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Judicial Watch • Ohr Interview Transcript Aug 2018

Ohr Interview Transcript Aug 2018

Ohr Interview Transcript Aug 2018

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COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
EXECUTIVE SESSION
COMMITTEE THE JUDICIARY,
JOINT WITH THE
COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT,
U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES,
WASHINGTON, D.C.
INTERVIEW OF:
BRUCE OHR
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Washington, D.C.
The interview the above matter was held Room 2141,
Rayburn House Office Building, commencing 9:05 a.m.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Parmiter. Bruce Ohr.
Good morning.
This transcribed interview
Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman Gowdy requested
this interview part joint investigation the House
Committee the Judiciary and the House Committee Oversight
and Government Reform regarding decisions made and not made
2016 and 2017 the Department Justice and the Federal Bureau Investigation regarding the 2016 Presidential election.
Would the witness please state his name and position the
Department Justice for the record.
Mr. Ohr.
Good morning. name Bruce Ohr. senior
counsel the Office International Affairs the Criminal
Division the Department Justice.
Mr. Parmiter.
Thank you. behalf the chairman, want thank you for appearing today, and appreciate your
willingness appear voluntarily. name Robert Parmiter,
and the Majority Chief Counsel for Crime and Terrorism the
House Judiciary Committee. will now ask everyone else who here the room
introduce themselves for the record, starting right with Art
Baker.
Mr. Baker.
Arthur Baker, Investigative Counsel, Majority
Staff, House Judiciary.
Mr. Gowdy.
Trey Gowdy, South Carolina.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Issa.
Jim Ratcliffe, Texas
Darrell Issa, California.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Biggs.
Andy Biggs, Ohio.
Mr. Gaetz.
Matt Gaetz, Florida.
Mr. Lasseter.
David Lasseter, Department Justice.
Ms. Hekman.
Rebecca Hekman, Clifford Chance.
Mr. Berman.
Joshua Berman, Clifford Chance.
Mr. Weinsheimer.
Ms. Hariharan.
Ms. Shen.
Brad Weinsheimer, Department Justice.
Arya Hariharan, Judiciary minority.
Valerie Shen, Oversight and Government Reform
minority staff.
Mr. Ventura.
Christopher Ventura, legal clerk, majority.
Mr. Castor.
Steve Caster, Oversight staff, majority.
Mr. Buddharaju.
Anudeep Buddharaju, House Oversight
majority.
Ms. Green.
Meghan Green, House Oversight, majority.
Mr. Parmiter.
The Federal Rules Civil Procedure not
apply this setting, but there are some guidelines that will
follow that will over.
Our questioning will proceed rounds.
The majority will
ask questions first for hour, and then the minority will have opportunity ask questions for equal period time
they choose. will back and forth this manner until there
are more questions and the interview over.
Typically,
take short break the end each hour questioning, but
you would like take break apart from that, please let
know. will also take break for lunch the appropriate
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
point. noted earlier, you are appearing today voluntarily.
Accordingly, anticipate that our questions will receive
complete responses. the extent you decline answer our
questions counsel instructs you not answer, will
consider whether subpoena necessary. also have the
ability into classified setting, but was represented that there going very little that classified today. you can see, there official reporter taking down
everything say make written record, ask that you
give verbal responses all questions.
Mr. Ohr. you understand that?
Yes.
Mr. Parmiter. that the reporter can take down clear
record, important that dont talk over one another
interrupt each other can help it.
Both committees encourage witnesses who appear for
transcribed interviews freely consult with counsel they
choose, and you are appearing today with counsel.
Could counsel please state your name and current position for
the record.
Mr. Weinsheimer. name Brad Weinsheimer.
Associate Deputy Attorney General the Department Justice.
Mr. Berman. name Josh Berman. Mr. Ohrs personal
counsel, and partner Clifford Chance.
Ms. Hekman. name Rebecca Hekman.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE Mr. Ohrs
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
personal counsel. associate Clifford Chance.
Mr. Parmiter. want you answer our questions the
most complete and truthful manner possible, will take our
time. you have any questions you not understand one our questions, please let know. you honestly dont know
the answer question not remember, best not
guess.
Please give your best recollection, and okay
tell you learned information from someone else. there
are things you dont know cant remember, just say and
please inform who, the best your knowledge, might able provide more complete answer the question.
Mr. Ohr, you should also understand that although this
interview not under oath, you are required law answer
questions from Congress truthfully.
Mr. Ohr. you understand that?
Yes.
Mr. Parmiter.
This also applies questions posed
congressional staff interview.
Mr. Ohr. you understand this?
Yes.
Mr. Parmiter.
Witnesses who knowingly provide false
testimony could subject criminal prosecution for perjury
for making false statements.
Mr. Ohr. you understand this?
Yes.
Mr. Parmiter. there any reason you are unable provide
truthful answers todays questions?
Mr. Ohr.
No.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Parmiter.
Finally, like note that, Chairman
Goodlatte stated the outset our first transcribed interview this investigation, the content what discuss here today confidential.
Chairman Goodlatte and Gowdy ask that you not
speak about what discuss this interview anyone not
present here today preserve the integrity our investigation.
This confidentiality rule applies everyone present the room
today.
That the end preamble. you have any questions before begin?
Mr. Ohr.
No, dont.
Mr. Parmiter.
Thanks.
The time now 9:10 a.m. and well get
started with the first round questions, and Chairman Gowdy.
EXAMINATION
Mr. Gowdy.
Good morning, Mr. Ohr. one handful
members that will asking you questions, and Ill kick off. the extent ask you question that vague you think its trick question, its not. really trying understand what
role, any, you played the two major investigations 2016,
that being the investigation into what Russia did and with whom, anyone, did they it, and you know anything had any
role the Clinton Espionage Act investigation, want know
that too. not trying trick you, not trying just
simply want know.
Ive read lot, but heres our opportunity ask you directly what role, any, did you play those two
investigations, official otherwise.
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Did you ever provide information Fusion GPS employees
contractors during 2016 2017?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. dont believe so, no.
When you say you dont believe so, makes me, recovering lawyer, wonder why you would use that phrase
instead yes no.
Mr. Ohr. dont recall everything said, but its
certainly not practice, its never been practice provide
information outsiders about any Department Justice business.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did anyone employed Fusion GPS and
that, mean employees, contractors, anyone any definition
employment you can think provide information you 2016 2017 with respect either the Russia investigation, the
investigation into what the Trump campaign did, anything,
the Clinton investigation?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr.
Who?
Chris Steele, understand it, was hired
Fusion GPS research gather information.
information me. provided
Glenn Simpson, who is, understand it,
principal Fusion GPS, couple occasions, provided
information me.
And one occasion wife, who was
contractor with Fusion GPS, provided some information me.
Mr. Gowdy.
Lets take those reverse order.
one occasion your wife.
You said
And just for purposes those who dont
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
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know, your wifes name Nellie Ohr.
Mr. Ohr. that right?
Mr. Gowdy.
That correct.
And she began working for Fusion GPS what,
March 2016?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. believe was late 2015.
Mr. Ohr.
Late 2015?
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr.
And what role did she have Fusion GPS?
She was Russia analyst, and she would research
people and companies that Fusion GPS asked her look into.
She
would her research the internet, open sources; and she would
report her findings Fusion GPS, usually think dont
remember exactly the names.
Mr. Gowdy.
Was she hired specifically work
investigation into then-candidate Trump, was broader
portfolio than that?
Mr. Ohr.
portfolio. understanding that was broader
She began, said, believe late 2015.
Mr. Gowdy.
What did she before she began working for
Fusion GPS?
Mr. Ohr.
She was contractor with other companies that were
doing Russia-related work.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right. heard you correctly, there was
one occasion where she provided information you.
Mr. Ohr.
That correct.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
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Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
What was that one occasion? the what she one point and dont
remember the exact date, think was 2016 she provided
with memory stick that included research she had done for Fusion
GPS various Russian figures.
And the reason she provided that information is,
understanding was, related some the same related
the FBIs Russia investigation.
And she gave that stick
give the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Why would she not give the FBI?
She wasnt talking with the FBI.
She gave
me, and provided the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Was Chris Steele talking the FBI? various times, Chris Steele was talking with the
FBI.
Mr. Gowdy. was talking them good bit until they
discharged him source, wasnt he?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. dont know exactly when spoke with them.
