Elias is the Clinton’s campaign’s general counsel, intervened. It filed a letter acknowledging it had paid Fusion for the dossier on behalf of Democrats. Fusion and Mr. Nunes then worked out an agreement on access to some of the firm’s financial records.
But the dispute heightened again Friday as Fusion renewed its request for a judge to block the subpoena because Mr. Nunes wants more information. The widened net includes the names of journalists and law firms that Fusion might have paid.
“It is contrived to substitute for the ridiculous notion that Intervenor [the House committee] can demand documents in an overbroad subpoena from a third party and not explain what it is looking for or why,” said a memorandum filed by Fusion’s law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.
On the demand for information on any payments to journalists, Fusion cited First Amendment protection and confidentiality. It did not deny it had paid journalists.“ And they are not pertinent, as they are not related to Russia or Donald Trump,” Fusion argues. “In attempting to justify the overbroad subpoena earlier, Intervenor could have, but of course did not, argue the relevance to its inquiry of any such payments.”
In the court battle with Mr. Nunes, Fusion has likened itself to a group of journalists with all associated rights. Its founders include former Wall Street Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch.
Mr. Fritsch filed a declaration, saying: “Our techniques and investigative tools for our research and investigation go beyond standard open-source methods. Fusion GPS has an extensive network of domestic and international contacts, built up over many years of reporting.”
In Florida, Russian technology entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, chief of Internet-platform provider XBT Holding, is suing BuzzFeed for libel.
The Steele dossier accused Mr. Gubarev of overseeing a botnet operation that flooded Democrats’ computers with porn, viruses and spyware. It said the operation was financed by the FSB, Russia’s intelligence agency.
Sources of controversy
Mr. Gubarev’s attorneys are trying to find out who was and whether that person warned the editors that the document was not verified.
“And as you might imagine, if you are an online storage company, to have the accusation that you are an FSB agent — former KGB, now FSB — that you are essentially co-opted by the FSB and you are launching hacking against the Democratic Party, doesn’t do wonders for your business,” attorney Evan Fray-Witzer argued at a September hearing.
He added: “There is only one way to know what the motivation was in giving the document and what was said to BuzzFeed when they received the document.”
Katherine M. Bolger, BuzzFeed’s attorney, said various states protect source confidentiality through so-called shield laws.
What’s more, since the dossier was the subject of a federal investigation when it was posted in January, BuzzFeed had complete legal freedom to report on it whether true or not, she argued.
“If the United States government is investigating allegations, the press is free to report on them, period,” Ms. Bolger said.
Ms. Bolger is demanding XBT data to determine if any of the Russian hacking on the Democrats went through the company’s servers.
A federal judge’s ruling is expected this month.
BuzzFeed has filed requests with federal agencies for documents detailing the FBI’s dossier handling.
He said through his attorneys that he gave explicit instructions that the information from Kremlin sources must be verified and that they should not quote the dossier.
“The second defendant [Mr. Steele] understood that the information provided might be used for the purpose of further research but would not be published or attributed,” the filing stated. “None of the journalists raised any objections.”
Yet, after the briefing, some of Mr. Steele’s claims did surface in press reports and Democratic talking points to buttress the charge that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to interfere in the election.
The McCain connection
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, is one person known to have possessed a dossier hard copy through a complex set of maneuvers with Mr. Steele. The senator ended up handing a copy to then-FBI Director James B. Comey weeks after the election when Mr. Trump was president-elect.
A chronology of events would indicate that Mr. Comey had acquired the copy, during the election campaign, from a source not yet identified publicly.
Mr. McCain denied being BuzzFeed’s source.
“I gave it to no one except for the director of the FBI. I don’t know why you’re digging this up now,” Mr. McCain told The Daily Caller last month.
The Steele court document, which was filed in the Florida case last month, detailed how Mr. McCain acquired the copy. A business associate of Mr. Steele’s — Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow — informed the senator of its existence.
Mr. McCain then dispatched an aide, David Kramer, to Surrey, England, to meet with Mr. Steele on Nov. 28. Mr. Kramer is a former State Department assistant secretary and scholar at Mr. McCain’s think tank in Arizona.
