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FBI's Man in Europe Undercut Ohr's Claim of Limited Russiagate Role
realclearinvestigations ^ | May 12, 2020 | Eric Felten

Posted on 05/12/2020 8:47:42 AM PDT by MarvinStinson

An FBI agent's newly released testimony undercuts top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr's denial of a conflict of interest between his Trump-Russia efforts and his wife’s work for Fusion GPS, producer of the discredited Steele dossier.

The agent, Michael Gaeta, told congressional probers that Ohr had pressed him to make sure the FBI was “doing something” with the dossier. According to Gaeta, Ohr pushed Steele's collection of memos alleging nefarious ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in part because Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for the same company that had hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

Gaeta's testimony was released last week along with 56 other Trump-Russia interviews conducted by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He recalled an August 2016 phone call from Ohr.

“August, he calls me and says, ‘Have you seen this stuff from Steele?’ – Chris or Steele, whatever he says. I said yes,” Gaeta recalled. “And so now I assume he had either spoken to Steele or had seen him. I didn't know, and I didn't ask.” Ohr, the agent said, wasted no time in making a request: “And he goes, ‘We just want to make sure – we, or me and my bosses – want to make sure the FBI is handling it and doing something about it.’”

Gaeta told Ohr, “I am putting it in the hands of this unit at headquarters who's going to look at it.”

“Okay, good,” was Ohr’s reply. “We just want to make sure.”

Gaeta’s description of Ohr’s active role in pushing the dossier contrasts with Ohr’s testimony before Congress describing a more disinterested role as intermediary between the FBI and his wife’s employer, which was hired by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Asked if his role represented a conflict of interest, Ohr said it did not because “I was not part of the investigation.”

Christopher Steele: Had a long history with both Ohr and Gaeta. Victoria Jones/PA via AP “As I saw it,” Ohr testified, “I was receiving information that I passed to people who were working on the investigation, and they decided what to do with it. I don't know what they did with it.”

Ohr told lawmakers he was in the dark. “I don't know what investigations specifically were existing at the time. I didn't have any input or work on those investigations.”

Ohr was demoted in 2017 because of his contacts with Fusion GPS.

The testimony of Gaeta – whose name is redacted in the testimony but has been confirmed by RealClearInvestigations – raises new questions about the extent of Ohr's role in advancing Trump-Russia conspiracy theories across the government. Gaeta’s interview is of interest because of his long history with both Ohr and Steele, a former British intelligence agent who formed a private investigative firm in 2009.

Gaeta has known Steele since 2010 when they were introduced to one another by Ohr. It was not a random encounter. Ohr appears to have been drumming up business for Steele, having traveled to London to host a meeting between Gaeta and Steele at which Steele pitched having his new private intelligence firm do work for the FBI.

Over several years Steele provided Gaeta with reports and leads. And so when Steele called at the beginning of July 2016 to say he had important information, Gaeta flew to London. During a meeting at Steele’s office on July 5, Steele gave Gaeta pieces of what would ultimately become known as the “dossier,” including the report claiming there was a video recording of Russian prostitutes urinating for Donald Trump’s entertainment.

After the meeting, Gaeta wasn’t sure what to do with the documents. He wanted to get the Steele reports to the right people at the Bureau, but didn’t know who the right people would be. He was reluctant to ask around, for fear of spreading word of the “explosive” information. Finally, in the middle of July, Gaeta reached out to a trusted colleague in the New York field office.

“I told him about the information; he read it,” Gaeta told lawmakers. “And then I told him my idea of really surgically trying to determine who should see this.” Gaeta would send the Steele material to the New York office for a decision on how to get it to officials in Washington. Gaeta later heard the material had ended up with a secretive counterintelligence group operating out of FBI headquarters in Washington.

But, his testimony suggests, the process wasn’t moving fast enough for Steele and Fusion GPS. Hence, the August phone call from Ohr telling Gaeta, “We just want to make sure” the information was being acted upon.

If the “we” were actually Ohr and his official bosses – the deputy attorney general and the attorney general – it wouldn’t be clear why those top law enforcement officials would need to rely on a Europe-based FBI agent to give the Steele documents to investigators in Washington. In Gaeta’s telling, Ohr would later leave the implication that the “we” was Ohr and Fusion GPS.