Well, all marriages are different, trying envision this cold start conversation with Here, honey,
heres thumb drive.
Mr. Ohr.
There were conversations before that?
Well, Nellie was present with the end
July, when first heard Russia information information
relating the Russia investigation from Chris Steele.
was present for some that conversation. she she was certainly
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
aware that point that Chris Steele was giving some
information about Russia. some point, dont remember when, became aware that she
was looking some the same figures part her work for
Fusion GPS.
And came again, dont remember the
exact date where basically she was concerned that maybe the FBI
might want her information well, and provided the
information me.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right.
This where need you help me,
because you were working the Department Justice?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Which means you, depending what division
youre working in, you have the ability, appropriate, charge
people.
Mr. Ohr.
Well, the time was working the director
OCDETF, did not have any line attorney responsibilities
command, chain command responsibilities.
But yes, was
working for the Department Justice.
Mr. Gowdy.
Right.
And the Department Justice can file
informations seek indictments.
Fusion GPS cannot. when you
say you were working the same thing, couldnt have
necessarily been for the same reasons, because she wasnt
investigating criminal conduct, was she?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
What was she investigating?
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
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Mr. Ohr.
She was investigating names and companies that
Fusion GPS asked her look into.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
For what purpose? provide Fusion GPS. understanding
that Fusion GPS was, turn, providing other people.
Mr. Gowdy.
Justice?
Were they contractor the Department
Were they launching criminal investigations?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No. trying figure out why Fusion GPS
investigating Russian oligarchs and potential criminality and how
that might overlap with what you did the Department.
Mr. Ohr. understanding that Fusion GPS was hired
private individuals look into possible contacts between the
Russian Government and the Trump campaign.
Mr. Gowdy.
See.
Thats what thought.
took three questions get there. dont know why
Fusion GPS was hired
whom?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. did not know the time.
Mr. Ohr. you know now?
Ive seen the paper. sounds like, from
the paper, that there were couple different people that were
paying Fusion GPS this different times. understanding that some these people were connected the Clinton
campaign some way. dont know the dont recall the
names.
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Mr. Gowdy. Fusion GPS were looking potential Russian
contacts with the Trump campaign.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr.
And thats what your wife was working on?
Yes. some point, became aware that some
the people she was invest she was researching were some the
same people that had heard about from Chris Steele and Glenn
Simpson.
Mr. Gowdy.
And when did she provide, call thumb
drive, you called something else.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. dont recall the exact date.
Mr. Ohr.
Give month. dont recall the month either. think was
late 2016, but dont know for sure.
Mr. Gowdy.
After the Russia investigation began the
Bureau?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
That would have been late July? would assume would pretty sure was
after that.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
After the election?
Mr. Gowdy.
That dont recall.
Well, need you help there. pretty big pivot point.
The election
Most people remember what they were
doing before that and after that. you remember getting
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information from anyone Fusion GPS before the election?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr.
From whom?
Mr. Gowdy.
Glenn Simpson.
Well come back Mrs. Ohr.
Tell about Glenn
Simpson providing you information.
Mr. Ohr. recall, and this after checking with
notes, Mr. Simpson and spoke August 2016. met with him,
and provided some information possible intermediaries
between the Russian Government and the Trump campaign.
Mr. Gowdy. sure colleagues are wondering this also.
Why would Glenn Simpson give you information about Russian
oligarchs?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, job, for long time, included
responsibility for the organized crime program the Department Justice.
And for many years, had been overseeing
investigations and meeting with people, talking about organized
crime. the course this many years, met with both had
become acquainted with both Chris Steele, Glenn Simpson, and other
people.
And from time time, these people would give
information about Russian oligarchs and other Russian organized
crime figures, and then would pass that the FBI, introduce
people the FBI that they could continue.
And what
happened August was heard from Glenn Simpson that had some
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information.
Mr. Gowdy.
Well, you also strike being smart enough
not make yourself fact witness you didnt have to.
take the information?
with the Bureau.
Bureau? why
Chris Steele already had relationship
Why not just connect Glenn Simpson with the
Why put yourself the middle that?
Mr. Ohr. recollection that tried get Glenn
Simpson speak with the Bureau, but dont recall the exact
conversation. was willing meet with and give some
information. took the information and passed the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Who the FBI did you pass to?
