As Roger Stone, the one-time confidante of POTUS Donald Trump, became the latest presidential associate to be indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Thursday his team has obtained evidence that would not stand up to scrutiny in a court of law.
During an interview on Fox News, Nunes was asked about recent leaks of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s testimony before Congress last year. Then, Ohr — once the DoJ’s No. 4 official — told congressional investigators he served as a back channel of communication between key FBI officials and the author of the “Russia dossier,” Christopher Steele.
During his interview, Nunes also said that he believes that Ohr not only briefed senior Justice Department officials including attorney Zainab Ahmad and the head of the fraud unit, Andrew Weissman — both of whom now work on Mueller’s team — but also told them information he gained from Steele was most likely politically biased and unproven because it was political opposition research paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Ohr was demoted in late 2017 over his improper communications with Steele who had been fired by the FBI for unauthorized contacts with the media regarding his dossier ‘findings.
Steele’s dossier formed the basis for the FBI’s spy warrants against Carter Page, a 2016 Trump campaign official, which were granted by the FISA court.
“You have two people that are currently on the special counsel that were in the chain,” Nunes told Fox News, according to the Washington Examiner. “They were taking evidence that now they’re using.”
Asked to verify if Mueller’s team were to bring “any of this” to court, after key officials neglected to reveal any conflicts of interest, Nunes said “yes,” the evidence would definitely be thrown out in a court of law.
According to a memo issued by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee when Nunes was still its chairman in February 2018, Steele told Ohr that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” But it says the FISA application process “ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.
“This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files – but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications,” the memo reads.
Later, Ohr would testify to Congress that he informed senior DoJ and FBI leaders including former FBI Director James Comey, former deputy director Andrew McCabe, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that the Russia dossier was just a political document and as such, was not trustworthy.
But Ohr’s warnings about political bias in the dossier were conspicuously absent some weeks later when, in September 2016, the FBI filed for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant with the secretive FISA court, which gave agents permission to begin spying on the 2016 Trump campaign for alleged “Russian collusion” to steal the election.
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