With promises of more information on Trump and Russia to come, Steele was made an official source for the FBI and was promised payments. Gaeta was Steele’s “handling agent.” And so it fell to Gaeta to confront Steele when, days before the election, an article appeared in Mother Jones magazine with information from the dossier.

Gaeta called Steele: “Did you do this?”

Steele said, “Yes, I did,” and explained he was angry that the FBI had been investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails when it should have been focused on Trump and Russia.

Gaeta dropped Steele on the spot: “I said, ‘Everything is going to change now.’ I said, ‘You're no longer working to get information on our behalf, you're no longer to go out, and we are no longer tasking you. ln addition, you're not going to be paid, and the relationship is going to end.’”

After that confrontation, Gaeta called Ohr and told him what had happened.

Just a week later, on Election Day, Gaeta was back in Washington for a meeting and encountered Ohr in a restaurant across the street from FBI headquarters.

“What did he say to you?” the Republican interviewer asked Gaeta.

“So, the first thing he said was -– he apologized for introducing me to Steele because –”

“He – sorry?” the interviewer interrupted.

“He apologized for introducing me to Steele, kind of like half-joking, because of all the stuff that was happening at that point,” Gaeta told lawmakers. “And, you know, I wasn't looking to delve into any substantive conversation with him about it, and I don't think he was. But at a certain point in that conversation – the whole conversation was short; it didn't last long – but he mentioned something about his wife working for GPS.”

The interviewer asked, “Fusion GPS?”

“He said GPS.”

“Okay. What did you take that to mean?” was the next question.

“At that point, l didn't know what he meant by it,” Gaeta replied. “I wasn't sure. And I wasn't going to start delving into it. I just kind of shook my head. And that was really it.”

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: 2009; 2010; 201607; 20160705; 201608; billpriestap; bruceohr; carterpage; chrissteele; christophersteele; davidlaufman; fusiongps; gaeta; goldenshowersdossier; jamescomey; johnbrennan; lisabarsoomian; lisapage; michaelcohen; michaelgaeta; mikegaeta; nellieohr; ohr; peterstrzok; robertmueller; rodrosenstein; steele; steeledossier; trump
Bruce wanted to make sure the FBI was “doing something” with the dossier, agent Gaeta testified.
1 posted on 05/12/2020 8:47:42 AM PDT by MarvinStinson
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To: MarvinStinson

ohr still works at the FBI.

2 posted on 05/12/2020 8:49:28 AM PDT by JoSixChip (Pelosi would be third in line to serve as president if Trump, Pence become incapacitated by COVID-19)
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To: JoSixChip


3 posted on 05/12/2020 8:51:48 AM PDT by MarvinStinson
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To: MarvinStinson

The whole nest of vipers needs to be burned to the ground.

4 posted on 05/12/2020 8:54:15 AM PDT by Lurkinanloomin (Natural Born Citizens Are Born Here of Citizen Parents_Know Islam, No Peace-No Islam, Know Peace)
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To: MarvinStinson

CHABOT: Thank you.

Director Mueller, my Democratic colleagues were very disappointed in your report. They were expecting you to say something along the lines of he was — why President Trump deserves to be impeached, much as Ken Starr did relative to President Clinton back about 20 years ago. Well, you didn’t, so their strategy had to change. Now they allege that there’s plenty of evidence in your report to impeach the president, but the American people just didn’t read it. And this hearing today is their last best hope to build up some sort of groundswell across America to impeach President Trump. That’s what this is really all about today.

Now a few questions: On page 103 of Volume 2 of your report, when discussing the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, you referenced, quote, “the firm that produced Steele reporting,” unquote. The name of that firm was Fusion GPS. Is that correct?

MUELLER: And you’re on page 103?

CHABOT: 103, that’s correct, Volume 2. When you talk about the — the firm that produced the Steele reporting, the name of the firm that produced that was Fusion GPS. Is that correct?

MUELLER: Yeah, I — I’m not familiar with — with that. I (inaudible)

CHABOT: (inaudible) It’s not — it’s not a trick question, right? It was Fusion GPS. Now, Fusion GPS produced the opposition research document wide — widely known as the Steele dossier, and the owner of Fusion GPA (sic) was someone named Glenn Simpson. Are — are you familiar with...

MUELLER: This is outside my purview.

CHABOT: OK. Glenn Simpson was never mentioned in the 448-page Mueller report, was he?

MUELLER: Well, as I — as I say, it’s outside my purview and it’s being handled in the department by others.