Well, that point had believe met with
Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and some people from the
Departments Justice Departments Criminal Division, and gave
them the information that had received.
Mr. Gowdy.
Was either Peter Strzok Lisa Page, were they
working Russian oligarch fraud investigation addition
the Trump campaign, was just the Trump campaign
investigation that you remember them working the time?
Mr. Ohr. think recollection that they were looking different parts, not just one part. dont remember the exact
details, but -Mr. Gowdy.
Can you see how might troubling?
You just
called the names two people, neither whom think are with
the Bureau, one who was mentioned unfavorably report,
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
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both whom had, least from standpoint, unprecedented
amount animus bias towards one the candidates, and you
are getting information from someone hired the DNC and
funneling the lead agent the Russia investigation.
Can
you possibly see how that might troubling people?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right.
And what would your response that
troublement be?
Mr. Ohr. the time, they were the people who could use,
you know, look the information.
was told pass to.
They were the ones that
They also told that they would arrange
for contact with line agent, regular agent, and
that the future, contacts would with that agent rather
than with higher officials the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Who was handling Chris Steele, who the Bureau? dont know who was officially his handler.
know one the people was talking with who may have been his
handler was Special Agent Mike Gaeta.
Mr. Gowdy. why not tell Steele and Simpson talk
the Bureau directly?
Mr. Ohr.
directly. believe Steele was talking the Bureau recollection that least initially well, no.
Let cancel that. dont think think Glenn Simpson was willing
talk with me. not sure that recollection not
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sure was willing talk with the FBI, although that was
where obviously would better -Mr. Gowdy.
Why not?
investigate crime?
Mr. Ohr.
Why talk prosecutor who does not
Were you assigned the Russia investigation?
Mr. Gowdy. was not.
Did you have any connection with the Russia
investigation all?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Aside from passing this information, no. why would Glenn Simpson through you and not directly the Bureau?
Mr. Ohr. dont know what was his head. know was
willing talk -Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. sure you asked him. think tried get him talk with the FBI,
but dont recall the exact conversation.
Mr. Gowdy.
Well, Mr. Ohr, couple people around the
table have worked for the Department various points.
You
really try hard, attorney, not involve yourself chains facts that could warrant you being pretty much exactly where
you are today, which fact witness.
Surely this not the
first time you thought about that?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Thats right.
Mr. Ohr. why allow yourself conduit? thought the wanted get the information,
whatever information they had. wanted get the FBI, and
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE wanted try create the situation for people like Glenn
Simpson talk the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy. you believe, do, that the FBI the
worlds premier law enforcement agency?
Mr. Ohr. say yes, might make people the DEA very
unhappy, but yes, very have great admiration for the
FBI.
Mr. Gowdy. dont think its going make them unhappy.
They dont have much jurisdiction the Bureau has.
Bureau has broad jurisdiction.
The mean, DEA cant look Title
cases, can they?
Mr. Ohr.
Thats right, except for money laundering,
believe, yes.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right. youve got what, with your caveat
noted, you dont want offend anyone else, you got the worlds
premier law enforcement agency investigating fact pattern.
Chris Steele already has handler, already contact with the
FBI; and you allow the person hired the DNC dig dirt
Presidential candidate talk you directly and use you
conduit.
Were just trying figure out why you let that happen?
Mr. Ohr. took the information. thought the information
might important, and wanted get the FBI. seemed
the only way it.
Mr. Gowdy.
What information would Glenn Simpson have that
the Bureau couldnt get already have?
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Mr. Ohr. dont know exactly what the FBI had access to,
and know Glenn Simpson was also gathering information.
information better. more
The FBI position decide whether
the information useful credible. job, saw it, was
just get the information over there and let them figure out.
Mr. Gowdy. when Glenn Simpson gave you information, what
information did give you?
Mr. Ohr.
August. dont recall the exact facts gave believe made some notes the time, and believe
had with possible intermediaries between the Russian
Government and the Trump campaign.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Such as?
Mr. Gowdy. dont recall the exact names.
Mr. Ohr.
Thats serious allegation, Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes. allege that hostile foreign government
cahoots with members campaign pretty serious allegation.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr.
