Posts Tagged ‘Fusion GPS’

What Bruce Ohr Told the FBI — Raises new doubts about the bureau’s honesty

January 18, 2019

The Justice Department official’s testimony raises new doubts about the bureau’s honesty.

.

.
Image result for bruce ohr, photos
Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, arrives to testify behind closed doors in Washington, Aug. 28. PHOTO: CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Everybody knew. Everybody of consequence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department understood fully in the middle of 2016—as the FBI embarked on its counterintelligence probe of Donald Trump—that it was doing so based on disinformation provided by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. That’s the big revelation from the transcript of the testimony Justice Department official Bruce Ohr gave Congress in August. The transcripts haven’t been released, but parts were confirmed for me by congressional sources.

Mr. Ohr testified that he sat down with dossier author Christopher Steele on July 30, 2016, and received salacious information the opposition researcher had compiled on Mr. Trump. Mr. Ohr immediately took that to the FBI’s then-Deputy Director Andy McCabe and lawyer Lisa Page. In August he took it to Peter Strzok, the bureau’s lead investigator. In the same month, Mr. Ohr believes, he briefed senior personnel in the Justice Department’s criminal division: Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz, lawyer Zainab Ahmad and fraud unit head Andrew Weissman. The last two now work for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Related image

More important, Mr. Ohr told this team the information came from the Clinton camp and warned that it was likely biased, certainly unproven. “When I provided [the Steele information] to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information,” he testified. “I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware. These guys were hired by somebody relating to—who’s related to the Clinton campaign, and be aware.”

He said he told them that Mr. Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected,” and that his own wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, which compiled the dossier. He confirmed sounding all these warnings before the FBI filed its October application for a surveillance warrant against Carter Page. We broke some of this in August, though the transcript provides new detail.

The FBI and Justice Department have gone to extraordinary lengths to muddy these details, with cover from Democrats and friendly journalists. A January 2017 memo from Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, flatly (and incorrectly) insisted “the FBI’s closely-held investigative team only received Steele’s reporting in mid-September.” A May 2018 New York Times report repeated that claim, saying Mr. Steele’s reports didn’t reach the “Crossfire Hurricane team,” which ran the counterintelligence investigation, until “mid-September.”

Image result for Adam Schiff, photos

Rep. Adam Schiff

This line was essential for upholding the claim that the dossier played no role in the unprecedented July 31, 2016, decision to investigate a presidential campaign. Former officials have insisted they rushed to take this dramatic step on the basis of a conversation involving a low-level campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, which took place in May, before the dossier officially came into the picture. And maybe that is the case. Yet now Mr. Ohr has testified that top personnel had dossier details around the time they opened the probe.

The Ohr testimony is also further evidence that the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in its Page warrant application. We already knew the bureau failed to inform the court it knew the dossier had come from a rival campaign. But the FISA application additionally claimed the FBI was “unaware of any derogatory information pertaining” to Mr. Steele, that he was “reliable,” that his “reporting” in this case was “credible.” and that the FBI only “speculates” that Mr. Steele’s bosses “likely” wanted to “discredit” Mr. Trump.

PHOTO: Then-FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Oversight Committee to discuss Hillary Clintons email investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, July 7, 2016.

Then-FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Oversight Committee to discuss Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, July 7, 2016. J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE

Speculates? Likely? Mr. Ohr makes clear FBI and Justice officials knew from the earliest days that Mr. Steele was working for the Clinton campaign, which had an obvious desire to discredit Mr. Trump. And Mr. Ohr specifically told investigators that they had every reason to worry Mr. Steele’s work product was tainted.

This testimony has two other implications. First, it further demonstrates the accuracy of the House Intelligence Committee Republicans’ memo of 2018—which noted Mr. Ohr’s role and pointed out that the FBI had not been honest about its knowledge of the dossier and failed to inform the court of Mrs. Ohr’s employment at Fusion GPS. The testimony also destroys any remaining credibility of the Democratic response, in which Mr. Schiff and his colleagues claimed Mr. Ohr hadn’t met with the FBI or told them anything about his wife or about Mr. Steele’s bias until after the election.

