There’s still much to be learned about the Obama administration’s relationship with former British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, the research firm that commissioned Steele to compile the “dossier” of unverified political dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump, according to investigative reporter Sara Carter.
The interviews, known as 302s in FBI terminology, “should be declassified” because lawmakers believe they will reveal “the extent of Ohr’s involvement with Fusion GPS, his relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson, and his communications with FBI officials investigating Trump’s campaign.”
Carter reports Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “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,” the report explains.
“The lawmakers say Ohr’s close relationship with former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele is deeply troubling. Also concerning to lawmakers is the fact that even after Steele was terminated by the FBI (he worked as a source until he was fired for ‘unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI’), Ohr continued to supply documents from the ex-spy to the bureau.”
Further, Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS in 2016 on “opposition research” against Trump.
Nunes on Thursday that Ohr was one of the top officials at DOJ and the department “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,” he said.
The story is similar to that of discredited FBI agent Peter Strzok, who belligerently claimed before Congress recently that his personal antagonism against Donald Trump did not affect his work while he investigated both Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign.
In February, Carter reports, Trump “declassified a House Intelligence Committee memorandum, which revealed information about Ohr and his FBI interviews.”
“According to that memorandum, even after Steele was terminated by the FBI, he continued to maintain contact with Ohr, who was then a senior official with the DOJ. The memo also revealed that Ohr, who also worked closely at the time with Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and later with now-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, told the FBI during his interviews that Steele ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,'” Carter says.
“The information of Bruce Ohr’s close ties to the FBI’s relationship with Steele appear to be corroborated by testimony former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok provided in July to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees,” she reports.
“According to Strzok, Ohr gave extensive material to the FBI regarding the dossier. Some lawmakers believe it was Mr. Ohr who gave the salacious material contained in former British spy Steele’s multi-part dossier to the bureau.”
Nunes and other Congress members now want access to interviews the FBI conducted with Ohr in 2016 and 2017.
Grassley previously has noted that Congress needs the access to conduct a thorough analysis and compare the contents with other information.