Recently, Republican lawmakers indicated that Bruce Ohr, the former Associate Deputy Attorney General, is becoming more central to their investigation of the soft coup against President Trump. Moreover, newly released emails and memos show that Ohr continued to receive information from former British spy Christopher Steele in 2017 after the FBI had supposedly terminated its relationship with Steele in 2016 for leaking to the media.
In fact, as I describe below, it was another Judicial Watch lawsuit that just uncovered FBI document showing that Steele was deemed unsuitable as a “Confidential Human Source” in November 2016. But that was no impediment to Ohr’s continuing to use him nor the FBI continuing to receive “information” from Steele through Ohr! Talk about corruption!
So, we’re in the thick of it. We just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for all communications from the offices of the Deputy Attorney General and the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force related to Bruce G. Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01854)).
Bruce Ohr remains Organized Crime Task Force Director. Until his dossier-related demotion, he was the fourth-ranked official at DOJ. The House Intelligence Committee memo released by Chairman Devin Nunes on February 2 says that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” and that Bruce Ohr passed along the results of that research, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The “salacious and unverified” dossier was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page.
We sued after the Justice Department failed to respond to our May 29, 2018, FOIA request for:
All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.
All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.
In March, we filed two lawsuits seeking records about the Ohrs’ involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. In June, the DOJ was ordered to begin searching and producing Fusion GPS records to Judicial Watch.
As this sordid scandal continues to unfold, it is increasingly clear that top DOJ official Bruce Ohr – working in conjunction with his wife and other Clinton-connected Fusion GPS actors – played a key role in laundering false information from Russia about Donald J. Trump. The DOJ must stop the stonewalling and release these documents, as the law requires.
Judicial Watch Battles in Court this Week for IRS Scandal Transparency
Using the FBI and CIA to fight its political opponents in the 2016 election was not a first for the Obama administration. It had a practice run in 2012 when Obama’s IRS targeted conservative groups severely enough to have possibly changed the election’s outcome.
We’re still seeking the truth in this misuse of federal power. We have just been granted the right to file an amicus curiae brief asking the court to unseal the depositions of former IRS officials Lois Lerner and Holly Paz. Permission was granted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Western Division).
Lerner and Paz played key roles in the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups opposed to Obama policies. A federal judge sealed their depositions after they claimed they had received threats. We have argued that the testimony transcripts may shed light on government misconduct, and the shielding of internal government deliberations does not serve the public’s interest.
Lerner and Paz asked the court to deny our December 14, 2017, motion for leave to submit an amicus curiae brief. In January 2018, we filed a reply brief asking the court to accept our amicus curiae brief (NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341)).
In our August 2018 brief, we point out that we have been at the forefront of the investigation into the IRS’s conduct:
We played a central role in uncovering the IRS scandal, in which Lerner and Paz were primary actors. We uncovered 41,100 pages of records. Our work led to the discovery of IRS collusion with the Mueller-run FBI to plan prosecutions of the very groups the Obama IRS was persecuting. We also uncovered the revelation that thousands of Ms. Lerner’s emails were destroyed by the IRS while our lawsuits and other investigations were pending.
The Deep State learned a lesson in 2012: Use federal agencies to attack your political opposition, and nobody will stop you. No wonder the CIA and FBI proceeded against Donald Trump with abandon.
Dossier Author Steele Was Deemed ‘Not Suitable For Use’ as Source
Judicial Watch continues to be the number one watchdog on the Deep State/Obama/Clinton collusion targeting President Trump.
The FBI recently turned over to us 70 pages of heavily redacted records about Christopher Steele, the former British spy hired with Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funds. Steele authored the infamous dossier targeting President Trump during last year’s presidential campaign.
The documents show that Steele was cut off as a “Confidential Human Source” (CHS) after he disclosed his relationship with the FBI to a third party. The documents show at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016 and document that he was admonished for unknown reasons in February 2016.
We forced out the documents thanks to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records of communications and payments between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00916)).
The documents include a “source closing communication” that states that Steele (referred to as “CHS” or Confidential Human Source) “is being closed” because:
These newly released documents show the shady, cash-based relationship the Obama FBI had with Clinton operative Christopher Steele. The anti-Trump Russia “investigation” had Christopher Steele at its center, and his misconduct was no impediment to using information from his Russia intelligence collaborators to spy on the Trump team. The corruption and abuse is astonishing.
Last week, a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit uncovered the FISA warrant documents used to justify spying on Carter Page. The warrants are controversial because the FISA court was never told that the key information justifying the requests came from a “dossier” that was created by Fusion GPS, a paid agent of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Fusion GPS hired Steele to create the dossier, and Steele is referenced repeatedly as “Source #1” in the warrants.
The initial Carter Page warrant was granted just weeks before the 2016 election. Steele and his “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.
Court Orders DOJ to Preserve Comey Personal Email
Last week, I reported to you that we asked the FBI to demand that James Comey preserve government records he may have taken with him when he left the FBI director’s office.
Now a federal court has ordered the Department of Justice to preserve federal records located in the personal email accounts of the fired FBI director. The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) and we had filed a motion asking the court to issue an order for preservation that was opposed by the Justice Department and FBI.
In the motion, we argued that, “There is reason to be concerned that the responsive records could be lost or destroyed.” We pointed out that in June 2018, the DOJ’s Inspector General stated, “We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business.” The Justice Department, in response to Judicial Watch’s concerns, said they sent Mr. Comey a letter asking him to preserve records but refused to make the letter available and opposed a preservation order.
In granting the motion for a preservation order, the court ruled:
In order to avoid any possible issues later in this litigation, the Court will GRANT [Judicial Watch’s] Motion. [The DOJ] is ORDERED to take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that any records that are potentially responsive to either of the Plaintiffs’ FOIA requests located on former Director Comey’s personal e-mail account are preserved. Although it contends that such an order is unnecessary, [the DOJ] has not explained why this preservation order would prejudice Defendant or cause any undue burden.
The filing comes in an April 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit we filed after the DOJ failed to respond to our May 2018 request and DCNF’s February 2018 request (Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00967)). The lawsuit is seeking:
The FBI has been playing shell games with Comey’s records and other records, so we’re pleased the court issued this preservation order. This preservation order helps to ensure no Comey records are going to be lost or destroyed. We expect the DOJ to take immediate steps to make sure the records are preserved, as the court ordered.
Until next week …
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton