A top former Justice Department official knew the FBI was getting information from a source biased against President Donald Trump but went ahead and used it anyway to launch surveillance against the Trump campaign, according to new documents.
Allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia eventually led to the investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller, which eventually cleared the campaign of collusion allegations.
Trump and Republican lawmakers have thus insisted that the roots of the Trump-Russia probe be investigated.
One piece of that puzzle is a now-discredited dossier that made sensational claims about Trump. That dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, was among the documents used when America’s intelligence community launched its surveillance of the Trump campaign in the fall of 2016, prior to Trump’s election as president.
The new information found in previously undisclosed documents shows that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr knew Steele was biased against Trump before the feds used the dossier to begin surveillance by requesting permission from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to do so.
The information was released after the watchdog group Judicial Watch demanded the documents through the Freedom of Information Act process. The documents released were heavily redacted.
The documents are known as “302s” because of the number of the form used by FBI agents to record information after they have conducted interviews.
“These new Bruce Ohr FBI 302s show an unprecedented and irregular effort by the FBI, DOJ, and State Department to dig up dirt on President Trump using the conflicted Bruce Ohr, his wife, and the Clinton/DNC spies at Fusion GPS,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement on the group’s website.
“The FISA courts weren’t informed of this corrupted process when they were asked to approve and reapprove extraordinary spy warrants targeting President Trump.”
“I know personally there’s a lot more out there,” Graham added to host Sean Hannity.
The documents show Ohr knew that Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President.”
They reveal that in November 2016, Ohr said he “never believed” Steele was “making up information or shading it” but said “that doesn’t make that story true.” He told the FBI “there are always Russian conspiracy theories that come from the Kremlin.”
Also in November, Ohr said that “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign, Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI.”
A May 3, 2017, document cited former FBI Director James Comey.
Ohr said Steele called to tell him Steele “had been worried about Director Comey’s upcoming testimony to Congress, especially his response to questions that would be raised by [Senator] Grassley.”
Redactions obscure the details, but Ohr said that in the end, Steele was “happy with Director Comey’s response.”
Fox News contributor Dan Bongino said Friday that the Steele dossier was a tool exploited by Trump’s opponents.
“There was an effort to target the Trump team with information that was factually inaccurate, that he was colluding with the Russians,” he said.
The issue of whether rules were broken has been part of a long-running investigation by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Horowitz is expected to release a report in the next few weeks.
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