Image result for Hillary Clinton, photos

Hillary Clinton

Second, the testimony raises new concerns about Mr. Mueller’s team. Critics have noted Mr. Weissman’s donations to Mrs. Clinton and his unseemly support of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates’s obstruction of Trump orders. It now turns out that senior Mueller players were central to the dossier scandal. The conflicts of interest boggle the mind.

The Ohr testimony is evidence the FBI itself knows how seriously it erred. The FBI has been hiding and twisting facts from the start.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

Appeared in the January 18, 2019, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-bruce-ohr-told-the-fbi-11547770923

Related:

Advertisements

Trump-Russia dossier journalist doubts Christopher Steele’s claims

December 18, 2018

The journalist who was among the first to report on the Trump-Russia dossier suspects many of the allegations made in former British spy Christopher Steele’s collection of memos are “likely false.”

Yahoo chief investigative reporter Michael Isikoff was one of the journalists who met with Steele during the 2016 campaign.

Image result for Michael Isikoff, photos

On Sept. 23, 2016, he wrote an article about former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, which outlined how Page had attracted law enforcement’s attention for allegedly trying to establish back channels between the campaign and Russia and for discussing the lifting of sanctions with Moscow-linked officials. The article was frequently cited during congressional investigations into whether the Justice Department and FBI abused surveillance powers by gathering information on Page, a U.S. citizen, after obtaining warrants based on Steele’s unverified work.

Despite reporting accusations made by Steele, Isikoff told John Ziegler’s Free Speech Broadcasting podcast that many of the claims had still not been corroborated.

“In broad strokes, Christopher Steele was clearly onto something, that there was a major Kremlin effort to interfere in our elections, that they were trying to help Trump’s campaign, and that there was multiple contacts between various Russian figures close to the government and various people in Trump’s campaign,” Isikoff said Saturday. “When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there’s good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false.”

Steele’s dossier was funded in part by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, conservative outlet the Washington Free Beacon, the Democratic National Committee, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It contained unsubstantiated claims that Russian intelligence operatives filmed President Trump with prostitutes urinating on a Moscow hotel bed and that Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague in August 2016 to make arrangements with agents of Moscow to hack data beneficial to then-candidate Trump. Trump and Cohen have vehemently denied the accusations. The FBI’s inquiry into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia eventually led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Isikoff added that Mueller’s investigation may not be as probative as some pundits hope or believe.

“Why wasn’t he charged with lying about it if that’s what he did? That would have been as serious a lie as the lie he told about the Trump Tower Moscow project,” Isikoff said, alluding to Cohen. “All the signs to me are that Mueller is reaching his end game, and we may see less than many people want him to find.”

Cohen pleaded guilty last month to lying to Congress about the Trump Organization real estate deal. He was sentenced to two months in prison for the charge, which was brought by Mueller’s team. It will be served concurrently with the three years he received as part of the case he faced in New York for campaign finance violations, and tax and bank fraud.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/trump-russia-dossier-journalist-doubts-christopher-steeles-claims

George Soros gave $1M to group that paid for Fusion GPS research

November 1, 2018

Democratic billionaire George Soros has given $1 million to a group which has paid for research from Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the infamous Trump dossier.

The money was given to the Democracy Integrity Project, according to a Soros representative who spoke to the New York Times. Soros is mulling donating even more.

The $1 million figure appears to be newly revealed information. It was reported earlier this year by the Washington Post that Soros had given a grant to the nonprofit group.

Image result for George Soros, photos

George Soros

The Democracy Integrity Project was created after the 2016 election and is dedicated to investigating election interference.

Fusion GPS is known for commissioning ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Published in full by BuzzFeed in January 2017, the dossier contains a collection of salacious and unverified claims about Trump’s potentially compromising ties to Russia.

Soros’ fundraising efforts have made him a favorite target of Republicans claiming he is a secret force seeking to influence politics, among other conspiracy theories.