And you dont remember who was?
There were many names mentioned over period
time.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Tell the ones you remember. dont know came the conversation with
Glenn Simpson, but certainly one them was Sergei Millian.
Mr. Gowdy.
How about the Trump campaign side?
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Mr. Ohr.
Again, dont recall this was name that Glenn
Simpson mentioned, but remember the name Michael Cohen coming
up.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Cohen?
Okay.
Who else? remember and, again, dont think dont
remember think this name came from Chris Steele
originally, was Carter Page.
And the name Paul Manafort was also
mentioned, and think that came from Chris Steele originally.
Mr. Gowdy.
And what precisely, best you can recall, was
the nature this collaboration/conspiracy/coordination?
Mr. Ohr.
That there were communications back and forth
between the Russian Government and the Trump campaign.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. there anything inherently criminal about that? the Russian Government was attempting
influence the Trump campaign some way, would think that would national security threat.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
What would that some way be?
Espousing certain positions, they had some
kind control influence over members the campaign that
could affect U.S. policy way that would favorable
Russia Russian interests.
Mr. Gowdy.
And what did Mr. Simpson relay you about that?
What control dominion -Mr. Ohr. think Mr. Simpson was what Glenn Simpson was
giving was more the means which this communication was
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being what thought how the communication was happening.
dont think was talking much about what exactly they
were you know, what policies whatever they were talking
about.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Youve been prosecutor for how long?
Mr. Gowdy. began prosecutor 1991. from 2018 1991, you have essentially asked
questions for living?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Uh-huh.
Yes.
What questions did you ask Glenn Simpson about
the origin his information?
me.
And still maybe its just still struggling figure out now, was
conspiracy access the DNC server, interested. its
conspiracy access John Podestas email, interested.
actually interested its conspiracy disseminate what was
taken even they didnt take it.
But doubt met with high-ranking DOJ official say,
someone the Russian Government knows someone the Trump
campaign.
Mr. Ohr. believe one the things again, dont
remember was Glenn Simpson Chris Steele that mentioned
this talked about going get the names wrong, but
somebody associated with the Trump campaign having advance
knowledge when information about the Clinton campaign that had
been stolen and hacked, when was going leaked.
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Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
What criminal code section would that violate?
Mr. Gowdy. mean, think, again, its
Mr. Ohr.
Conspiracy defraud the United States?
Mr. Gowdy.
Right, conspiracy. could
You dont see that statute used very often
dont think, you, not that part it?
Recently, weve seen
it.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Sorry?
Recently, weve seen it. that what you were
thinking, that was conspiracy defraud the United States?
Mr. Ohr. think any attempt foreign power gain
influence over Presidential campaign would troubling.
Mr. Gowdy.
But that does not include Steele relying
Russians provide dirt Trump.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. sorry, dont understand the question.
That does not include Steele relying Russians provide dirt Trump, question mark?
Mr. Ohr. think understanding that what Steele was
finding out was investigating the links, the national security
threat posed Russian Government officials attempting gain
influence over the Trump campaign.
criminal. dont think thats think thats highlighting national security threat.
Mr. Gowdy. was relying foreign nationals for that
information?
Mr. Ohr. dont know who was getting from.
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Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Who were Steeles sources? dont know.
Mr. Gowdy.
sources?
How did you vet those how did vet those
How did Fusion GPS vet those sources?
Mr. Ohr. think dont know the specifics.
The fact
that wife was looking some the same figures, like Sergei
Millian, suggests that that was one way they were trying vet
the information. when provided the FBI, tried clear that
this source information. dont know how reliable is.
Youre going have check out and aware.
These guys
were hired somebody relating whos related the Clinton
campaign, and aware -Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Did you tell the Bureau that?
Mr. Gowdy.
Oh, yes.
Mr. Ohr.
Why did you tell the Bureau that? wanted them aware any possible bias or,
you know, they evaluate the information, they need know the
circumstances.
Mr. Gowdy. you specifically told the Bureau that the
information you were passing came from someone who was employed the DNC, albeit somewhat triangulated way?
Mr. Ohr. dont believe used didnt know they were
employed the DNC, but certainly said, yes, that that they
were working for you know, they were somehow working associated
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with the Clinton campaign.
