Commentary

DOJ Official's Handwritten Notes, Testimony Explode FBI/Dossier Scandal. FBI Knew Dossier Was Dirty

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Things keep looking worse and worse for the FBI. To be clear, it isn’t the “boots on the ground” folks there, but the powers-that-be who have been the problem.

Some of the evidence of a corrupt culture at play in the upper ranks of the FBI comes in the form of handwritten notes and testimony from now-former Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr.

In yet another report from investigative journalist John Solomon, an opinion contributor for The Hill, it’s been revealed that these notes and testimony contradict what we’ve been led to believe about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants issued to spy on the Donald Trump and his associates.

What we know is that the questionable dossier provided by former British spy Christopher Steele was a key reason the FISA warrants were issued. Officials have been unclear in regard to when exactly it was that they learned there was a problem with the dossier.

That problem is the fact that Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, paid Steele for the dossier. That in and of itself is a reason to be suspicious about the dossier’s contents.

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When did the FBI know about this problem? If it was before the FISA warrants were applied for, it means agency officials either didn’t care and possibly were working with the DNC and Clinton to take down then-presidential candidate Trump.

Either situation would mean they had no problem with violating the constitutionally protected rights of American citizens. Either would show an abuse of power within the FBI — an agency the American people need to be able to trust.

Last summer, Ohr testified that as of July 31, 2016, he had started warning the FBI and Department of Justice lawyers that there were problems with the dossier. He had pointed out to them multiple times that not only had Steele expressed bias against Trump, but he was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.

During his testimony, Ohr said, “I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump. I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected.”

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Later, he added, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”

This bombshell piece of Ohr’s testimony had been pointed out by Kimberley A. Strassel in a piece for The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall) back in August 2018. At the time, Strassel noted that while the establishment media tried to downplay Ohr’s importance, in his testimony, he “confirm(ed) for Congress its worst suspicions about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s abuse of its surveillance and sourcing rules.”

And we have more than his sworn testimony to go by in this matter.

Solomon wrote, “Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day. They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.”

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In January 2017, The Guardian reported that over the prior summer (2016), the FBI had first sought to obtain a FISA warrant in order to surveil Trump team members. The court initially denied the request, asking for a more narrow focus. Then in October, after Ohr’s warnings about the dossier began, a FISA warrant was issued.

And the news gets even worse. Fox News reported that some of those individuals who were warned by Ohr about the dossier being possibly tainted are now part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team.

This means that people who were informed about the problems and conflict with the Steele dossier are involved in continuing to investigate Trump and his team, based at least in part on that same dossier. They are not investigating Clinton or the DNC for their actions.

This is unacceptable and highlights an ongoing problem in our government. Trump has promised to “drain the swamp.” Some of that needs to be focused on the culture of corruption that seems to be running rampant in the FBI and DOJ.

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