In recently examined testimony from last summer, top DOJ official Bruce Ohr is discovered to have revealed that the now-infamous “Steele Dossier,” which was used to obtain wiretaps of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was related to Hillary Clinton’s rival camp.
Although the FBI has claimed differently, Ohr claimed in his testimony that both the FBI and the Justice Department were warned about Steele and his potential motives.
“I provided information to the FBI, when I thought Christopher Steele was […] desperate that Trump not be elected,” said Ohr, adding, “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”
Ohr later said he was concerned with possible “bias” due to Steele’s connection to the Clinton campaign, which he claims he warned both the DOJ and FBI about, as early as 2016.
The controversial dossier was used as the lynchpin into a series of investigations into then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, and further used at the center of the ongoing probe into allegations of collusion with Russia, helmed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
From The Hill:
A redacted version of the FISA application released last year shows the FBI did not mention any connection to the DNC or Clinton. Rather, it referred to Steele as a reliable source in past criminal investigations who was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm to conduct research on Trump and Russia.
The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that Steele was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the FBI “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.
Yet, in testimony last summer to congressional investigators, Ohr revealed the FBI and Justice lawyers had no need to speculate: He explicitly warned them in a series of contacts, beginning July 31, 2016, that Steele expressed biased against Trump and was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.
Ohr had firsthand knowledge about the motive and the client: He had just met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the same firm employing Steele.
“I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump,” Ohr told congressional investigators, adding that he warned the FBI that Steele expressed bias during their conversations.
“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected,” he added. “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”
When pressed why he would offer that information to the FBI, Ohr answered: “In case there might be any kind of bias or anything like that.” He added later, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”
Ohr went further, saying he disclosed to FBI agents that his wife and Steele were working for the same firm and that it was conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.
“These guys were hired by somebody relating to, who’s related to the Clinton campaign and be aware,” Ohr told Congress, explaining what he warned the bureau.
Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, belatedly admitted it paid Fusion GPS for Steele’s work on behalf of the candidate and party and disguised the payments as legal bills when, in fact, it was opposition research.
When asked if he knew of any connection between the Steele dossier and the DNC, Ohr responded that he believed the project was really connected to the Clinton campaign.
“I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC but I certainly said yes that they were working for, you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign,” he answered.