GOP investigators are concerned about potential surveillance abuse by the government, as the FBI used Steele’s salacious dossier, which was funded in part by Democratic interests, in multiple Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant applications to gain the authority to spy on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Steele dossier hasn’t provided Robert Mueller with long sought evidence of a crime or collusion

September 23, 2018

No evidence has emerged supporting Steele’s claims in the long investigation seeking a crime….

— The Steele dossier’s allegation that the Kremlin is blackmailing President Donald Trump with a so-called “pee tape” has cast a cloud over the Trump presidency.
— The Democrat-funded dossier claims Trump used prostitutes during a visit to Moscow in 2013.
— But a music publicist who has been interviewed at length in the Mueller investigation says he was with Trump for most of his time in Moscow and that the dossier’s allegations are “unlikely.” 


A British music publicist who was with President Donald Trump during a trip to Moscow in 2013 says it is “unlikely” the real estate mogul used prostitutes during his brief visit to the Russian capital, as the infamous Steele dossier alleges.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and suit

In an interview with The Washington Post, Rob Goldstone said he was with Trump for 31 out of the 36 hours the future president was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

The Ritz Carlton in Moscow is the alleged site of the most salacious allegation made in the Steele dossier, which was funded by Democrats and written by former British spy Christopher Steele.

A June 20, 2016, memo from the dossier alleges Kremlin operatives have blackmailed Trump with video footage of him engaged with prostitutes in a hotel room at the Ritz. According to one of Steele’s sources, the video shows the prostitutes performing a “golden showers” act in front of Trump. (RELATED: Fusion GPS Doubted The Credibility Of Major Dossier Source)

Trump has vehemently denied the allegation and no evidence has emerged supporting Steele’s claims, but it is frequently touted by Trump critics as evidence the Republican is under Kremlin control.

Trump landed in Moscow in his private plane at around 3 p.m. on a Friday and left at around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to WaPo. Goldstone said he was in Trump’s vicinity for all but five hours when Trump was seemingly asleep in his hotel room. (RELATED: ‘Fifty-Fifty’: Christopher Steele Is Unsure About The ‘Golden Showers’ Tape)

Goldstone, who is releasing a book Tuesday, has been questioned at length by prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller regarding his interactions with Trump and members of his campaign. Goldstone is who contacted Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 to offer a meeting with a group of Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. (RELATED: Rob Goldstone Speaks Out On Trump Jr.-Russia Emails: It Was ‘Puffed Up’)

Goldstone worked for Emin Agalarov, a pop musician whose father is billionaire real estate mogul Aras Agalarov. The Agalarov family partnered with Trump to host the beauty pageant.

Goldstone contacted Trump Jr. at the behest of Emin Agalarov on June 3, 2016. In an email, Goldstone said a “Russian government attorney” wanted to meet to provide information about potentially illegal campaign contributions from Russians to Hillary Clinton.

“If it is what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded.

The meeting was held at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. But most participants, including Goldstone, say the meeting was a dud. The Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, reportedly used the opportunity not to talk about Clinton, but to focus on the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that sanctions Russian human rights abusers.

Veselnitskaya was working closely at the time with Russia’s prosecutor general, Yuri Chaika, to overturn the Magnitsky Act. As part of the project, she was also working with Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele to write the dossier.

Goldstone said Mueller’s team was less interested in the Trump Tower meeting than they were about the relationship between the Agalarovs and Trumps.

The dossier’s claims about Trump’s visit to Moscow have been called into question, even by Steele himself.

Steele, a former MI6 official, put the odds that the “golden showers” tape exists at “50-50,” according to “Russian Roulette,” a book from two journalists who met with Steele prior to the 2016 election.

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, also called the credibility of the dossier’s source into question. According to “Russian Roulette,” Simpson considered the alleged source, a Belarus-born businessman named Sergei Millian, to be “a big talker.”

https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/22/trump-golden-showers-unlikely/

Peter Strzok-Lisa Page texts discuss others ‘leaking like mad’ ahead of Russia investigation: Report

September 13, 2018

A newly released series of text messages from former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — the pair involved in an extramarital affair and shared texts critical of President Trump — show that others may have been “leaking like mad” ahead of the federal Russia probe, a new report says.

