Senior DOJ and FBI Officials Were Told Steele Dossier Had Clinton Origins
Ex-Director Comey has all but denied knowing that the Steele Dossier, the Clinton campaign conspiracy theory employed by the FBI, had its origins in the Clinton campaign. Or at the very least, he's dismissed it as irrelevant.
So there are two revelations in this John Solomon story.
1. Bruce Ohr, whose wife worked on anti-Trump material for Fusion GPS, the smear firm hired by the Clinton campaign to create the Russia conspiracy theory, and who then passed it to her husband, had actually briefed senior DOJ and FBI officials on its origin.
2. The FISA application chose to censor that information anyway.
When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.
The then-No. 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.
Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.
At the time, Ohr was the associate attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtained from a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.
This makes it all too clear that the entire process was corrupt.
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.
Those he briefed included Andrew Weissmann, then the head of DOJ’s fraud section; Bruce Swartz, longtime head of DOJ’s international operations, and Zainab Ahmad, an accomplished terrorism prosecutor who, at the time, was assigned to work with Lynch as a senior counselor.
Ahmad and Weissmann would go on to work for Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia probe.
And the corruption had made its way into the Mueller coup.