Sometime later, Mr. Steele sent the dossier in a secure mode to the senator, who hand-delivered it to Mr. Comey. He later provided his last memo, in December, to Mr. McCain, Fusion GPS and the United Kingdom government.
Here is how Mr. Steele described the handoff in his latest court filing: “The defendants [Mr. Steele, Orbis Business Intelligence] understood that the contents of the memoranda would be treated in the strictest confidence and would only be used by Senator McCain in his official capacity for the sole purpose of analyzing, investigating and verifying their contents to enable such action to be taken as necessary for the purposes of protecting US national security.
“[Mr. Steele] expressly informed Mr. Kramer that the pre-election memoranda were only to be used for this exclusive purpose before he showed Mr. Kramer any of the memoranda. Mr. Kramer was not at this time provided with copies of the memoranda that had been prepared as at that date, but was shown copies.”
December 7, 2017
by James Rosen and Jake Gibson
EXCLUSIVE: A senior Justice Department official was demoted this week amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with the opposition research firm responsible for the anti-Trump “dossier,” the department confirmed to Fox News.
Until Wednesday morning, Bruce G. Ohr held two titles at DOJ: associate deputy attorney general, a post that placed him four doors down from his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), a program described by the department as “the centerpiece of the attorney general’s drug strategy.”
Ohr will retain his OCDETF title but has been stripped of his higher post and ousted from his office on the fourth floor of “Main Justice.”
Initially senior department officials could not provide the reason for Ohr’s demotion, but Fox News has learned that evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the “dossier.”
Later, a Justice Department official told Fox News: “It is unusual for anyone to wear two hats as he has done recently. This person is going to go back to a single focus—director of our organized crime and drug enforcement unit. As you know, combating transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking is a top priority for the attorney general.”
Additionally, House investigators have determined that Ohr met shortly after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS – the opposition research firm that hired Steele to compile the dossier with funds supplied by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. By that point, according to published reports, the dossier had been in the hands of the FBI, which exists under the aegis of DOJ, for some five months, and the surveillance on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign, had started more than two months prior.
Glenn Simpson met with a top DOJ official after the election, Fox News has learned.
Former FBI Director James Comey, testifying before the House in March, described the dossier as a compendium of “salacious and unverified” allegations against then-candidate Donald Trump and his associates. The Nunes panel has spent much of this year investigating whether DOJ, under then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, used the dossier to justify a foreign surveillance warrant against Page.
The contacts between Ohr and Steele, and between Ohr and Simpson, have not been publicly disclosed nor shared with HPSCI staff.
The panel has issued numerous subpoenas for documents and witnesses related to the dossier but claims DOJ and FBI have “stonewalled,” an assertion that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., seconded in a rare public statement in October.
While the agencies say they have cooperated extensively with Nunes and his team, including providing several hundred pages of classified documents relating to the dossier, it was only last weekend that DOJ and FBI agreed to make available to the committee for questioning Peter Strzok, the high-ranking FBI official who was disciplined in July for having sent-anti-Trump texts to a colleague while playing a decisive role in last year’s investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s private server.
Strzok was removed from the staff of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and demoted to a position on the FBI’s human resources division. The agencies’ decision to make Strzok available to House investigators came on the same day that The New York Times and The Washington Post disclosed the existence of the anti-Trump text messages, and Fox News disclosed that Strzok’s conduct in the Clinton case was under review by the FBI’s Office of Inspector General.
The demotion of Ohr thus marked the second time within a matter of months that the Justice Department and the FBI have disciplined for misconduct a senior official connected in some form or fashion to the Trump-Russia case.
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.
How exactly Simpson and Ohr came to know each other is still being investigated, but initial evidence collected by the House intelligence committee suggests that the two were placed in touch by Steele, a former FBI informant whose contacts with Ohr are said by senior DOJ officials to date back to 2006.
Nunes, who has instructed HPSCI staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray – preparatory to a House vote on whether the citations should be enforced – issued a fresh subpoena on Thursday specifically covering Ohr and his files.