One of the most startling revelations in the four-page FISA memo released late last week is that the wife of then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr was on the payroll of Fusion GPS while that company was manufacturing the Trump “dossier.” Ohr’s wife, Nellie, helped “in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” which was paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign. Ohr then provided the results of that opposition research to the FBI.
The revelation that a senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official and his wife were directly involved in the creation and dissemination of the Trump “dossier” introduces a number of questions. Was Nellie’s employment with Fusion GPS a payment for greater access to the higher levels of government? Would Nellie have even been employed by the firm if she were not married to a DOJ official? The answers to these questions become more obvious in consideration of the fact that House investigators discovered that Bruce Ohr had a personal meeting with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson while Ohr was still associate deputy attorney general. Ohr also had connections with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled the Trump “dossier” for Fusion GPS.
The opposition research that Nellie Ohr was gathering on Donald Trump while he was a candidate was paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign. While it is not known for certain what she contributed to the “dossier,” it is known that the FISA court was kept in the dark about her and her husband’s involvement when the document was used to obtain a surveillance warrant for Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. That “dossier” was also at ground zero of the “Trump/Russia collusion” investigation that eventually became the Mueller probe.
While Democrats — after having failed to keep the memo from being made public — have focused on the part of the memo that mentions George Papadopoulos, claiming that it proves collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, they have either downplayed or completely ignored the information about Bruce and Nellie Ohr and their direct connections to the spurious Trump “dossier” at the root of the Mueller probe.
And, just to put in the for-what-it’s-worth column, the mention of Papadopoulos — a total of 48 words — is far from the smoking gun Democrats claim it is. Here is the total mention of Papadopoulos in the memo:
The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.
The section mentioning Papadopoulos is an introduction to damning information about FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, Lisa Page, as well as then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The section above goes on to say:
Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.
Democrats make much of the fact that George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators about contacts he had with the Russian government in 2016. But some things should be noted here. First, a mere mention of Papadopoulos as a lead-in to damning information about corruption and conflicts of interest in a government investigation is not confirmation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Second, the memo illuminates the point that it was the DNC and Clinton campaign that worked with a foreign operative (Steele) to influence the election by presenting a spurious “dossier” (which has subsequently been entirely discredited) to investigators as if it contained established fact. Furthermore, the DNC and Clinton campaign illegally hid the fact that they bankrolled the manufacture of the “dossier.” Third, Papadopoulos having lied to investigators — while both criminal and stupid — does not prove the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Actually, it only proves that Papadopoulos attempted to gather “opposition research” on Clinton and when he realized he had possibly crossed a line, he lied about it.
In March 2016 — almost immediately after he joined the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor — Papadopoulos was approached by someone claiming that he could get Papadopoulos in touch with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry who claimed they had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of e-mails.” This was before any reports of alleged hacking of either the DNC or Clinton campaign servers. (Those allegations have never been proved, and WikiLeaks, which later published the DNC/Clinton e-mails, has steadfastly claimed they were leaked by someone who had legal access to them and that no hacking was involved.) In the months between March and September 2016, Papadopoulos tried at least six times to get representatives of the Trump campaign to meet with Russian politicians, but the campaign declined to do so. In fact, Rick Gates (who served as deputy to campaign chairman Paul Manafort) forwarded the requests to the Trump campaign’s correspondence coordinator, whom he described as "the person responding to all mail of non-importance."
By comparison, the established connections between the Ohrs and Fusion GPS — and the fact that Nellie Ohr was paid to produce the opposition research that Bruce later made sure got into the hands of FBI investigators — is damning evidence of corruption and conflict of interest. As Representative Louie Gohment (R-Texas), who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, told the Daily Caller, “The money sweetened the pot for the Ohrs, and it certainly made it easier for Fusion to get the dossier to be used before the court if they made that payment to Bruce Ohr’s wife.” Gohmert — who served as a state district judge for the 7th Judicial District of Texas and as chief justice on the 12th Court of Appeals for Texas for more than a decade before being elected to Congress — went on to say, “Fusion had to have known that because of the relationship between Bruce Ohr and his wife, they were bringing Fusion, the DOJ and the DNC together under one roof to work for the same goal, which was to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.”