“Oh, remind me to tell you tomorrow about the times doing a story about the rnc hacks,” Page said to Strzok in a December 2016 conversation, according to Fox News.

“And more than they already did? I told you Quinn told me they pulling out all the stops on some story…,” Strzok said in response, likely referring to Richard Quinn who worked as the chief of the Media and Investigative Publicity Section in the Office of Public Affairs.

“Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad,” Strzok said in a subsequent text. “Scorned and worried, and political, they’re kicking into overdrive.”

[Trump: FBI, DOJ doing ‘nothing’ in response to Strzok text on ‘media leak strategy’]

Although Strzok didn’t specify whom he was referring to when he said “sisters,” retired FBI special agent and former FBI national spokesperson John Iannarelli suggested it was a reference to another intelligence agency or a federal law enforcement agency, according to Fox News.

On that same day the conversation occurred, multiple news outlets reported that U.S. intelligence officials believed Russian President Vladimir Putin had a direct role and authorized Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The report comes after Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., expressed “grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations” in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this week, reacting to other texts between Strzok and Page were given to Congress.

Meadows is particularly concerned with a text sent on Apr. 10, 2017.

“I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about the media leak strategy with DOJ before you go,” Strzok wrote.

Thar text came a day before the Washington Post reported that former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page had been surveilled by the FBI after the agency received a warrant from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a move that has elicited backlash because it partly relied on details included in the unverified and so-called “Trump dossier” that contains damaging information about Trump.

But Strzok’s lawyer Aitan Goelman said the “media leak strategy” was a reference to a DOJ-wide initiative to identify and prevent staff members from disclosing information to the media.

Strzok was a leading official in the FBI’s investigation on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and was also part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation examining Russian interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

Strzok was removed from the Mueller team last year and was fired from the FBI in August following his appearance before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees in July, where he said he did not speak to journalists during his time on the Russia probe.

Page resigned from her post in 2018.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/peter-strzok-lisa-page-texts-discuss-others-leaking-like-mad-ahead-of-russia-investigation-report

Related:

.
.

Trump Tweets Criticism of FBI, DOJ on ‘Media Leak Strategy’ of Peter Strzok, Lisa Page

September 11, 2018

President Trump lamented on Tuesday that “nothing is being done” to investigate former FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page after a report said they had planned a “media leak strategy” to embarrass the president.

“New Strzok-Page texts reveal ‘Media Leak Strategy.’ @FoxNews So terrible, and NOTHING is being done at DOJ or FBI – but the world is watching, and they get it completely,” the president wrote on his Twitter account.

A report late Monday on Fox News said GOP Rep. Mark Meadows sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to alert him to the actions of Strzok and Page that were revealed in newly released text messages.

“Review of these new documents raises grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations,” Meadows wrote in the letter.

He said the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee discovered a April 10, 2017, text from Strzok to Page that said: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”

Then, two days later, Strzok reaches out to Page to congratulate her for planting two stories that were critical of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“Well done, Page,” Strzok wrote.

Meadows’ letter notes that the Washington Post wrote a story on April 11, 2017, about the FBI receiving a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page and that it had convinced a judge there was “probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia.”

The message “should lead a reasonable person to question whether there was a sincere desire to investigate wrongdoing or to place derogatory information in the media to justify a continued probe,” Meadows wrote in the letter.

Strzok worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into any links between Trump campaign officials and Russia but was removed after text messages between him and Page showed they were critical of the president.

He was fired by the FBI in August.

Page, a former FBI lawyer who had an affair with Strzok, also was removed from Mueller’s team. She has since resigned.

https://nypost.com/2018/09/11/trump-responds-to-strzok-page-texts-on-media-leak-strategy/

Related:

.
.

Peter Strzok, Lisa Page conspired to leak anti-Trump stories to mainstream media

September 11, 2018

FBI agent Peter Strzok conspired with his in-house lover to leak anti-Trump stories to the media in spring 2017 when he headed the Russia probe into the Trump campaign, a congressman said on Monday.

Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein saying a House task force had just received a new shipment of Justice Department documents.

