|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Fusion GPS Leaders: Chris Steele Hired Us First ‐ to Find Manafort Dirt for Russian Oligarch|
|[Breitbart] Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the infamous "pee dossier" on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, was first hired by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to obtain damaging information on Paul Manafort ‐ weeks before the firm hired him to produce his now-discredited, conspiracy-weaving dossier.|
The explosive admission was made by Fusion GSP co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch in the pair’s recently-released book ‐ Crime in Progress ‐ and highlighted in a Monday report by American Greatness.
"Weeks before Trump tapped Manafort to run his campaign, Christopher Steele had hired Fusion for help investigating Manafort," write Fritsch and Simpson. "The matter had nothing to do with politics and was a typical commercial assignment."
The Fusion GPS co-founders say their firm cut a nominal agreement to "research Manafort’s finances" for a client of Steele, now infamous for authoring a dossier alleging collusion between President Trump and the Kremlin.
Fritsch and Simpson contend that the retired Secret Intelligence Service MI6 agent’s client was Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Deripaska sought to determine whether Manafort had stolen money from him, according to the book.
"[Christopher Steele] did not disclose the ultimate client for the job, and Fusion didn’t press the issue," claim the Fusion GSP co-founders.
American Greatness notes of the Fusion GPS-Steele deal: "That means Glenn Simpson represented not one but two Russian tycoons in 2016: At the same time Fusion was helping Steele on behalf of Deripaska, Simpson also was representing Prevezon, another company owned by a Putin-tied Russian also under investigation by the Justice Department for money laundering."
Notably, a timeline of events shows Fusion GPS’s investigation into Manafort occurred while they sought dirt on the 2016 Trump campaign.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Memos from Steele dossier made their way ‘directly' to Soetoro|
|[World Tribune] A new book by the founders of Fusion GPS reveals that then-President Barack Obama received the memos that made up the unverified anti-Trump dossier.|
The Hoover Institution’s Paul Sperry tweeted: "BREAKING: In new book "Crime in Progress," set for release next month, #Spygate archvillain Glenn Simpson reveals that he was first hired to investigate Trump in "the fall of 2015" and that memos from his now-discredited Steele dossier made their way directly "to President Obama".
Simpson and Peter Fritsch are the founders of Fusion GPS, the political opposition research firm that oversaw the compilation of the dossier by ex-British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier contained numerous allegations that the Trump campaign was aided by Russian government operatives. None of the allegations have been proven.
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election hid their payments to Fusion GPS and Steele through their law firm Perkins Coie.
Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS who then paid Steele to compile the dossier.
Though the FBI knew the dossier was unverified, the bureau nonetheless used it has key evidence in its counterintelligence investigation into the campaign and in obtaining FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign associates.
Publishing giant Random House announced that the book, titled Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump, will be released on Nov. 26.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Devin Nunes accuses Fusion GPS of racketeering in federal lawsuit|
|[Washington Examiner] Congressman Devin Nunes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against opposition research firm Fusion GPS, its founder Glenn Simpson, and left-leaning watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, accusing them of "racketeering" and interfering with his congressional Trump-Russia investigation.|
Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee until Democrats won the majority in 2018, claimed that Simpson, Fusion GPS, and the Campaign for Accountability illegally conspired to "harass" him in an attempt to "hinder, delay, prevent, or dissuade" him from looking into issues surrounding the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and to scare him off from investigating possible wrongdoing by Simpson and Fusion GPS.
The California Republican is asking the judge to award him $9.9 million in damages.
The 35-page complaint Nunes filed in the Eastern District of Virginia today pointed to a Daily Caller article from early August that revealed the Campaign for Accountability hired Fusion GPS as an "independent contractor" in 2018 and paid the firm close to $140,000 for research. And the Nunes lawsuit alleged the watchdog group and the opposition research firm then colluded to target him and stymie his efforts, pointing to three ethics complaints filed by the Campaign for Accountability allegedly "in concert with" Fusion GPS in an effort to "chill reporting of Fusion GPS and Simpson’s wrongdoing" and to dissuade Nunes from making criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
Nunes described Fusion GPS as "a political war room for hire that specializes in dirty tricks and smears" and the Campaign for Accountability as a "dark money, partisan, left-wing" nonprofit that he said targets mainly conservatives.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|DOJ's Bruce Ohr Shared Email Address with Fusion GPS Contractor Wife|
|[Breitbart] While he was a high-ranking career Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr maintained a joint email account with his wife, Nellie, who was a contractor for the controversial Fusion GPS firm that produced the infamous, largely-discredited anti-Trump dossier, according to recently released testimony.|
In a section of the testimony that remains largely unreported by the news media, Nellie Ohr admitted that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson "occasionally" sent messages to the joint email account that she shared with her husband.
