Skip to comments.The handwritten notes exposing what Fusion GPS told DOJ about Trump
Posted on 08/09/2018 4:45:11 PM PDT by yesthatjallen
A memory stick quietly exchanged in a coffee shop.
An admission of a Hail Mary leak.
An unmistakable effort to push the Russia investigation closer to Donald Trumps inner circle with uncorroborated tales.
Those are just some of the highlights from the day that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson paid by Hillary Clintons campaign to find dirt on her GOP rival met secretly with a top Justice Department official, right after Trump won the 2016 election.
And all of it was captured in the officials handwritten notes a contemporaneous record that intelligence professionals tell me exposes the flaws plaguing the early Russia collusion case.
For example, Simpson told then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr during the Dec. 10, 2016, meeting in a Washington coffee shop that he believed Trumps longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, was the go-between from Russia to the Trump campaign.
Yet, Simpson allegedly acknowledged that most of the information Fusion GPS and British intelligence operative Christopher Steele developed did not come from sources inside Moscow. Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S., Ohr scribbled in his notes.
In those notes, Ohr repeatedly misspells Simpsons first name as Glen.
Cohen has emphatically and repeatedly denied any role in connecting Russia to the Trump campaign. His lawyer, Lanny Davis, declined comment Thursday.
Simpson admitted in sworn testimony last year to the House Intelligence Committee that he had contact with Ohr after Trumps election victory. But Ohrs notes provide the first detailed public account of what the two men actually discussed.
Congressional investigators now are scouring them for evidence that Simpson and Steele had influence over the Russia probe, even after Steele was dismissed as an FBI informant in November 2016. Investigators want to know if any players in the Russia probe gave Congress false testimony.
One notation that stands out is Simpsons account that he asked Steele to talk with Mother Jones reporter David Corn about their muckraking on Trump and Russia in the final days of the election. At the time, Steele still worked as an FBI source.
Corns Oct. 31, 2016, story was one of the most definitive to allege possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow, creating an important talking point for Democrats in the final days of the campaign.
Glen asked Chris to speak to the Mother Jones reporter. It was Glens Hail Mary attempt, Ohr wrote.
When Simpson testified before Congress, he said he and Steele acted out of a sense of duty. For him it was professional obligations. I mean, for both of us it was citizenship. You know, people report crimes all the time, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In his House testimony, though, he conceded not knowing if what he and Steele dug up amounted to a crime: At the time that we you know, that Chris decided to take this to the FBI, I wasn't convinced of the facts of anything in terms of I wasn't convinced that there was a specific crime that occurred.
So, congressional investigators want to know why if Simpson acted purely on the basis of civic duty he and Steele went to the press shortly before Election Day with allegations before the FBI completed its work.
Simpsons lawyer, Josh Levy, did not return a call seeking comment.
Much of the other information attributed to Simpson that December day, according to Ohrs notes, involved admittedly uncorroborated allegations such as claims that a computer server in a Russian-owned bank was secretly transmitting messages to the Trump campaign, or that the NRA was secretly taking money from a Russian official. Many of the claims eventually made their way into news reports.
Ohr made clear he took possession of some evidence from Simpson, writing: Glen gave me a memory stick.
Early on, Ohrs notes detail, the conversation focused on a theory apparently offered by Simpson that revolving Trump team members former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, followed by informal adviser Carter Page, then personal lawyer Michael Cohen forged a secret channel with Moscow to hijack the election.
All three men long have been cited in the Russia investigation; each denies any coordination with Russia. But Ohrs notes are the first to quote Simpson as suggesting the three essentially were shark-tooth spies who replaced each other in a secret plot.
He identified Michael Cohen, a lawyer in Brooklyn w. Russian (Brighton Beach) clients, as the go-between from Russia to the Trump campaign who replaced Manafort and Carter Page, Ohrs notes read, quoting Simpsons alleged narrative.
The notes suggest guilt by association, citing Cohens wife and suggesting one of Cohens in-laws had real estate dealings in Moscow with ties to the Kremlin.
Cohen may have attended a meeting in Prague, possibly in September, about this, Ohr quoted Simpson as saying a claim that became public a month later, in January 2017, when BuzzFeed published a version of Steeles uncorroborated dossier.
Cohens lawyers have rebutted every mention of their client in the dossier, pointedly noting he never has been to Prague.
Cohen, now under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York, has hinted he may have information damaging to Trump. But Russia special counsel Robert Mueller has signaled he's not currently interested in Cohen, letting U.S. attorneys in Manhattan take the first crack at his case.
Two days after Ohr's meeting with Simpson, the senior DOJ official met with the FBI and submitted to an interview about what he had learned.
I shared the Ohr notes I obtained to career intelligence professionals with scores of years of experience analyzing data, sorting the reliable from the garbage.