And also told the FBI that wife
worked for Fusion GPS was contractor for GPS, Fusion GPS.
Mr. Gowdy.
And, again, you thought was important tell
the Bureau that for bias -Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes. motive, interest the outcome, all the
reasons that you have produce -Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr. not complementary information?
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
And you think should have also been
included FISA application?
Mr. Ohr.
know. have dont FISA applications. dont would think you should attempt corroborate any
source information you get before you -Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Would jury told about that? think certainly would were calling
witness, would provide that kind information the defense.
Mr. Gowdy.
Well, and your very competent counsel would spend
hours making sure the jury knew the connection between the
source and political opponent, dont you think?
Mr. Ohr.
Hours.
Mr. Gowdy. sure would topic cross-examination.
Mr. Ohr. wouldnt footnote.
Mr. Gowdy. -It wouldnt oblique footnote buried
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somewhere application.
Mr. Ohr.
Theyd spend hours it. sure were trial setting, there would
cross-examination about it.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right. Simpson, you met with Simpson how
many times?
Mr. Ohr. recall two times.
Mr. Gowdy.
coincidences.
Now, some colleagues dont believe have not made mind yet whether not
thats possible, but you met with Simpson mean, with Steele, remember correctly, late July -Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. breakfast with Mrs. Ohr?
Yes.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. you know what else happened late July? have seen the papers that the FBI opened some
kind investigation late July. was certainly not aware
that the time.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Who opened it?
Ive just seen something the papers. dont
know.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Oh, you can guess. dont know.
Mr. Gowdy.
already.
What FBI agent opened it?
Ill give you hint.
Peter Strzok.
You mentioned his name
How many times did you talk Peter
Strzok before July 2016?
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Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
None, dont think. did not know Peter Strzok.
Mr. Ohr.
How did you meet him? some point, believe the fall 2016, met
with him and Lisa Page, told you before.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Why?
Why did you meet with them?
Mr. Gowdy. pass the latest information that had received.
How did you find out who meet with?
Who did
you call find out?
Mr. Ohr.
So, prior that meeting, had okay.
After
the July 30th meeting with Chris Steele, wanted provide the
information had given the FBI. reached out for Andrew
McCabe, that time, Deputy Director the FBI and somebody who
had previously led the organized crime, Russian organized crime
squad New York and who had worked with the past, and asked could meet with me. went his office provide the information, and Lisa provided the information them.
And some
point after that, think, was given Peter Strzok, somehow
put contact with Peter Strzok.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
And that would have been when? dont recall the exact date. guessing
would have been August since met with Chris Steele the end July, and pretty sure would have reached out Andrew
McCabe soon afterwards.
Mr. Gowdy. you provided the information Glenn Simpson
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gave you Peter Strzok?
Mr. Ohr. oh, no.
No, no.
Yes.
The information Chris Steele had given
Yeah, sorry. after Glenn Simpson gave information, yes, believe
provided that Peter Strzok.
Mr. Gowdy. the Steele and Simpson information, you were
the conduit Peter Strzok?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes. they may have had other conduits
certainly with respect Mr. Steele, but yes, did.
Mr. Gowdy. July 2016, Chris Steele emailed you and
made reference to, and Ill quote, our favorite business tycoon.
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Who was referring to?
Oleg Deripaska.
Mr. Gowdy.
How did you know that thats who was referring
to?
Mr. Ohr. had had conversations prior that time about
Oleg Deripaska earlier that year.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. couldnt have been Donald Trump?
No, dont think so.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Why not? never had conversations about Donald Trump
before July 30th.
matters. talked with about Russian organized crime had talked the past about Deripaska.
That was
pretty much the only person mind that could have been
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referring to.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did you and Chris Steele ever discuss Donald
Trump?
Mr. Ohr. the July 30th conversation, one the items
information that Chris Steele gave was that had
information that former head the Russian Foreign Intelligence
Service, the SVR, had stated someone didnt know
who that they had Donald Trump over barrel.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. you know Jon Winer?
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, acquainted with Jonathan Winer.
Did you ever discuss the Russian investigation
the 2016 Presidential race with Jon Winer?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
Did you ever pass information was
employee the State Department?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. think so.