In his own testimony, Bruce Ohr recounted maintaining direct contact with dossier author Christopher Steele even after the former British spy was terminated as an FBI source over reports that Steele was communicating with reporters. In doing so, Ohr lent credibility to a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo alleging that he served as a back-channel between the FBI and Christopher Steele, who penned the dossier for Fusion GPS.
The dossier was financed by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the DNC via the Perkins Coie law firm, which in turn funded Fusion GPS.
During Bruce’s time at the Justice Department, Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS, where she was conducting research looking for connections between Russia and members of Donald Trump’s campaign, including Trump himself as well as the politician’s family, Nellie Ohr testified.
During the course of her testimony, reviewed in full by Breitbart News, Nellie Ohr divulged that she maintained a joint email account with her husband and that Simpson sent emails to that account. The October 19, 2018 testimony before a joint session of the House Judiciary and Government Reform and Oversight committees was released last week.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Dossier-Tied Firm Pitches Reporters Daily on 'Collusion'|
|[REALCLEARPOLITICS] Key Democratic operatives and private who tried to derail ’s campaign by claiming he was a tool of the Kremlin have rebooted their operation since his election with a multimillion-dollar stealth campaign to persuade major media outlets and s that the president should be impeached.|
The effort has successfully placed a series of questionable stories alleging secret back channels and meetings between Trump associates and Russian spies, while influencing related investigations and reports from Congress.
The operation’s nerve center is a Washington-based nonprofit called The Democracy Integrity Project, or TDIP. Among other activities, it pumps out daily "research" briefings to prominent Washington journalists, as well as congressional staffers, to keep the Russia "collusion" narrative alive.
TDIP is led by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI investigator, Clinton administration volunteer and top staffer to Democratic Sen. . It employs the key opposition-research figures behind the salacious and unverified dossier: Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and ex-British intelligence officer . Its financial backers include the actor/director Rob Reiner and billionaire activist The project’s work has been largely shrouded in mystery. But a months-long examination by RealClearInvestigations, drawn from documents and more than a dozen interviews, found that the organization is running an elaborate media-influence operation that includes driving and shaping daily coverage of the Russia collusion theory, as well as pushing stories about Trump in the national media that attempt to tie the president or his associates to the Kremlin.
The group also feeds information to FBI and congressional , and then tells s that authorities are investigating those leads. The tactic adds credibility to TDIP’s pitches, luring big media outlets to bite on stories. It mirrors the strategy federal authorities themselves deployed to secure FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign: citing published news reports of investigative details their informants had leaked to the media to bolster their wiretap requests.
|-Land of the Free|
|Bruce Ohr Transcripts Revealed Political Operatives Got The FBI To Investigate The NRA|
|[The Federalist] Friday’s release of a transcript of Bruce Ohr’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee revealed several new tidbits. It also raised serious concerns that fake claims of collusion pushed by Glenn Simpson and Democratic opposition research shop Fusion GPS prompted the launch of not one, but two federal investigations: the Russia collusion investigation and investigations into the National Rifle Association (NRA).|
During his day-long testimony last August, Ohr, then an associate deputy attorney general, explained his involvement‐or non-involvement, if he is to be believed‐in the Russia-collusion investigation. Ohr testified that he knew former MI6 spy and dossier author Christopher Steele for more than a decade and was acquainted with Steele’s boss, Fusion GPS head Simpson, for many years.
Ohr further explained that from July 30, 2016 until November 2017, both Steele and Simpson provided him "intel" related to supposed collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign. Ohr then passed this information on to the FBI, where it was used to, among other things, obtain FISA court orders to surveil and otherwise target the Trump campaign team.
But in an abbreviated aside, Ohr causally revealed one communique with Simpson that indicates the Fusion GPS founder pushed another false story that unleashed multiple federal investigations into the NRA.
During questioning, Ohr stated that Simpson mentioned "that Cleta Mitchell became aware of money moving through the NRA or something like that from Russia." Ohr added that Simpson claimed that Mitchell‐a D.C. attorney specializing in campaign-finance law and a former member of the NRA board of directors‐"was upset about it." But when asked how Simpson found out about Mitchell, Ohr testified, "I don’t think he said."
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Devin Nunes sniffing out 'chain of custody' of dossier and Clinton ties with 32-person list|
|[Washington Insider] The House Intelligence Committee's top Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes, has a tall list of people he still wants to interview about the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton, and the Russian interference.|
The list of 32 names has been submitted to the Democratic majority of the panel, and includes the likes of Sidney Blumenthal, a key Clinton ally, former Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan, and Robby Mook, Clinton's 2016 campaign chairman.
