The former top Justice Department official at the center of the anti-Trump dossier scandal, Bruce Ohr, testified that the FBI was aware when it submitted the dossier as evidence to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign that the document’s author was biased against Trump and that Ohr’s wife worked for the company that produced it.
That information, however, was withheld from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, which granted warrants to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
The new revelations come from congressional sources with direct knowledge of the closed-door deposition Tuesday who spoke to investigative reporter Sara Carter.
Republican House members who questioned Ohr, including Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Darrell Issa of California, provided further information.
Meadows said Ohr confirmed in his interview that after the FBI terminated its relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele for leaking to the media, the bureau “privately reengaged with him and continued receiving his info.”
“This was after suggesting to the American public they had cut Steele off,” Meadows said in a tweet.
The FBI dropped Steele as a source in November 2016, but the Obama administration maintained contact with Steele by using Ohr as a back channel.
Now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok confirmed during recent congressional testimony that the FBI received “documents and material” from Ohr, a former associate deputy attorney general.
WND reported earlier this month that newly obtained emails, texts and handwritten notes of Ohr confirmed the connection to Steele, who told Ohr of his fear that they would be “exposed” because of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Issa said in an interview Wednesday with Fox News that he and his colleagues confirmed Tuesday that Ohr was “a willing and constant conduit between Fusion GPS, paid for by the Clinton campaign, and the FBI,” referring to the opposition-research company paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to produce the dossier.
Noting Ohr is an attorney, Issa said that under cross-examination he conducted along with Jordan and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the Justice Department official was asked if he had ever in his career made himself a “fact witness,” essentially creating a conflict by being a conduit of information in a case.
Ohr replied that prior to the dossier matter, he had not.
“He knew he was delivering not hearsay, but double hearsay that would never stand up in court, and he admitted that, that he was providing as fact that which turns out to be fiction,” Issa told Fox News.
Jordan, in a Fox News interview, provided more perspective on Ohr’s testimony, calling it “the biggest abuse of power” he had ever seen.
“Go back to the fundamentals. Bruce Ohr, a top Justice Department official, his wife worked for the firm hired by the Clintons to produce the dossier. The dossier that we all know is the foundation of this whole thing which was disproven, salacious, unverified, not credible. That dossier Fusion is giving to Nellie Ohr, to Bruce Ohr who is giving it to the FBI. We know all that, and the FBI took it to the court. Didn’t tell the court who paid for it. Didn’t tell the court the guy who wrote it, Christopher Steele had been terminated,” Jordan said.
The congressman said it “now it appears [the FBI] knew about Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr’s involvement and didn’t tell the court that either.”
“They did all of that for what purpose? To spy on the other party’s campaign,” Jordan said.
“That is never supposed to happen in the United States of America and yet it did. This is the biggest abuse of power I have ever seen. And I am going to keep digging at it and so are my colleagues until we get answers for the American people.”
‘Someone is lying’
WND reported Tuesday Republican congressmen who questioned Ohr found his testimony conflicted with the declarations of other key figures, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
“In the first hour of testimony it became very clear that there are a number of factual conflicts,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told reporters Tuesday during a break in the closed-door session with Ohr.
“Either Bruce Ohr is lying or Glenn Simpson is lying.”
The congressman added that “in another circumstance, either Bruce Ohr is lying or Lisa Page is lying.”
Page infamously exchanged anti-Trump text messages with lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok while they were carrying on an adulterous relationship. While working on the Hillary Clinton classified-information probe and later the Russia investigation, Strzok confided to Page his intent to “stop” Trump from becoming president and to deploy an “insurance policy” as a backup plan.
Fired FBI Director James Comey described claims in the dossier as “unverified and salacious.” And last week, longtime Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis rebutted a key claim in the dossier, contending his new client, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, was never in Prague. The dossier makes Cohen and his Prague visit central to its contention that there was “clandestine” conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
The House members are considering bringing back Ohr, Page and Simpson in an open hearing to sort out the apparent conflicts, reported the Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge.
Earlier Tuesday, Meadows said he’s seen “hard evidence” that the FBI leaked information to media to justify the FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.