Justice Department official Bruce Ohr in 2016 kept senior FBI officials "in the loop" about a controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump and the individuals behind it, Fox News reported Thursday.
According to Fox News, which cited unnamed sources, Ohr's broad network of contacts on the dossier included:
- Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who wrote anti-Trump texts prior to the election;
- Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe;
- Andrew Weissmann, who now is a top deputy under special counsel Robert Mueller.
Fox reported the contacts also included at least one other DOJ official, and a current FBI agent who worked with Strzok on the Russia case.
According to Fox, Weissmann was kept "in the loop" on the dossier while he was chief of the criminal fraud division.
Ohr's outreach about the dossier – as well as its author, ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the opposition research firm behind it, Fusion GPS, and his wife Nellie Ohr's work for Fusion – took place before and after the FBI fired Steele as a source over his media contacts, Fox News reported.
According to the news outlet, Ohr's circle of contacts indicates members of FBI leadership knew about his back-channel activities regarding the dossier and Steele.
Trump has lashed out at several of those figures — particularly Ohr — alleging bias against him within the agency.
Congressional Republicans are still trying to get to the bottom of Ohr's role in circulating the unverified dossier, which became a critical piece of evidence in obtaining a surveillance warrant for then-Trump campaign aide Carter Page in October 2016.
"When they went to court, the FBI knew three important things. And they did not disclose this to the court," said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Fox News reported.
“They knew the Ohrs’ involvement in the production of the dossier. They knew that Chris Steele had this extreme bias against the president. And they knew who paid for the dossier. And they did not disclose these key facts to the court when they went there to get the warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign."
House Democrats argue the focus on Ohr, a career civil servant whose portfolio did not include Russia, is being mischaracterized, and that his outreach on behalf of Steele wasn’t prohibited or illegal.
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