2019 May 1, 7:45pm
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House GOP investigators who reviewed Nellie Ohr’s emails believe that their timing may be essential to understanding how the false Russian narrative — special counsel Robert Mueller's report did not establish there was Trump-Putin collusion — may have gotten such credence inside DOJ and intelligence circles despite its overtly political origins.For instance, just 24 days after the anti-Trump screed was emailed, both Ohrs met in Washington with British intelligence operative Christopher Steele. Nellie Ohr testified that she had known Steele from past encounters and learned at that July 31, 2016, meeting at the Mayflower Hotel that Steele, like herself, was working for Fusion GPS on Trump-Russia research. She said she learned that Steele had concerns that he hoped the DOJ or FBI would investigate, with help from her husband.The next day, Bruce Ohr used his official DOJ position to go to then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe with Steele’s allegations (later to become known as the Steele dossier), and the bureau opened its first investigation into Russia collusion.When asked by House lawyers during her deposition last year, Nellie Ohr testified that she did not discuss her Fusion GPS research before fall 2016 with anyone except possibly her husband (which she refused to answer, citing marital privilege) and Steele at the hotel meeting.
“Hi Honey, if you ever get a moment you might find the penultimate article interesting — especially the summary in the final paragraph,” Nellie Ohr emailed her husband on July 6, 2016, in one typical communication. The article and paragraph she flagged suggested that Trump was a Putin stooge: “If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to service his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump.” Nellie Ohr bolded that key sentence for apparent emphasis.Such overt political content flowing into the email accounts of a DOJ charged with the nonpartisan mission of prosecuting crimes is jarring enough. It raises additional questions about potential conflicts of interest when it is being injected by a spouse working as a Democratic contractor trying to defeat Trump, and she is forwarding her own research to her husband's department and co-workers.