Chuck Ross, DCNF
- Former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr told Congress in October that she “favored” Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
- A transcript of Ohr’s testimony was published Thursday.
- Ohr, whose husband is DOJ official Bruce Ohr, detailed her work for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier.
- Ohr said that a Ukrainian lawmaker was one of Fusion GPS’s sources.
Nellie Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor and wife to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, told Congress that she “favored” Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, and would not have researched the Democrat as she did Donald Trump.
“I would probably have been less comfortable doing opposition research that would have gone against Hillary Clinton,” Nellie Ohr told a congressional task force on Oct. 19, according to a transcript released Thursday.
“And why is that?” a congressional staffer asked Nellie Ohr.
“Because I favored Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate,” said Nellie Ohr.
Nellie Ohr gave research she did on Trump and his associates to her husband, Bruce Ohr, in hopes that he would provide it to the FBI.
Bruce Ohr did exactly that. He testified during his own congressional hearing that he provided a flash drive containing his wife’s research to the FBI. What the bureau did with the information remains a mystery, but it is another example of potentially biased information being provided to investigators working on a probe of the Trump campaign.
Republican lawmakers interviewed the Ohrs and several Justice Department and FBI officials as part of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of its Trump-Russia probe. Republicans have accused the FBI of misrepresenting the infamous Steele dossier in applications for surveillance warrants against Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser.
The FBI’s warrant applications did not reveal that Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, was working against Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC. The applications also did not contain information provided by Bruce Ohr that Steele had said he was “desperate” to see Trump lose the election.
Bruce Ohr, who served as deputy assistant attorney general at the time, served as a back channel of sorts between the FBI and Steele, a former MI6 officer.
The Ohrs met with Steele on July 30, 2016, to discuss Steele’s investigation of Trump’s possible ties to the Russian government.
As part of their investigation of the FBI, Republican lawmakers have tried to understand the labyrinthian relationship between the Ohrs, Fusion GPS, Steele and the FBI.
Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson attempted to push information from the dossier through the FBI, Justice Department, State Department and the media.
In her interview, Nellie Ohr discussed the nature of her work for Fusion. She said that she did not recognize any of her work in the Steele dossier.
One of the more startling revelations in Nellie Ohr’s testimony is that a Ukrainian politician was a source for Fusion GPS.
As TheDCNF first reported, Nellie Ohr testified that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned lawmaker, provided information to Fusion GPS.
Leshchenko revealed in August 2016 a so-called “black ledger” that listed alleged kickback payments from the Ukrainian government to Paul Manafort. The veracity of the ledger has come under scrutiny, and Leshchenko has faced charges in Ukraine for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
There is no indication that Leshchenko’s work ended up in the dossier.
Nellie Ohr said that she worked for Fusion GPS from October 2015 through September 2016, earning $55 per hour for an average of 30 hours of work a week.
She said that she conducted open source research of various Russian businessmen. She also researched Trump associates, including Manafort, Page, Michael Flynn, and Donald Trump’s children.
Nellie Ohr was pressed about her discussions with her husband regarding her work for Fusion GPS, but she largely escaped those questions by invoking marital privilege.
Asked about her and Bruce Ohr’s meeting with Steele, Nellie Ohr said that the ex-spy told of his investigation of Trump, and said that he hoped his information would be passed to the FBI.
She worked on one other project for Fusion GPS, and was aware of the firm’s work with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who attended the now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.
Veselnitskaya worked with Fusion GPS at the time of that meeting on behalf of Prevezon Holdings, a Russian company whose owner opposes U.S. sanctions against Russia. Nellie Ohr said that she did not work on the Veselnitskaya project.
Nellie Ohr testified that while her research for Fusion did not appear to have made its way into the dossier, she recognized some of her work in the media.