Virtually everyone at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department involved in the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of candidate Donald Trump knew from the beginning that the investigation, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” was based on shaky opposition research compiled by a Trump-hating former British spy and funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Bruce Ohr, the demoted associate attorney general, testified to Congress last August that he repeatedly warned top officials at the FBI and DOJ about Steele’s bias and Fusion GPS’s conflicts of interest, yet this information was kept hidden from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
And to add insult to injury, instead of investigating the officials who actively participated in the dossier hoax, Special Counsel Robert Mueller hired several of them to be on his team to investigate President Trump.
Steele, a former MI6 operative, was hired by Fusion GPS to find dirt on Trump after he clinched the Republican nomination.
The FBI fired him in the Fall of 2016 for lying, but the FBI and Justice Department officials nevertheless wrote in the FISA application that he was a reliable source.
Ohr kept top officials at both the FBI and Department of Justice apprised of his conversations with Steele both before and after the former British spy was fired as an informant.
On July 5, the very day of then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference on Hillary Clinton’s emails, Steele flew to Rome to meet an old FBI contact, according to reports.
Later that month, he met with Ohr, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel reported, based on leaked transcripts confirmed by congressional sources.
Mr. Ohr testified that he sat down with dossier author Christopher Steele on July 30, 2016, and received salacious information the opposition researcher had compiled on Mr. Trump. Mr. Ohr immediately took that to the FBI’s then-Deputy Director Andy McCabe and lawyer Lisa Page. In August he took it to Peter Strzok, the bureau’s lead investigator. In the same month, Mr. Ohr believes, he briefed senior personnel in the Justice Department’s criminal division: Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz, lawyer Zainab Ahmad and fraud unit head Andrew Weissman. The last two now work for special counsel Robert Mueller.
Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were also hired to work on Mueller’s team after being involved with Crossfire Hurricane, but had to be removed after the DOJ inspector general discovered their extreme anti-Trump bias in text messages.
Ohr testified that he stressed that the information he was sharing came from Trump’s political opponents in the Clinton camp and warned that it was unverified and likely biased.
“When I provided [the Steele information] to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information,” he testified. “I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware. These guys were hired by somebody relating to—who’s related to the Clinton campaign, and be aware.”
He also told the team that Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected” and that his own wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that compiled the dossier.
According to a leaked transcript of Ohr’s closed-door testimony to the joint House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees last Aug. 28, he waved all these red flags well before the FBI filed its October application for a surveillance warrant against Carter Page.
Question: “So, the record is clear, what the Department of Justice and the FBI was aware of prior to the first FISA application was your relationship with Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, your wife’s relationship with Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, Mr. Steele’s bias against Donald Trump, Mr. Simpson’s bias against Donald Trump, your wife’s compensation for work for Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, correct?”
Ohr later added: “I told them that Chris Steele was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected.”
Democrats on the committee, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calf.), have falsely claimed that Steele’s conversations with the FBI “occurred weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FlSA application.”
Schiff was emphatic that Bruce Ohr did not meet w/ FBI officials regarding Chris Steele and the dossier until *after* FBI obtained Carter Page FISA. Turns out Schiff was completely wrong, per Ohr's testimony. https://t.co/WYNJeyOquI pic.twitter.com/aDkhA4030W
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 17, 2019
Strassel points out that a May 2018 New York Times report echoed the Democrats’ disinformation, saying Steele’s reports didn’t reach the Crossfire Hurricane team until “mid-September.”
As Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett noted, none of the information in Steele’s reports was verified by Ohr before he passed it on.
Steele refused to provide his alleged sources to Ohr. Most were anonymous and the information Steele collected was based on double and triple hearsay.
In British court documents, Steele himself confessed that his document was “unverifiable.”
Ohr admitted that the Steele dossier could never be used in a court of law. Yet, that is exactly what the FBI and Justice Department did. Their application to the FISA Court was based largely on information provided by Steele that they had failed to verify.
The five top DOJ and FBI officials who signed off on the four successive warrant applications — James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Justice Department officials Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein — appear to have violated statutes.
Jarrett points out that “FBI regulations strictly prohibit inaccurate or unverified information in FISA warrant applications” and the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide says that “only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications to the (FISA) court.”
Beyond the regulations, it can be a felony to conceal relevant information and deceive the FISA Court. A half dozen statutes make it a crime to perpetrate a fraud on a court, including Deprivation of Rights (18 USC 242), Perjury (18 USC 1621 and 1623), and False Statements (18 USC 1001). Several obstruction of justice and fraud statutes would be applicable, as well.
The fact that two alumni of the corrupt Crossfire Hurricane investigation — Zainab Ahmad and Andrew Weissmann — are now top deputies on Mueller’s team is an outrageous travesty.
As Strassel commented in her WSJ report, the “conflicts of interest boggle the mind.”
On Fox News’ Hannity Thursday night, author and attorney Sidney Powell said it wouldn’t surprise her if Weissmann helped draft the FISA applications.
“This kind of fabrication is right up Mr. Weissmann’s alley,” said Powell, whose book Licensed to Lie exposed Weissmann’s past prosecutorial malfeasance. “He’s very good at making up crimes and making up the factual narrative he wants to suit whatever crime he wants to charge.”
She said Mueller should actually be investigating all of those people instead of the Trump campaign, and called their lies to the FISA court “egregious government misconduct.”