Embattled Justice Department official Bruce Ohr reportedly kept his former colleague Andrew Weissmann, currently the special counsel’s deputy, in the loop about the contested Steele dossier, sources say.
Ohr also had contact in 2016 with other senior FBI officials, including former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and former deputy director Andrew McCabe. The information he provided them with pertained not only to the dossier itself but to the people and companies behind it – ex-British spy Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson’s opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
According to a source close to the matter, Weissmann, who is now part of Robert Mueller’s team, was kept “in the loop” on the dossier while he was chief of the criminal fraud division.
However, what is noteworthy is that the long list of contacts Ohr had suggests that members of FBI leadership knew about his backchannel activities regarding the dossier and its author, Steele.
“When they went to court, the FBI knew three important things. And they did not disclose this to the court,” Representative Jim Jordan said. “They knew the Ohrs’ involvement in the production of the dossier. They knew that Chris Steele had this extreme bias against the President. And they knew who paid for the dossier. And they did not disclose these key facts to the court when they went there to get the warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign.”
Ohr has often found himself in President Donald Trump’s crosshairs due to the fact that his wife Nellie Ohr did work for Fusion GPS. Yesterday morning the President took to Twitter to complain about Nellie Ohr and what he believes is bias against him at the department, saying, “Bruce was a boss at the Department of Justice and is, unbelievably, still there!”
Congressional Republicans are still trying to determine Ohr’s role in circulating the unverified dossier, a vital piece of evidence which helped obtain a surveillance warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page. A Republican-authored House Intelligence Committee memo released in February said that Steele “maintained contact” with Ohr “before and after” the government fired the ex-British spy as a source.
“For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president’,” the memo said.
House Democrats were quick to defend Ohr, saying his outreach on behalf of Steele was not prohibited or unlawful.
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