‘I’m all about protecting your privacy, but this is not about privacy…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The release of congressional testimony from former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr confirmed that she actively courted the company’s founder, Glenn Simpson, to hire her for work “analyzing”—and perhaps inventing—ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In admitting to Congress that she reached out to Simpson in late 2015, Ohr opened the door to speculation that Obama’s intelligence agencies at the very least sought secret access to biased opposition-research commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Some even suggest that the CIA, under disgraced ex-Director John Brennan, may have planted the phony Trump innuendo through Ohr and used Fusion to launder the information before spreading it to the FBI and national media outlets.
Whatever the case, the transcripts recently released by ranking House Judiciary member Doug Collins, R-Ga., reveal a need for deeper investigation and declassification to expose a network of corruption that exploited public trust in government and law-enforcement for political purposes, while leveraging the sacred institution of marriage to help conceal its crimes.
Both Ohr and her husband, Bruce—at the time a top Department of Justice official—ultimately became conduits in the smear effort to link Russia with President Donald Trump using the Fusion-compiled Steele Dossier.
The salacious, questionably-sourced information supplied by the dossier triggered several costly and protracted investigations of Trump, both in the lead-up to and aftermath of the November 2016 presidential election.
Disregarding the recent conclusions of the Mueller Report, powerful House Democrats even now have signaled that they intend to continue probing the debunked claims of collusion between the U.S. president and the Kremlin.
Conflicts of Interest
Together, the Ohrs ensured that the unvetted slander from British ex-spy Christopher Steele had a direct pipeline into the hands of anti-Trump operatives working in the highest reaches of the FBI.
The agency then used Steele’s dubious research to justify an investigation into the Trump campaign and as the basis for warrant applications to the secretive FISA court, which authorized it to wiretap and covertly monitor the Trump campaign.
The Ohrs—despite the obvious, and potentially illegal, conflicts of interest in their overlapping Russia work—were able to use their marriage as legal cover when testifying at separate congressional hearings last year.
In his congressional testimony, former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr insinuated that it was the nature of the research—i.e. the shocking claims against Trump—that compelled the couple to breach protocol in delivering thumb drives of Fusion files to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
However, Nellie Ohr’s testimony cast doubt on that and painted a different picture of the motives behind the exchange.
She claimed that she had reached out to Fusion around September 2015, likely touting her inside track to the Justice Department to secure the lucrative position. Both Simpson and Steele had previously worked with her husband in his capacity as a DOJ prosecutor.
“I read an article in the paper that mentioned Glenn Simpson. And I remembered because he had been a Wall Street Journal reporter working on things like Russian crime and corruption, so I recognized the name,” Nellie Ohr said. “I was underemployed at that time and I was looking for opportunities.”
Ohr said her Fusion projects involved working about 30 hours a week from home, using open online sources to compile her research. She was paid $55 an hour for her efforts—which if extended to a full 40-hour work week would have put her compensation in the six-figure range.
While Ohr confirmed her husband’s testimony that he was professionally acquainted with Simpson, and that Simpson was aware when she applied of her ties to the Justice Department, Ohr downplayed the prior relationship when directly asked by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
She said she didn’t know if Simpson even made the connection initially.
“I had been at a conference that he was at,” Ohr said. “I don’t recall directly talking with him at that conference, and I don’t know whether he knew who, you know, who I was other than the fact that I attended that conference.”
If he didn’t realize who Nellie Ohr was, though, hiring her for her Russian expertise at the time would have been a strange investment.
Simpson already had been making ripples with Fusion GPS at the time of Ohr’s hiring—but not on matters remotely related to Russia.
A month earlier, his firm had led Planned Parenthood’s spin campaign to defuse damaging undercover sting videos by the conservative Center for Medical Progress, which allegedly showed abortionists conducting partial-birth abortions and attempting to sell aborted fetuses.
Even Simpson’s former newspaper, the Wall Street Journal viewed Fusion as more of a leftist lobbying and public-relations venture than as the “independent research firm” that some claimed.
Similar to her husband’s testimony and Simpson’s, Nellie Ohr’s account to Congress offered little clarity about the “off and on” collaborations between the Ohrs, Simpson and Steele prior to and during the 2016 campaign.
Nellie Ohr said under questioning she was unaware of her husband’s role in an intelligence investigation of Trump’s alleged Russia ties.
Bizarrely, she also claimed to have no curiosity in their overlapping efforts even once they became obvious.
At a breakfast meeting that both Ohrs attended with Steele and a British associate of his, whom Nellie claimed to know nothing about, she excused herself from the table for a lengthy period of time while Trump was being discussed.
She also said that after seeing an email from an account she and her husband shared, in which Glenn Simpson had asked one of the recipients to call him, she automatically assumed it was for her husband.
In response to grilling by Rep. Mark Meadows, Nellie Ohr refused to definitively answer how she would have known whom the email was for, claiming that her conversations with her husband were privileged.
“I’m all about protecting your privacy, but this is not about privacy,” Meadows replied. “This is about a relationship between Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, and the knowledge that Ms. Ohr had of that when, indeed, there was a third party involved in that communication.”
An Inside Job?
But some have looked past her claims of willful ignorance to speculate that Nellie Ohr’s role in the operation may have been much greater.
Based on her having reached out to Simpson initially about the Fusion position, a recent piece posted on The Conservative Tree House mused that Nellie might have been working with the CIA to feed information to Fusion under the guise of her “open-source” research.
It then would be passed on to Steele and presented as part of his own dossier, which Simpson delivered to Bruce Ohr to give to the FBI.
“Our research has always indicated that Nellie’s work product was transmitted to Christopher Steele as part of an intelligence laundry process,” the site said.
“Chris Steele laundered Nellie’s information, provided second verification where possible, formatted into an official intelligence file, and returned that file—now named the Steele Dossier—to the FBI.”
If classified documents were to link Nellie Ohr with the CIA, it said, “this revelation would imply that an inside government effort from the CIA was likely the origination of material that Nellie would ‘discover’ while working for Fusion. Under this possibility the laundry process would have two washes.”
The article notes Nellie Ohr’s use of a HAM radio, which coincided with the time period when the Clinton campaign contracted with Fusion for the Steele research.
In her congressional testimony, Nellie Ohr admitted to being a Hillary Clinton supporter but denied ever having communicated about her work with the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee or the law firm Perkins Coie, which commissioned the dossier.
The Conservative Tree House went on to say that Fusion, long believed to be the source of the phony research, may have been relegated to a bit role in the information-laundering scheme.
“Whether Glenn Simpson knew of Nellie’s intent, or was likely willfully blind, is another question,” wrote the author. “I tend to think it didn’t really matter. Simpson hired Nellie to get valuable oppo-research he could turn into a commodity.”
It also mattered little in the grand scheme of things whether the research came from the Brennan CIA, from the Kremlin or from Nellie Ohr’s own imagination.
More important was that the chain leading to the FBI—and ultimately the national media—lent it credibility enough to damage Trump, while the true conspiracy would be nearly impossible for investigators to unravel.
“Simpson wouldn’t necessarily care how Nellie found the information, and he knew her background in the intelligence research community,” said the article. “The commodity was always the Trump-research file; which was then sold to the Clinton campaign after the contract with the DNC was made through Perkins Coie.”