Kirsters Baish| It was revealed by Investigative Reporter Sara Carter this weekend that the GOP is zeroing-in on the “dirty dossier.” They have their targets set right toward Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. The Justice Department has been stonewalling the Senate Judiciary Committee every step of the way when it comes to interviews that the FBI had conducted with Bruce Ohr. Chuck Grassley is now asking for these interviews to be declassified in order for him to obtain them.
Via Sara Carter:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) have been stonewalled since last year by the Department of Justice, which has refused to turn over interviews the FBI conducted with former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.
Ohr was demoted twice for failing to disclose his involvement with significant figures (including his wife) associated with the unverified dossier from the now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS, which alleged President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.
Carter reports that lawmakers feel that Ohr’s relationship with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier and a former British spy, is a problem. Lawmakers are also concerned that even after the FBI fired the dossier writer, Ohr still brought documents from Steele to the FBI.
Carter writes that it is “completely appropriate” for Chuck Grassley to request the documents be declassified.
Lawmakers stated that the interview documents, which are also known as 302s, should in fact be declassified, as they feel it will prove Ohr’s full involvement with the Fusion GPS firm, in addition to the nature of his relationship with Steele and the owner of the firm, Glenn Simpson. They also felt it would show his communications with those top FBI officials dealing with the Trump investigation.
Devin Nunes stated on Thursday, “Ohr was one of the top officials at DOJ and they told the court they had terminated Steele, but Ohr was continuing to meet with Steele despite his termination and then (he was) feeding the information to the FBI. It is completely appropriate for Grassley to ask for these documents to be declassified.”
A House Intelligence Committee memorandum was declassified by President Trump in February. This revealed information regarding Ohr and FBI interviews he was a part of. The memorandum claims that even after the FBI let go of Steele, he still had contact with Bruce Ohr. At the time, Ohr was a DOJ senior official. The memo proved that Ohr told the bureau in his interviews that Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” Ohr worked alongside Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and now-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the time.
It was revealed by the House Intelligence Committee that Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, had worked for the Fusion GPS firm in 2016. She was in charge of assisting “in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump.” The firm told CNN in December 2017 that Nellie Ohr was a “widely-recognized” scholar when it comes to Russia. They also claimed that she was fluent in Russian.
Sara Carter reports:
The 12 Important FBI Interviews with Bruce Ohr
The answers to the onslaught of questions about Ohr’s involvement in the Russia-Trump probe reside in approximately 12 of the 302s, Nunes said. The interviews were conducted by FBI agents from December, 2016 to May, 2017, documents show.
Grassley and a limited number of committee members were given “in camera” access to review some of the documents, meaning they could not take notes or receive copies of the documents that the DOJ stamped “SECRET,” according to the committee.
In a July letter, Grassley stressed his frustration saying “the Department’s insistence on limiting access to these documents creates unnecessary complications and burdens on the Committee’s oversight work. Relying solely on memory of the documents or scheduling trips to the Justice Department for additional reviews is a poor substitute for possession of actual copies. It thwarts the Committee’s ability to conduct a thorough analysis, compare the contents with other information, and take investigative steps to pursue related information.”
Here are the Ohr 302 interviews requested by the committee, according to an unclassified letter sent by Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham in February to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is expected to release his findings this year on the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe into Trump’s campaign.
- 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)3