Did you ever pass information from him the
Bureau the Department?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
Other than Chris Steele and Glenn Simpson, did
anyone else ever provide information you that you then provided the Department the Bureau?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. mentioned wife and the memory stick.
Mr. Ohr.
Your wife? dont think anyone else did, no.
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Mr. Gowdy.
Did you look that stick thumb drive?
Mr. Ohr.
No.
Mr. Gowdy.
You didnt even open it?
Mr. Ohr.
work.
No. didnt want plug into machine just gave the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
Why didnt you want plug into your machine work?
Mr. Ohr. dont plug any stick that anyone gives me, even wife, into work computer.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
What did she describe was it? understanding was that included her research behalf Fusion GPS.
Mr. Gowdy.
Was her job find much information she
could, good and bad, Donald Trump, was opposition
research?
Mr. Ohr. dont think understanding was not
that she was asked look specific individuals and
companies, and think they were all related were Russia,
because her expertise was researching Russian topics, reading
Russian websites, that sort thing. think she was just gathering whatever information she
could find those persons, and then she would pass that
Fusion GPS.
unfavorable. wouldnt wasnt limited favorable was just whatever she could find.
Mr. Gowdy.
The July 30th breakfast that Chris Steele and
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your wife and you attended, what was discussed there?
Mr. Ohr. Chris Steele provided with basically three
items information.
One them Ive described you already,
the comment that information supposedly stated and made the
head, former head the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. also mentioned that Carter Page had met with certain
high-level Russian officials when was Moscow.
recollection that time, the name Carter Page had already
been the press, and there had been some kind statement about
who had met with when went Moscow.
And the first item
that recall Chris Steele telling was had information that
Carter Page met with higher-level Russian officials, not just
whoever was mentioned the press article. that was one item.
And then the third item mentioned was that Paul Hauser,
who was attorney working for Oleg Deripaska, had information
about Paul Manafort, that Paul Manafort had entered into some kind business deal with Oleg Deripaska, had stolen large amount
money from Oleg Deripaska, and that Paul Hauser was trying
gather information that would show that, you know, give more
detail about what Paul Manafort had done with respect
Deripaska.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did Mr. Steele ever express his opinion
candidate Trump you?
Mr. Ohr. that time, dont recall, but later on, prior the election when spoke with Chris Steele, got the sense
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was very alarmed this information, which think believed true.
And definitely got the impression did not want
Donald Trump win the election.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
You got the impression told you that? dont remember specifically what said, but
was strong enough impression that told the FBI that.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Have you had chance review your 302s? looked 302s preparation for testimony
with the Senate Intelligence Committee back January this
year; and did review them one subsequent occasion, again,
early this year. have seen them, but have not looked
them for least months.
Mr. Gowdy. you recall whether was you that Chris
Steele said was desperate that Donald Trump not win?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. think said that the FBI, yes.
Was that your impression him that
something said you?
Mr. Ohr. dont recall exactly what said, but,
said, whether said directly not, had the very strong
impression. just dont want say words that dont remember
right this moment.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
What does the word desperate mean? think was very anxious very very
concerned that Donald Trump not win.
Mr. Gowdy.
Well, concerned and desperate are two
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separate words.
Mr. Ohr.
What does the word desperate mean? think very concerned.
And, again, wanted
provide that the FBI, because was important that the FBI
know what his mindset was.
Mr. Gowdy.
You want know when youre relying source that says theyre
desperate prevent someone from winning, you would want know
that.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, course.
How about willing anything keep him from
winning, you remember seeing that your 302, words that
effect?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No, dont recall that specifically, no.
Well, what you instead guessing what
you recall, what you recall Chris Steele telling you about
Donald Trump and whether not wanted see him prevail
November?
Mr. Ohr. told you, dont recall the exact words.
definitely had very strong impression that did not want
Donald Trump win, because believed his information was
giving was accurate, and that was, said, very
concerned, was desperate, which what then told the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy. remember right, youve been prosecutor
since 1991?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, sir.
Did you ever have chance cross-examine
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anyone?
Mr. Ohr. occasion.
Not often defense counsel,
but yes.
Mr. Gowdy. tell all the questions,
cross-examination-like questions that you asked Chris Steele about
the source his information.
Mr. Ohr. knew would not give the source his
information, couldnt get it.
