Justice Department official Bruce Ohr kept Andrew Weissmann — also known a special counsel Robert Mueller’s “pit bull” — informed about the anti-Trump dossier before and after the 2016 election, Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge reported on Thursday.
Besides Weissmann, according to Herridge’s two sources, Ohr also collaborated with former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, former deputy director Andrew McCabe, at least one other DOJ official, and a current FBI agent who worked with Strzok on the Russia case.
Ironically, one of the sources said Weissmann was kept “in the loop” on the fraudulent dossier while he was head of the criminal fraud division. Mueller went on to assign him to his special counsel team of “13 angry Democrats” (as President Trump calls them).
Weissman is a Democrat partisan who attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party and thanked then-acting attorney general Sally Yates in January 2017 after she defied President Trump’s travel ban order. Known to be an unscrupulous attorney who uses intimidating, hardball tactics, Weissmann has had several high-profile rulings overturned — but only after livelihoods were destroyed.
Former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova referred to Weissmann as a “Jack the Ripper-like” fiend in a recent segment on Fox News.
President Trump often complains bitterly on Twitter about the Mueller “witch hunt,” and of late, has been singling out Ohr and his wife Nellie, who worked for Fusion GPS in 2016, for special scorn.
Thursday morning Trump griped about Nellie Ohr’s Fusion work, tweeting: “Bruce was a boss at the Department of Justice and is, unbelievably, still there!”
Yes, Ohr is still there, but he seems to be cooperating with House investigators and filling in pieces of the “Spygate” puzzle. He was a fount of information during his closed-door hearing on Tuesday, giving House investigators “critical” information about FBI and DOJ malfeasance during the 2016 election. Republicans now know for a fact that FBI leadership knew Bruce and Nellie Ohr were involved with the dossier and its author — ex-British spy Christopher Steele — and left that critical information off of the applications for the FISA warrants to spy on Carter Page.
“When they went to court, the FBI knew three important things and they did not disclose this to the court,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said. “They knew the Ohrs’ involvement in the production of the dossier. They knew that Chris Steele had this extreme bias against the president. And they knew who paid for the dossier. And they did not disclose these key facts to the court when they went there to get the warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign.”
The “FISA memo” released by House Intelligence Committee Republicans in February, alleged that Steele “maintained contact” with Ohr “before and after” the government fired the dossier’s author as a source. “Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele,” the memo said. “For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.'”
Republicans know, thanks to his handwritten notes, that Ohr made a list including Page, Strzok, and an FBI agent two weeks after the election, perhaps in reference to a meeting. “No [prosecution] yet. Push case ahead on M. May go back to Chris,” he wrote.
Congressional investigators told Fox News they believe the “M” likely refers to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who recently was convicted on tax and bank fraud charges in Virginia, and the “Chris” is Christopher Steele.
That same month, Steele was fired by the FBI as a confidential source over his contact with the media about the dossier.
According to court records, an FBI memo also states that Weissmann met as early as April 2017 with a group of reporters about Manafort. The timing appears significant, coming one month before FBI Director James Comey was fired and Mueller was appointed to lead the special counsel team.
Democrats have, of course, been circling the wagons around Ohr, saying nothing he did was prohibited or unlawful. Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) wrote in a “fact check” given to reporters: “In fall 2016, the FBI ended their formal relationship with Mr. Steele as a confidential human source due to his unauthorized disclosures to the press — not because of any factual issues with the ‘dossier’ or other information Mr. Steele had provided.”
The Democrats continued: “When Mr. Steele subsequently reached out to Mr. Ohr with additional information, Mr. Ohr appropriately handed it off to FBI investigators to assess its credibility and potentially corroborate with other evidence. At the time, Mr. Ohr was the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and it was not his job to vet the accuracy of this information himself.”
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett and Fox News contributor Sara Carter reacted to the news about Ohr’s outreach to Weissmann and the others on “Hannity”:
“This is a dramatic and stunning development that should effectively end Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation,” Jarrett exclaimed. “In fact, he should immediately fire Andrew Weissmann and terminate his special counsel probe.”
He explained that the reason this new revelation is stunning is because Ohr has implicated half a dozen officials at the DOJ and FBI as well as Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann on the discredited dossier, which was the main component of the Russia hoax.
“Andrew Weissmann was in on the hoax!” Jarrett marveled. “So here you have Andrew Weissmann, who was involved in using false intelligence, a phony document, and now Weissmann — who is the main lawyer in the special counsel probe, whose tentacles are in every aspect of investigating Trump — was a participant, was complicit in using a false document to frame Donald Trump!”