By  – The Washington Times – Monday, September 10, 2018

“Our review of these new documents raises grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at FBI and DOJ,” Mr. Meadows said. “Review of these new documents suggest a coordinated effort on the part of the FBI and DOJ to release information in the public domain potentially harmful to President Donald Trump’s administration.”

Mr. Meadows provided an example.

On April 10, 2017, Mr. Strzok text-messaged Lisa Page, his lover and then-FBI counsel, to discuss a “media leak strategy.”

“I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go,” Mr. Strzok said.

Two days later, Mr. Strzok congratulated Ms. Page on two derogatory stories that appeared about Carter Page, a former Trump volunteer whom the FBI was wiretapping.

The Washington Post broke a story about the wiretap on April 11, Mr. Meadows said, which suggested Trumpconnections to Russia.

Mr. Strzok became famous for previously released text messages that showed a strong bias against Mr. Trump. At one point he told Ms. Page he had a plan to “stop” Mr. Trump.

In congressional testimony, Mr. Strzok denied that his bias affected how he conducted the Trump probe, saying that if he wanted to he could have leaked stories to the news media.

The Justice Department fired Mr. Strzok after a scathing inspector general report.

The Meadows letter to the Justice Department was first reported by journalist Sara Carter.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

Photo by: Manuel Balce Ceneta
FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, testifies before a House Judiciary Committee joint hearing on “oversight of FBI and Department of Justice actions surrounding the 2016 election” on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 12. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Mr. Meadows told Mr. Rosenstein that the new discoveries should prompt the Justice Department to turn over messages from three other FBI and Justice officials who may have communicated with Mr. Strzok, Ms. Page and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Mr. Meadows also wants communications with Andrew Weissmann, a top deputy to Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller.

The House task force investigating the FBI’s 2016-17 Trump probe is comprised of two of the chamber’s regular committees — Oversight and Government Reform, and Judiciary.

Testifying July 12 before the House task force, Mr. Strzok presented himself as a straight arrow who didn’t let his biases interfere with his 20-plus-year FBI career. He also handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which exonerated her, before quickly pivoting in July 2016 to the Russia-Trump probe.

“Let me be clear unequivocally and under oath, not once in my 26 years of defending our nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took. This is true for the Clinton email investigation, for the investigation into Russian interference and for every other investigation I have worked on. It is not who I am and it is not something I would ever do, period.”

He added, “There is, however, one extraordinarily important piece of evidence supporting my integrity, the integrity of the FBI and our lack of bias. In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign.

“This information had the potential to derail and quite possibly defeat Mr. Trump, but the thought of expressing that or exposing that information never crossed my mind. That’s what FBI agents do every single day and that’s why I’m so proud of the bureau.”

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/sep/10/peter-strzok-lisa-page-conspired-leak-anti-trump-s/

Related:

.
.

The secret documents Republicans want Trump to declassify this week

September 11, 2018

There is growing buzz among Hill Republicans that President Trump will act this week to declassify some key documents in the Trump-Russia investigation. Some in the GOP had hoped the documents would be released weeks ago – they’ve been asking with increasing urgency – but an internal White House debate apparently held that up.

No automatic alt text available.

In any event, there are new GOP hopes that this will be the week. If the White House does act, these are the documents, some or all, that might be released:

1) More of the Carter Page FISA wiretap application. The release of a heavily-redacted version of the secret court application, and subsequent renewals, to wiretap the onetime Trump foreign policy aide has already shown that the FBI relied on the unverified Trump dossier. Now, Republicans want the president to declassify the rest of the application, or, failing that, to release about 20 key pages of it.

Image result for carter page, photos

Photo: Carter Page

By Byron York
The Washington Examiner

What is in it? Remember that fired FBI Director James Comey, in an interview with Fox News in connection with his new book, said that, yes, the dossier was included in the Page surveillance request, but that, “My recollection was, it was part of a broader mosaic of facts that were laid before the FISA judge to obtain a FISA warrant.” The 20 or so unreleased pages of the Page FISA application are said to shed light on Comey’s “mosaic” comment – that is, they will purportedly reveal more of the FBI’s reason for wiretapping Page. So far, no one in the public knows what those reasons are.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and suit

2) The Bruce Ohr 302s. It’s possible that the Carter Page documents will be all that are declassified. But if more is released, the Ohr documents might be among them. The 302s refer to the FBI reports of its interviews with top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Remember that in the fall of 2016, with the presidential campaign going strong, the FBI decided to hire Christopher Steele to search for dirt on candidate Donald Trump. But the FBI had to terminate Steele as a source because he talked to the press. (Steele desperately wanted to help defeat Trump and tried hard to get his dossier allegations into the media.) But once the FBI terminated Steele, the bureau still used him as an informant. The method to do that was to have Steele talk to Ohr, and then Ohr talk to the FBI to pass on what Steele had told him. Those conversations between Ohr and the FBI were memorialized in so-called 302 reports. There are a dozen of them, and Republicans believe they will reveal a lot about what the FBI was doing in the Trump-Russia investigation at the end of the campaign, during the transition, and during the early months of the Trump presidency.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, suit, eyeglasses and indoor

Bruce Ohr

3) The Gang of 8 documents. This appears to be a grab-bag category referring to evidence the FBI presented to the so-called Gang of 8 – the chair and ranking member of House and Senate intelligence committees plus the majority and minority leader of House and Senate. The documents are said to shed light on what Republicans call “FISA abuse,” but it is not clear what they are.

It’s not certain the president with authorize the declassification of any of this. But if he does, the documents are said to represent a real step forward in the public’s knowledge of the actions of the intelligence community and law enforcement in the Trump-Russia investigation. Just exactly what those actions are might be known by later this week.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/the-secret-documents-republicans-want-trump-to-declassify-this-week

Related:

.
.

What Started The Mueller Investigation? Trump May Declassify Documents That Expose The Answer

September 10, 2018

President Trump is reportedly on the verge of declassifying documents related to the government’s surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and FBI documents regarding Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

House Republicans have recently pressed Trump to declassify the documents, which they claim undercuts the FBI and Justice Department’s rationale for opening an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Axios reported on Sunday that Trump’s allies say that he is close to declassifying the documents.

Sources familiar with Trump’s thinking have told The Daily Caller News Foundation over the past week that they believed Trump was close to releasing the documents.

Trump himself told The Daily Caller in an Oval Office interview on Sept. 4 that he is “very seriously” considering declassifying the documents. (RELATED: Full Transcript Of Trump’s Oval Office Interview With The Daily Caller)

One source told TheDCNF on Sunday that they expect Trump to declassify the documents “this week or next.” The source originally believed that the documents would be released last week but revised that assessment for reasons unknown.

“I’ve come to expect these things to take more time than expected,” the source told TheDCNF.

White House attorneys are said to be one roadblock to Trump declassifying the documents. The lawyers have reportedly counseled the Republican that declassifying the documents could be seen as a challenge to special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller is investigating possible obstruction of justice on the part of Trump.

Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees have asked Trump to declassify summaries of interviews that the FBI conducted with Ohr, the former assistant deputy attorney general.

Ohr is of interest because of his links to the Steele dossier. Ohr’s wife, a Russia expert named Nellie, worked as a researcher for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

Steele wrote a 35-page dossier alleging a vast conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin.

Ohr was also in frequent contact with Steele before and after the 2016 election. Republicans have questioned why the FBI relied on Ohr to funnel information from Steele after the dossier author was fired as a confidential informant just before the election.

Republicans have also accused the FBI of abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process by relying heavily on the unverified dossier to obtain spy warrants against Page.

The dossier is cited extensively in four FISA warrants taken out against Page in 2016 and 2017.

Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence asked Trump in June to declassify 21 pages from the fourth and final Page FISA. Some sections of the FISAs have already been declassified. (RELATED: House Republicans Call On Trump To Declassify 21 Pages From Carter Page FISA)

https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/09/trump-declassify-bruce-ohr-carter-page/

Related:

.
.