Nunes said Sunday it is imperative to speak with them because of their ties to the infamous Trump dossier, which contained compromising, yet unverified claims about President Trump's ties to Russia. Compiled in 2016, the research effort was conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and was funded in part by Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
"Why would people in the Clinton campaign be tweeting out messages about [President] Trump's involvement with Russia? It's because they had the dossier," Nunes said during an interview on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures." "They were promoting this message, this dirt, out there in 2016, and we need to ask these Clinton campaign people where they got it from. Did they get it from Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS the dossier they were paying for or do they get it from some Russian friends?"
The list, which also includes Simpson, stems from an exhaustive roll of names Nunes sent to a GOP task force of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee's last year, which included Clinton allies, current and former Justice Department and FBI officials connected to the Russia investigation, as well as people who served in the White House or State Department under the Obama administration. There were roughly 42 names in all.
"These names are all-important because we need to know if these people were involved in the chain of custody of the dossier," Nunes said. "The dossier makes claims that this information came from Russians, so all the names that are on this list that we didn't get to last year that still need to be interviewed if we're really looking for Russian collusion we need to know if any of those people were actually talking to Russians on behalf of the Clinton campaign or any other operative."
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Whoa Nellie! Bruce Ohr Passed On A Third Trump Dossier From His Wife To The FBI|
|[Red State] Prior to his role as a liaison between Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and the FBI, Bruce Ohr held the fourth highest position at the Department of Justice. Once his involvement with Fusion GPS (where his wife worked) became known to top DOJ officials, he received two demotions because "DOJ ethics regulations forbid department officials from working on cases where a spouse has a financial interest." Ohr admitted he had been aware of this rule at the time.|
Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, was hired as an independent contractor by Glenn Simpson, the founder of political opposition research firm Fusion GPS. As you all know, the DNC and the Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS (by funneling funds through Washington, D.C. law firm Perkins Coie) to create the infamous Trump dossier. Fusion hired former British spy Christopher Steele to create the dossier. Steele and Nellie Ohr worked on the project together.
It is well known that Bruce Ohr played a key role in passing Steele’s unverified research to top level FBI officials including Andrew McCabe starting in July 2016. In August, he passed on an even sketchier Trump dossier, which had been prepared by Glenn Simpson, to the FBI.
The Hill’s John Solomon has just reported the existence of a third Trump dossier which had been created by Nellie Ohr. Naturally, Bruce Ohr delivered this document to the FBI as well.
This new information was revealed during Bruce Ohr’s closed door hearing before Congress last August. Although transcripts from this hearing have not been made public, the relevant portion has been leaked. Below are the key excerpts from Ohr’s testimony.
Closely related: The Hill - The family secret Bruce Ohr told Rod Rosenstein about Russia case
|Home Front: Politix|
|The Schiff-Simpson Meeting|
|[TheHill] The new House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), has proven to be his party’s most effective antagonist toward President Trump. And now, with the new powers of being chairman, he is drawing both new weapons and new scrutiny.|
Sometimes such scrutiny inevitably turns to questions of hypocrisy.
Which bring us to the issue of some photographs taken at the prestigious Aspen security conference last July.
They show Schiff meeting at the event with Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson, one of the key and most controversial figures in the Russia collusion scandal. Both men insisted to me through spokesmen that they met only briefly last July.
When confronted with the Aspen conference photos of Schiff, in sport coat and open-neck dress shirt, and Simpson, wearing casual attire, representatives for both men tried to minimize their discussion, insisting nothing substantive about the Russia case was discussed.
Simpson has become a Forrest Gump-like character who keeps showing up in so many different places in the Russia scandal: He’s the owner of the company that was paid by Clinton for the Steele dossier, the guy who hired Steele to create the dossier, the one who met with Ohr at the Justice Department, who pitched reporters writing Trump dirt at the end of the campaign and who met with the Russian woman and an American lobbyist at the heart of the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
And then, he shows up with Schiff in Aspen.
"It’s interesting that Simpson is at the heart of the dossier and the dossier played a mighty role in not only going after Carter Page but in much of Adam’s and Eric Swalwell’s [D-Calif.] quest to find collusion, that [Schiff] would in fact in that exact same conversation, or time frame, be in conversation or appear to be in conversation with the guy who’s principally responsible for the dossier," [Rep. Mike, (R), Tex.] Conaway said.
Whatever happened in Aspen won’t stay in Aspen much longer. Expect Republicans in Washington to launch some questions at the House’s new Intelligence Committee chairman.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Nellie Ohr Invokes Marital Privilege To Avoid Testifying About Her Husband|
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Bruce Ohr's efforts to secretly reshape the Trump probe started earlier in summer '16|
|[The Hill] July and August 2016 one day may be remembered as the infamous summer of Steele and Ohr.|
That’s because new evidence shows former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr’s efforts to influence the FBI’s Russia probe ‐ on behalf of Donald Trump‐despising British spy Christopher Steele ‐ started much earlier than previously described.
For much of the past year, many in Congress have labored under the notion that Ohr, then the No. 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) official, began assisting the FBI’s probe into Russia election collusion only after Trump won the 2016 election.
