Newly released messages obtained by Sara Carter suggest that DOJ Official Bruce Ohr’s ties to Christopher Steele are deeper than previously thought and that Steele, in particular, was worried about being discovered.
Ohr was first brought to the public’s attention when investigative reporter Jon Solomon revealed text message records and handwritten notes linking Ohr to Fusion GPS, the company’s investigation into Trump – funded by the Clinton campaign, the DNC and the FBI – and the author of the resultant dossier alleging Russian collusion, British spy Christopher Steele.
Ohr and Steele probably never expected to become famous faces, and certainly never hoped that their notoriety would stem from the major controversy that continues to plague the Trump administration – the Russian collusion investigation. Steele was reportedly so dismayed when his name was originally revealed by the press, that he fled his home with such haste he forgot to turn off the lights – though he did manage to ask his neighbor to take care of his cat while he was gone. Ohr hasn’t felt the need to run away and has apparently continued to work in his position at the Department of Justice (DOJ), although questions have been posed about his future there.
Fear of Exposure
Ohr’s notes show that Steele was becoming more and more concerned about what information would come out regarding the dossier. Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey in May 2017 sounded alarm bells as Ohr reportedly writes in his notes after a call with Steele that the Brit was, “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.”
It is interesting to note that Ohr does not include himself among those who may be “exposed” – who is the “they” he refers to? As well as Steele, is he talking about FBI officials who used the spy’s intelligence despite previously firing him for improperly leaking information to the press, to Fusion GPS staff (among them, Ohr’s wife), or to his anonymous Russian source(s)?
Steele was paid by both the FBI and the Clinton Campaign to produce the dossier; his actions are a matter of public record. What could it be that he was concerned about exposing – possibly the identity of his source(s)? Previously revealed text message between Steele and Ohr revealed that exposure of the identity of Steele’s “guy” would be “disastrous.”
According to Ohr’s notes, Steele was worried about a letter sent to Comey from the Senate Judiciary Committee, inquiring about his possible connections to Steele, as well as testimony that Comey may give to Congress. Two days before Comey testified to the House Select Intelligence Committee in March 2017, Steele sent an urgent message to Ohr, hoping that “important firewalls will hold.”
In June of 2017, Steele asks Ohr to “accelerate” his “reengagement with the Bureau and Mueller” in order to make the most of “some new, perishable, operational opportunities which we do not want to miss out on.” It appears that Steele was now tainted property, however, as in October, Steele reportedly tells Ohr of his dismay that the FBI may tell Congress “about my work and relationship with them. Very concerned about this. People’s lives may be endangered.”
Ohr appears to have acted as a go-between for communications between Steele and the Mueller investigation, although somewhat unsuccessfully. Steele complains:
“I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC (special counsel) colleagues on the issues you kindly put to them from me. We have heard nothing from them either. To say this is disappointing would be an understatement! Certain people have been willing to risk everything to engage with them in an effort to help them reach the truth. Also, we remain in the dark as to what work has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work.”
Reaching the Truth
The cat is slowly clawing its way out of the bag now, however. The Ohr notes revealed by Solomon and Carter have brought forth serious questions about FBI conduct in accepting Steele’s information through Ohr, as well as the DOJ employee’s own conflict of interest in promoting Steele’s dossier to the law enforcement while his wife had financial interests with Fusion GPS.
Ohr has been demoted by the DOJ twice for failing to declare his wife’s position in Fusion GPS, while the White House recently intimated that Ohr’s security clearance may be revoked in short order. He is also scheduled to face a private interview with the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees on August 28.
“We are going to get to the bottom of what he did, why he did it, who he did it in concert with, whether he had the permission of the supervisors at the Department of Justice,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Fox News.
Since Ohr’s interview will be confidential, it is unclear what information may arise to aid the public in unraveling the seemingly endless knots in the tangled web that is the Trump-Russian collusion investigation.