What Bruce Ohr Told Congress

August 31, 2018

He warned the FBI that Steele had credibility problems. The bureau forged ahead anyhow.

.

.
Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, arrives to testify behind closed doors in Washington, Aug. 28.
Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, arrives to testify behind closed doors in Washington, Aug. 28. PHOTO: CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

To believe most media descriptions of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, he is a nonentity, unworthy of the attention President Trump has given him. This is remarkable, given that Mr. Ohr spent Tuesday confirming for Congress its worst suspicions about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s abuse of its surveillance and sourcing rules.

If Mr. Ohr is only now under the spotlight, it’s because it has taken so much effort to unpack his role in the FBI’s 2016 investigation of the Trump campaign. Over the past year, congressional investigators found out that Mr. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that gave its infamous dossier, funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. They then discovered that Mr. Ohr had numerous interactions of his own with Fusion chief Glenn Simpson and dossier author Christopher Steele, and that he passed on information from these talks to the bureau. So the G-men were being fed the dossier allegations from both the outside and the inside.

This week’s news is that Mr. Ohr’s deliveries to the FBI came with a caveat. Congress already knew that Mr. Ohr had been aware of Mr. Steele’s political biases. In notes Mr. Ohr took of a September 2016 conversation with Mr. Steele, he wrote that the dossier author “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” Congressional sources tell me that Mr. Ohr revealed Tuesday that he verbally warned the FBI that its source had a credibility problem, alerting the bureau to Mr. Steele’s leanings and motives. He also informed the bureau that Mrs. Ohr was working for Fusion and contributing to the dossier project.

Mr. Ohr said, moreover, that he delivered this information before the FBI’s first application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant against Trump aide Carter Page, in October 2016. Yet the FBI made no mention of this warning in the application, instead characterizing Mr. Steele as a “reliable” source. Nor does the application note that a senior Justice Department official’s spouse was contributing to the dossier and benefiting financially from a document the FBI was using in an investigation. That matters both because the FBI failed to flag the enormous conflict and because Mr. Steele’s work product potentially wasn’t entirely his own.

No reference to Mr. Ohr—direct or cloaked—can be found in any of the four applications for Page warrants, according to those who have seen them. This despite his more than a dozen conversations with FBI agents over the course of the probe that addressed the content in and sourcing behind the surveillance applications. I’m told Mr. Ohr made clear that these conversations variously included all the heavyweights in the FBI investigation—former lead investigator Peter Strzok, former FBI senior lawyer Lisa Page, and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. So senior people were very aware of his role, information and conflict.

All this is what Republicans are referring to when they hint that the Ohr interview provided solid evidence that the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “Before yesterday, we thought the FBI and DOJ had not disclosed material facts they were aware of in the FISA application. If Bruce Ohr testified truthfully, we now know that to be the case,” Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas tweeted Wednesday. (The Justice Department declined to comment, citing an inspector-general investigation.)

As for Mr. Ohr’s interaction with the FBI, he told congressional investigators this week that while initially he reached out to the FBI, the bureau also later came looking for information about Mr. Steele. That outreach happened after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a source in October 2016 for violating bureau rules about talking to media. So even after having been warned of Mr. Steele’s motivations, even after having fired him for violating the rules, the FBI continued to seek his information—using Mr. Ohr as a back channel. This surely violates the FBI manual governing interaction with confidential human sources.

That Mr. Ohr came shopping the Steele info should have on its own set off FBI alarm bells. Mr. Steele was already in direct contact with the FBI by early July. Why would Mr. Steele then go to work on a Justice Department source, and refunnel the same allegations to the bureau? The likely answer is that the Fusion crowd wanted to exert maximum pressure on the FBI to act. Had the FBI bothered to try to find out what was behind such a pressure campaign, it might have stumbled upon the obvious answer: politics.

Unless it didn’t care. The evidence continues to mount that the FBI didn’t want to know about bias, or about conflicts of interest, or about the political paymasters behind the dossier—and it certainly didn’t want the surveillance court to know. It wanted to investigate Donald Trump.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

Appeared in the August 31, 2018, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-bruce-ohr-told-congress-1535668660

Related:

.
.