You can almost smell the fear in the Get Trump camp that Bruce Ohr might be the thread that could be pulled to unravel the conspiracy of high-ranking officials to spy on the Trump campaign and then, after the election, put into action the “insurance policy” Peter Strzok mentioned to his mistress (and co-worker) Lisa Page in an August 2016 text message, to remove a duly elected president from office.
The New York Times, which serves as a pilot fish for the rest of the media, has been working hard to minimize the damage he might do. On August 17, as Ohr’s name was being introduced to inhabitants of the MSM bubble thanks to a threat by President Trump to remove his security clearance, the Times outright lied about his position in the Department of Justice, calling him a “midlevel” official in the DOJ. This lie was picked up and repeated in many other articles and was used on cable news reports extensively, thereby falsely branding him as a minor player caught up and persecuted by Trump and anyone else paying attention.
Ohr was, prior to his demotion, the top-ranked career official (i.e., not a political appointee) in the Justice Department. While the Times has not (so far as I have been able to discover) issued an official correction for this lie, the day before yesterday, it called him a “senior career Justice Department official” and yesterday, in its report on the hearing (didn’t the Times cover this itself?), ran an Associated Press report that called him “a high-ranking official in the deputy attorney general’s office” but identified his significance in the lede as “[a] longtime government lawyer who has become a central figure in President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the Russia investigation.” Other media went along with this Ohr-as-victim party line; CNN, for instance, called him the “Justice Department official in Trump’s crosshairs.”
One side benefit of Ohr’s appearance is that we now finally have more than one picture of Ohr. Up until yesterday, the sole picture of the former number-four official in the Obama Justice Department was from the ceremony accompanying an award he had received years ago. Here is a new head shot taken from Fox News video of his arrival:
There are two closely related dangers for the bureaucratic, political, and media coalition that seeks to eject Trump from the body politic and teach the lesson to any future potential disruptor of the Establishment that such a mission is both dangerous and futile.
The first danger is exposure of the Obama administration’s spying on the candidate running against its designated successor, Hillary Clinton. As many have noted, this is the same motive as the Watergate burglary, only of a magnitude a thousand times greater. The ability of the NSA to monitor every form of electronic communication (except ham radio – as employed by Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie) means that virtually all significant information in the Trump campaign was available, so long as the officials in question were in communication with one of the people named in the FISA warrants obtained by the cabal operatives.
The second danger is that it is becoming increasingly clear that the Mueller special counsel probe is the direct outgrowth of the cabal’s efforts to gin up unfounded allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Bruce Ohr’s role in this effort may be critical because he violated Department of Justice procedures and kept his supervisors ignorant of his serving as a cut-out, then continuing to utilize Democrat-commissioned, Russian-sourced unsubstantiated information in the Steele Dossier in obtaining four warrants from the FISA Court. Ohr probably will face professional ruin and possibly prison time, especially if he gets caught in a perjury trap. He might even cut a deal to testify, if a prosecution is ever undertaken, by John Huber or anyone else.
The hearing at which Ohr testified was “closed door,” meaning no reporters and no cameras. No Democrat members of the two committees that held the hearing attended, though staffers of Democrats were allowed to ask questions. An amusing sidelight is that even though this was the first public appearance of Ohr, there didn’t seem to be a mob of reporters shouting questions at him as he entered and left. Fox News’s Catherine Herridge had no company as she gamely attempted to get Ohr to respond to her questions on his way in.
Two Republicans at the hearing have spoken out.
Darrell Issa was fairly forthcoming, speaking with Mollie Line of Fox News (full interview embedded below). He indicated that Ohr had disclosed to FBI officials his wife’s work for Fusion GPS and named names, but this didn’t get back to the DOJ and his bosses, apparently, and never made it into the FISA warrants. This is ammunition to squeeze those officials (Peter Strzok? Sally Yates? others?) about their roles in defrauding the FISA Court.
Issa noted that “Bruce has a poor memory” that enabled him to avoid outright refusals to answer questions.
Issa also said (transcript by author):
As an attorney he did something he never should have done: he became part of the continuity of evidence; he became a fact witness … became part of an investigation that was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton, and pursued by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who obviously had real hatred for the president.
Issa also said that Ohr admitted this (back-channel communication) had never happened in his 30-year career.
Gregg Jarrett of Fox News, author of the best-selling book The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, explains the role of Ohr:
Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr bypassed his superiors at the Justice Department and worked covertly with Steele to exploit what became known as the “Steele dossier.” Sixty-three pages of texts, emails and handwritten notes show extensive contacts between Ohr and Steele both before and after the election.
Even after Steele was fired by the FBI for lying about his contacts with reporters, Ohr maintained intensive communications with Steele. The former British spy kept feeding his bogus information while simultaneously fretting to Ohr that his actions might be “exposed.”
It was a direct violation of FBI procedures to use a discredited source who had also broken an agreement with the FBI. To circumvent its rules, the bureau used Ohr as a conduit to continue its relationship with Steele.
It appears that Ohr would communicate with Steele, then endeavor to pass on the information to the FBI. Peter Strzok, the FBI’s lead investigator in the Trump-Russia probe, confirmed in his congressional testimony that “the FBI received documents and material from Mr. Ohr.”
Ohr knew that Steele was a nefarious and unreliable character. Records show that in September of 2016 Steele told Ohr that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
Given such an acute bias and motivation to lie, all contact with Steele should have been terminated and his “dossier” tossed in the garbage. However, both Ohr and the FBI were determined to use Steele and his unverified documents to damage Trump.
It is important to note that Steele was not only receiving money from the Clinton campaign. He was also on the payroll of the FBI from January 1, 2016 to November 1, 2016. Records obtained by Judicial Watch through a lawsuit reveal that he was paid eleven times when he met with the FBI.