A new report describes how the FBI continued to receive information from a British spy investigating then-candidate Donald Trump — after the bureau said it severed ties with him over a media leak — through Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.
The Hill’s John Solomon cited emails, memos, and text messages that have been provided to Congress in saying that Ohr was the FBI’s conduit to Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Trump dossier that contained scandalous but unverified claims.
The complicated web that made up the early days of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and whether it had been compromised by Russia involves the Clinton campaign, which paid for the dossier, Steele, several FBI agents and Department of Justice officials, Ohr, and his wife Nellie — who worked at the firm that hired Steele and who played a role in putting together the dossier.
Solomon included several messages between Ohr and Steele in his piece, which showed the relationship between the two men after the FBI officially cut ties with Steele because he leaked information about his dossier to a reporter. Here’s one text message exchange from Jan. 31, 2017 that occurred after Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates:
Steele: “Just want to check you are OK, still in the situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.”
Ohr: “I’m still here and able to help as discussed. I’ll let you know if that changes.”
Steele: “If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous.”
It’s unclear who “our guy” was.
Steele met with the Ohrs on July 30, 2016 in Washington, D.C. to talk about the dossier work. Afterward, Steele wrote this to Bruce Ohr:
“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce. Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s. Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”
“Glenn” referred to Glenn Simpson, co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS. That company was contracted by a law firm, which was hired by the Clinton campaign, to investigate Trump and put together the dossier.
The day after the meeting in Washington, FBI agent Peter Strzok opened a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign. Strzok has since come under fire for text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page that showed their distaste for Trump. The messages were sent while the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation was ongoing, and both worked on the probe.
Solomon claimed that Ohr took notes about his interactions with Steele and that the pair communicated more than 60 times.
The Department of Justice continues to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians via the special counsel probe, which has yet to produce evidence — at least publicly — that suggests an improper relationship between the two parties occurred.
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