5 posted on 05/12/2020 8:55:31 AM PDT by nesnah (Liberals - the petulant children of politics)
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To: JoSixChip

Orh never worked at the FBI. He was DOJ (main justice) employee.

6 posted on 05/12/2020 8:56:24 AM PDT by oldernittany
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To: MarvinStinson

Nellie Ohr's 'Hi Honey' emails to DOJ about Russia collusion should alarm us all

7 posted on 05/12/2020 8:57:31 AM PDT by mewzilla (Break out the mustard seeds.)
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To: oldernittany

He’s still at the doj then, which is even worse.

8 posted on 05/12/2020 9:03:11 AM PDT by JoSixChip (Pelosi would be third in line to serve as president if Trump, Pence become incapacitated by COVID-19)
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To: MarvinStinson

In this video at 0:17, James Comey states, regarding the FBI doing operations to conduct electronic surveillance, “We come into contact with U.S. persons a whole lot more than the NSA does, because we may be conducting...” then he corrects himself, stating “We only conduct...” He seems to have slipped, suggesting they conducted electronic surveillance elsewhere than in the U.S.:

9 posted on 05/12/2020 9:05:47 AM PDT by reasonisfaith (What are the implications if the Resurrection of Christ is a true event in history?)
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To: nesnah

I am still flabbergasted at how little Mueller knew about this whole thing. It was shocking then and it surely has not and will not age well with anyone even halfway paying attention to this farce.

Regarding this piece it is interesting. I think Bongino nailed this long ago and there were multiple efforts to push the Steele dossier and the overall narrative/noise of Russia at this point in the campaign.

There is a good piece linked on Fox right now detailing an interesting interview with Andrew McCarthy on what the “goals” were. Andy seems to be a pretty judicious and sober pundit with a lot of institutional knowledge and he has now finally admitted that the last administration attempted to destroy the next administration.

Yes, we knew it, but his admission is an important step in that he is not a “partisan” like others.

I said long ago that I thought the dam would burst with the media and more of them would begin to see the game that was being played. I was wrong. I think the media is so married to this farce it will be very hard, if not impossible, for them to admit they were (willingly) duped and used unless the facts are incontrovertible. Even then, I expect many in the media to continue the lie about Russia just as the GOPe does.

Can anyone name one thing Russia or Russians did to influence our election and body politic other than some rich men talking to Steele? Anyone? Did they change votes? Did they run meaningful ads? All I know if are some clickbait political ads from a clickbait farm on facebook - pretty much standard fare for the internet and we know there were pro-Hillary ads and pro-Trump ads. The figure I remember was a few hundred thousand dollars. Nothing in comparison to what was spent by HRC and the various PACs and advocacy groups in the last election.

I want to see people start calling out these idiots who keep talking about Russian interference. Fact - the only meaningful Russian interference in our election was coordinated by the HRC campaign and the DNC. Fact. Anything else at this point should be called a lie.

10 posted on 05/12/2020 9:14:58 AM PDT by volunbeer (Find the truth and accept it - anything else is delusional)
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To: JoSixChip

“ohr still works at the FBI.”

Drinking coffee, reading newspapers and taking long walks at lunch. Marking time until retirement.

11 posted on 05/12/2020 9:36:16 AM PDT by Tallguy (Facts be d@mned! The narrative must be protected at all costs!))
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To: nesnah

That’s really kind of funny, or it would be funny if it wasn’t so disgusting.

Mueller was like the opposite of Chauncey Gardner.

12 posted on 05/12/2020 9:55:10 AM PDT by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrats' John Dean])
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To: JoSixChip

Nellie wasn’t FBI she was CIA.

13 posted on 05/12/2020 10:05:37 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa

I was talking about Bruce. doj

14 posted on 05/12/2020 10:20:38 AM PDT by JoSixChip (Pelosi would be third in line to serve as president if Trump, Pence become incapacitated by COVID-19)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

15 posted on 05/12/2020 10:30:48 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.)
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To: MarvinStinson

Bruce will roll over to protect Nellie.

16 posted on 05/12/2020 10:37:46 AM PDT by Buckeye Battle Cry (Progressivism is socialism. Venezuela is how it ends.)
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To: JoSixChip

Easier to keep an eye on him...

17 posted on 05/12/2020 9:02:38 PM PDT by GOPJ (Was misery & death worth the four bucks saved on the crappy waffle-iron 'made in China?)
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