Lawmakers’ belief was rooted in reports showing Ohr’s first documented interview with FBI agents occurred in November 2016, and in testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who mentioned Ohr’s involvement in the probe as starting after Thanksgiving 2016.
But now, based on Ohr’s own account in a closed-door congressional interview and other contemporaneous documents, congressional investigators have learned that Ohr made his first contact with the FBI about Trump-Russia collusion evidence in late July and early August 2016. And his approach was prompted by information he got from his friend, the former British intelligence agent Steele.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Kim Strassel: What Bruce Ohr Told Congress He warned the FBI that Steele had credibility problems. The bureau forged ahead anyhow.|
|[WSJ] To believe most media descriptions of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, he is a nonentity, unworthy of the attention President Trump has given him. This is remarkable, given that Mr. Ohr spent Tuesday confirming for Congress its worst suspicions about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s abuse of its surveillance and sourcing rules.|
If Mr. Ohr is only now under the spotlight, it’s because it has taken so much effort to unpack his role in the FBI’s 2016 investigation of the Trump campaign. Over the past year, congressional investigators found out that Mr. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that gave its infamous dossier, funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. They then discovered that Mr. Ohr had numerous interactions of his own with Fusion chief Glenn Simpson and dossier author Christopher Steele, and that he passed on information from these talks to the bureau. So the G-men were being fed the dossier allegations from both the outside and the inside.
Commonly referred to as multi-source HUMINT reporting.
This week’s news is that Mr. Ohr’s deliveries to the FBI came with a caveat. Congress already knew that Mr. Ohr had been aware of Mr. Steele’s political biases. In notes Mr. Ohr took of a September 2016 conversation with Mr. Steele, he wrote that the dossier author "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." Congressional sources tell me that Mr. Ohr revealed Tuesday that he verbally warned the FBI that its source had a credibility problem, alerting the bureau to Mr. Steele’s leanings and motives. He also informed the bureau that Mrs. Ohr was working for Fusion and contributing to the dossier project.
By the way, is there any vital bits you'd like Nellie to plug into the document ?
Mr. Ohr said, moreover, that he delivered this information before the FBI’s first application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant against Trump aide Carter Page, in October 2016. Yet the FBI made no mention of this warning in the application, instead characterizing Mr. Steele as a "reliable" source. Nor does the application note that a senior Justice Department official’s spouse was contributing to the dossier and benefiting financially from a document the FBI was using in an investigation. That matters both because the FBI failed to flag the enormous conflict and because Mr. Steele’s work product potentially wasn’t entirely his own.
Of course it wasn't entirely his own. Nellie Ohr and seniors at the FBI were his ghost writers.
No reference to Mr. Ohr‐direct or cloaked‐can be found in any of the four applications for Page warrants, according to those who have seen them. This despite his more than a dozen conversations with FBI agents over the course of the probe that addressed the content in and sourcing behind the surveillance applications. I’m told Mr. Ohr made clear that these conversations variously included all the heavyweights in the FBI investigation‐former lead investigator Peter Strzok, former FBI senior lawyer Lisa Page, and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. So senior people were very aware of his role, information and conflict.
Yes, I suppose you could call it a creative awareness.
All this is what Republicans are referring to when they hint that the Ohr interview provided solid evidence that the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "Before yesterday, we thought the FBI and DOJ had not disclosed material facts they were aware of in the FISA application. If Bruce Ohr testified truthfully, we now know that to be the case," Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas tweeted Wednesday. (The Justice Department declined to comment, citing an inspector-general investigation.)
As for Mr. Ohr’s interaction with the FBI, he told congressional investigators this week that while initially he reached out to the FBI, the bureau also later came looking for information about Mr. Steele. That outreach happened after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a source in October 2016 for violating bureau rules about talking to media. So even after having been warned of Mr. Steele’s motivations, even after having fired him for violating the rules, the FBI continued to seek his information‐using Mr. Ohr as a back channel. This surely violates the FBI manual governing interaction with confidential human sources.
In intelligence community parlance, Ohr became a 'cutout.'
That Mr. Ohr came shopping the Steele info should have on its own set off FBI alarm bells. Mr. Steele was already in direct contact with the FBI by early July. Why would Mr. Steele then go to work on a Justice Department source, and refunnel the same allegations to the bureau? The likely answer is that the Fusion crowd wanted to exert maximum pressure on the FBI to act. Had the FBI bothered to try to find out what was behind such a pressure campaign, it might have stumbled upon the obvious answer: politics.
Why settle for one source payment when you can have multiple payments ?
Unless it didn’t care. The evidence continues to mount that the FBI didn’t want to know about bias, or about conflicts of interest, or about the political paymasters behind the dossier‐and it certainly didn’t want the surveillance court to know. It wanted to investigate Donald Trump.