All had the same reaction: The information, on face value, has the lowest level of credibility. It was second- or third-hand, they noted, and couched with lots of caveats like may, possibly, and others disagree.
The alleged Simpson statement that he went to the media as a Hail Mary stood out to those professionals as an act of desperation that they would see as weighing against the motives of an intelligence source.
A couple of the experts flagged that most of what Simpson allegedly told Ohr was not from Moscow where the alleged plot was supposed to be based but from a reported Russian in the United States who later seemed to disappear, according to Ohrs notes.
First thing Im wondering is whether that Russian was part of a kompromat' operation to further roil the U.S. election rather than a whistleblower, one of the experts opined.
And all wondered why a Justice official Ohr who was not in the chain of command in the Russia counterintelligence probe, and whose wife worked for Fusion GPS on the Trump project, interviewed Simpson at all.
The Ohr interview and many other now-public actions in the Russia collusion case are breaking every protocol at the fundamental level of intelligence gathering, one highly decorated intelligence professional told me.
Whatever their assessment, Congress has a wide, new mandate to investigate the Simpson-Ohr-Steele contacts with renewed vigor and lots of questions that did not exist just a few short weeks ago: What was on the memory stick? What did Ohr do with the information? Did the FBI rely on it for future court actions? Did the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court that approved surveillance warrants know Ohr was getting information from the Simpson-Steele operation after Steele had been dismissed?
Those answers could make for a long, politically hot autumn in Washington.
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hills executive vice president for video.
The Hill make a disclaimer:
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.
“When Simpson testified before Congress, he said he and Steele acted out of a sense of duty.”
Duty. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Like he was saying to his wife, Morgan Fairchild.
John Solomon has been a great reporter on the fake Russia investigation.
Yeah and Sundance has some interesting thoughts on the subject too:
Isn’t Bruce’s wife and HAM radio fan Nellie Ohr a bit of a Russian Expert (who lives in the USA) ??
Yes, she is. This band of conspirators, aided by foreign intelligence (the British) have tied this country up, slandered countless people and wrecked their lives and their families based on filth and innuendo, attempted to overturn a duly held election, worked with their lying cohorts in what passes for the “press”. There needs to be a trial of this entire bunch.
I read she also speaks fluent Russian.
Transcripts released Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee say that Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, had dinner with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya both the day before and the day after she met with Donald Trump, Jr. at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. (11-7-17)
just wanted to make note of this for posterity
or crap...I thought he said doody.
Glen asked Chris to speak to the Mother Jones reporter. It was Glens Hail Mary attempt, Ohr wrote.
“right after Trump won the 2016 election.”
That is a seditious conspiracy.
Gallows are in order.
What gets me is no matter where you turn there are Clinton goons woven throughout. trumps lawyers, lawyer, is Old Lanny Davis, yep, a Clinton hack. Jarod Cushner’s lawyer, oh yea, Jamie Gorelic, again, during the Clinton Presidency kept the firewall up so our intelligence agencies could not communicate info regarding al quad a.
My one piece of advice to any and all true republican leaders, there is no one in the democrat party who should be working in the Trump admin!
When Hillary and Bill Clinton pay you 9 million bucks in campaign money launderer through the law firm of Perkins Coie, LLP they expect you to have duty to perform
Bad things happen to people who do not fulfill their duty to the Clintons
“Bad things happen to people who do not fulfill their duty to the Clintons”
He was involved early and when Fusion GPS was implicated, he did a podcast to explain his role:
Skullduggery, Episode 4: The spy, the reporter and the memo the inside story
On this episode of Yahoo News Skullduggery, co-hosts Michael Isikoff and Dan Klaidman discuss the House Intelligence Committees release of the Nunes memo, which accuses the FBI of bias in the Russia investigation. Within the memo, Isikoff is prominently mentioned as a key player. How did Isikoff come to play such a starring role in this highly anticipated memo?
When I first started reading about that it pegged my meters. Or was she simply trying out a new fun hobby during all this? From my perspective, it reeks like a 4 day old homicide scene.
Wow. So what was the FISA court told about the identity and credibility of the key source?
from a reported Russian in the United States who later seemed to disappear, according to Ohrs notes
The key Russian source for the dossier disappeared?
Was the source Sid Blumenthal on the phone mimicking a thick Russian accent?
Michael Isikoff was really trying to cover his @ss when the Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, Isikoff link became public.
So was Christopher Steele flying to the US every week or two to sit down with his ‘Russian source’ as he cranked out another weekly report to add to the dossier?
Or did they just talk openly over a phone line?
Doesn’t sound like the kind of tradecraft Steele would have learned at MI6.
John Solomon said that Ohr has terrible handwriting. They should double-check whether Ohr wrote US or UK as to this source.
I was wondering the other day whether the ‘source’ might be retired defected Russian spy living in the UK Sergei Skripal, who was later poisoned (to keep him from talking about the sourcing of the dossier?).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.