CNN is downplaying the release of a dozen “302” memos that document how Bruce Ohr illicitly passed information between Christopher Steele and the FBI. These memos were used to self-substantiate the dossier to the FISA court, convincing the judges to issue and renew the wiretap on Carter Page.
There’s nothing to see here, move along, CNN advises. They don’t want you to realize it’s the smoking gun that makes Watergate look like the third-rate burglary it really was. “The disclosure of the memos on Thursday largely retreads and aligns with what Ohr and others have told House committees.”
CNN is very careful not to say much about what the memos mean, other than they “highlight how Ohr wanted to share information with the FBI and how the FBI was gathering leads on Russians and the Trump campaign.” They make it sound so meaningless and boring.
The story of Bruce and Nellie Ohr took a long time to unfold. Report after report filled in pieces of the puzzle. By August of 2018, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California was convinced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice had what lawyers call, “exculpatory evidence.” That is “a statement, tending to excuse, justify, or absolve the alleged fault or guilt of a defendant.”
They hid it from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. On purpose. The FISA court judges were deciding on whether or not to wiretap Carter Page.
Legal commentator Gregg Jarrett explains, “The FBI has become America’s secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment, and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.”
Nunes felt that the judges deciding whether or not a wiretap would be granted “should have been presented with this exculpatory evidence.” He had personally seen it. “There is exculpatory evidence that we have seen, classified documents that need to be declassified.” They just were. A year ago, Nunes predicted, “Bruce Ohr is going to become more and more important in this investigation, and I think people should pay close attention to it.”
Legally, the “Brady Rule” requires prosecutors to disclose all the information they have, even if it weakens their case. Nunes pointed out that Republicans had been saying for a long time that “the FBI and Justice Department misled the FISA Court, by relying heavily on the unverified and democrat-funded dossier to obtain four FISA warrants on Page.”
The redacted versions of court documents used to prove “that Page met with two Kremlin insiders during a July 2016 trip to Moscow” and that “Page was directly involved in a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian government to influence the election,” are especially important.
Everyone suspected that lurking under the censor blocks are things that only could have come from connections between Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele.
As Nunes mentioned to Hannity, even though “the FBI severed ties with Steele, Ohr provided information from his 12 meetings with Steele back to the FBI.”
That seems very possible considering that his wife, Nellie Ohr, “also worked during the campaign for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele in June 2016.”
Agents made official records documenting all the information Ohr fed them. They’re called “302 reports,” where agents record all their interview notes. By presenting these 302’s to the FISA court, third-party hearsay could have been recycled into first-party sworn evidence.
Bruce Ohr, the fourth-highest ranking official in the Department of Justice, had meetings with Steele both before and after the election. The ones following President Trump’s victory were certainly held “after the FBI ended its relationship with Steele.”
Steele “kept supplying allegations to the FBI after the 2016 election, even though by that point he was terminated as a source by the bureau for giving confidential information to the media,” the Washington Examiner reports.
It has been well established that Simpson was hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee to dig up any Russian “dirt” on Donald Trump to be found. Simpson hired former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele for the shovel work.
Memos, notes, and messages spell out how unverified “opposition research funded by his rival’s campaign, the DNC, and the DNC’s main law firm, Perkins Coie” was used as the core evidence to open investigations and obtain wire taps.
When Steele got back from Russia, he contacted his old friend Ohr. On July 1, 2016, he texted, “There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favorite business tycoon!”
For days later, he walked into the FBI branch office in Rome, Italy, to turn over his now infamous “dossier.” Ohr and Steele talked on Skype then met in Washington, D.C. at the Mayflower Hotel, on July 30, 2016. Ohr was accompanied by his wife Nellie who worked at Fusion GPS and was directly involved in the “Trump-Russia research project.”
“Steele offered Ohr many other theories over their contacts, including a now widely discredited one that the Russian Alfa Bank had a computer server as a link to the Trump campaign.” In October of 2016, the FBI used uncorroborated information to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to monitor Carter Page. It was renewed at least three times, yet Page was never charged. At least one of those warrants was approved by Ohr’s supervisor, Sally Yates.
Steele was banned from participating in the investigation in early November of 2016, just before the election, because he leaked like a sieve. “The bureau concluded on Nov. 1, 2016, that he leaked information to the news media and was ‘not suitable for use’ as a confidential source,” Ohr’s records show.
They also verify that “the FBI specifically instructed Steele that he could no longer ‘operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI.”
Ohr’s notes document a meeting on November 21, 2016, with Peter Strzok, then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and “another agent.” Ohr noted the FBI officials told him they “may go back to Chris” even though they weren’t supposed to.
After that meeting, Ohr appears to have become a stand-in substitute for Christopher Steele. When the FBI wanted to use something from the dossier, they interviewed Ohr, took a 302 report to legitimize the evidence as first party testimony instead of the third-party hearsay it was said to be, and used it like real evidence.
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After President Trump was sworn into office, On January 31, 2017, Steele and Ohr had an extended text conversation. Sally Yates had just been fired for insubordination. “B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY,” Steele typed. He was worried that Ohr might be next out the door and wondered who he should use as a backdoor channel if anything went south. “Just want to check you are okay, still in the site and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.” Steele already knew about Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Ohr was reassuring. “I’m still here and able to help as discussed, I’ll let you know if that changes.” Steele wasn’t very reassured. “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.”