Newly uncovered FBI documents show how Nellie Ohr fits into the Trump-Russia saga, documents that also paint an increasingly clearer picture of the Clinton-linked opposition research firm Fusion GPS’s central role in 2016 and beyond.
Ohr, the wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr and a contractor for Fusion GPS in 2015 and 2016, put together reams of research purporting to show connections between Trump, his associates, his family, and numerous other figures, including those with ties to the Russian government. Bruce passed all of this information along to the FBI, showing the FBI was receiving Fusion GPS-linked information not just through the infamous “dossier” from British ex-spy Christopher Steele, but from the wife of a key DOJ official too.
The new documents, revealed by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, detail hundreds of pages of emails between Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, and DOJ officials, and show Nellie’s research was delivered by Bruce to investigators after Trump won in 2016. Two large research documents — a “Who’s Who” of alleged Trump-Russia connections and a “Manafort Chronology” — were given to the FBI by Bruce in December 2016.
Bruce Ohr, who worked with Steele and was a conduit between Steele and the bureau after the former MI6 officer was cut off as a source for speaking with the media, had a dozen interviews with the FBI. Bruce handed over his wife’s work to them in December 2016. Bruce, the fourth-ranking official at the DOJ, was allegedly demoted for meeting with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, with whom Bruce had years-long working relationship.
Fusion GPS was hired by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm, and it then hired Steele, who allegedly reached out to Russian sources to put together his salacious and unverified dossier. That dossier was used in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant applications and renewals targeting Trump associate Carter Page. Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said they received briefings about Fusion GPS’s findings during 2016. Watchdog groups allege the campaign purposely concealed the hiring of Fusion GPS and Steele by reporting all the payments it made to Perkins Coie as “legal services” without mentioning opposition research.
Bruce told congressional investigators Steele was desperate for Trump to lose in 2016, but neither Steele’s Democratic benefactors nor his animus against Trump were disclosed to the court.
The newly-released emails show Bruce forwarded himself a spreadsheet sent by his wife titled “WhosWho19Sept2016.xlsx” on December 5, 2016. The spreadsheet listed 80 different people and groups — many affiliated with Russia — who Nellie and Fusion GPS were tracking, and purported to show “linkages” between at least 40 of them, and Trump and his family. Bruce provided this list to the FBI.
Those scrutinized by Nellie and Fusion GPS over their “linkages” to Trump included global businessmen, lobbyists, and figures with alleged ties to Russian organized crime and intelligence.
Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov, a Russian billionaire and his son, are listed in connection to partnering with Trump, the Miss Universe owner, in hosting the pageant in Moscow in 2013. Steele’s dossier alleged it was at that event that the infamous “pee tape” of prostitutes with Trump was recorded by Russian intelligence. There is scant evidence outside Steele’s allegations that such a tape exists.
Wendi Deng, the ex-wife of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, made the list as a friend of Ivanka Trump and the possible girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
David John Geovanis, a Russian businessman, was on the list too. Geovanis is mentioned in a so-called second dossier compiled by activist Cody Sherarer, a longtime ally of the Clintons, and he was looked into by the Senate Intelligence Committee as recently as early 2019.
Sergei Millian, a Belarus-born real estate developer who claimed insights on Trump business activities in Russia, is on Nellie’s list. Millian was a source for Steele’s dossier.
Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian-American businessman, is listed in part due to contacts with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report detailed texts Rtskhiladze had with Cohen in 2016 about how he “stopped the flow” of “tapes” on Trump. Rtskhiladze believes the tapes were rumors with no factual basis, and criticized Mueller for the way his remarks were characterized.
Felix Sater, a Russian mobster and felon, makes the list. Sater worked with Cohen on a possible Trump Tower Moscow project that ultimately never moved forward but that Cohen was convicted of lying to Congress about.
Nellie focused on Tevfik Arif, a Turkish real estate developer with ties to Russia, sending her husband dozens of pages of research. Arif was listed as one of the foreigners with “linkages” to Trump due to his alleged business ties to the future president.
Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign member and Roger Stone protegee, and Carter Page are also listed by Nellie over their ties to Trump.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign executive, also makes the list, and Nellie created a timeline of his activities. Bruce sent himself a file titled on “Manafort Chronology updated 16 August 2016.docx” on Dec. 5, 2016. The multi-page report gives the highlights of some of Manafort’s shady activities around the world, including in Ukraine, from the 1970s through 2015.
In texts to colleagues Nellie shared with Bruce in late January 2017, just after BuzzFeed published the dossier, she talked about Russian intelligence officials being ousted or arrested.
“I’ve been thinking this was all tied with the ‘yellow rain dossier,’” Nellie said in an apparent reference to the dossier’s salacious “pee tape” allegations.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz launched an investigation last year into allegations of FISA abuse and the relationship the DOJ and FBI had with Steele and their reliance on his dossier, and Fusion GPS is expected to be scrutinized too. That report is expected sometime in the late summer or early fall.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website