Mr. Gowdy.
How much what Chris Steele told you would have
ever come out courtroom?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. not sure would have.
Mr. Ohr.
Oh,
Mr. Gowdy.
This was source information.
Mr. Ohr. pretty sure would not.
Mr. Gowdy.
Right.
Mr. Ohr.
Why not?
Mr. Gowdy. was source information. was hearsay.
Mr. Ohr.
Whats hearsay?
Its something that did not was something
that heard from someone else.
Mr. Gowdy.
What hearsay for those not familiar with the
definition?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. statement that was made outside court.
Mr. Ohr.
Offered prove?
The truth the matter asserted, yes.
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Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
There are exceptions, but cant find one
for what Chris Steele told you.
Was Chris Steele talking directly the source?
Mr. Ohr. source. dont know exactly. assumed was talking dont know what the source specifically knew.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Did have subsources? dont know.
Mr. Gowdy. guessing you never talked the sources
subsources.
Mr. Ohr.
That correct.
Mr. Gowdy.
Well, Mr. Ohr, that information would never see
the inside courtroom, because you cant cross-examine it.
You cant find out who, anyone, really the source that. you agree?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
But this not evidence courtroom. providing information from this source information.
And
most FBI investigations involve source information, least
the early stages.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right. dont really want this, but
were going have anyway.
not come courtroom?
Mr. Ohr.
Why would that information
Why hearsay not allowed? dont the rules evidence are try ensure
that have, you know, first-person evidence for courtroom.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Why?
Why?
Because consider that more reliable.
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Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Its more reliable, more likely true,
right?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
And the most powerful tool you have eliminate
the truth what?
Ill give you hint.
Its the Sixth
Amendment.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Cross-examination.
You get confront the people, right?
You get cross them?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Not only were you not able it, you dont
even know Steele was able it.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Right.
double hearsay. best-case scenario, best-case scenario, its
Worst-case scenario, dont have any
could quintuple hearsay, right?
Mr. Ohr. think dont know. definitely hearsay,
and was source information, which what was telling the
FBI.
Mr. Gowdy. like the phrase source information.
Source
information help the source not credible, agree?
Mr. Ohr.
The FBI agree, but the point what the FBI
has when gets information see theres other
information from other places that corroborate the information.
And this the point giving thats why the FBI collects
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source information, not present court, but see
different sources corroborate each other, and whether picture
begins emerge.
Mr. Gowdy. guess what alarms about this fact pattern
all the way December 2016, guy named Comey was referring the information unverified.
Thats December 2016.
What happened October 2016?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. not sure what youre referring to.
Mr. Ohr.
Was used court filing?
Mr. Gowdy. not aware how was used.
Mr. Ohr.
Have you read the FISA application? aware that there was Ive read the paper
that some kind FISA application was used that some
the information was used FISA application, but was not
aware that the time.
Mr. Gowdy.
Were you aware that Director Comey referred
the information unverified all the way into December 2016?
Mr. Ohr. dont recall that, you know, the time, but
certainly considered it, said, source information.
Mr. Gowdy. you know what steps Peter Strzok took
either corroborate contradict the information?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
Mr. Ohr. you dont know Steeles source.
Mr. Gowdy.
Correct.
You dont know had subsources.
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Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Correct.
You dont know any was even attempted corroborated contradicted?
Mr. Ohr. assumption that the FBI tries corroborate
the information they think its something they want pursue.
Mr. Gowdy.
was unverified.
How would you know better than Comey? said
They didnt even try corroborate until
2017.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. dont know what they had, what they were doing.
Who the Department knew that you were talking Chris Steele and Glenn Simpson?
Mr. Ohr. spoke with some people the Criminal Division,
other career officials who dealt with some these matters. -Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Any them have names?
Yes. was about tell you.
One them was
Bruce Swartz, who the Counselor For International Affairs
the Criminal Division; person who was working with him the
time, working similar matters the Criminal Division was
Zainab Ahmad; and third person who was working some some these matters believe was Andrew Weissmann.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Who that last one?
Andrew Weissmann. was the head the Fraud
Section the time.
Mr. Gowdy.
Ive heard his name somewhere before, think.
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Changing the subject, have you talked anyone the
special counsels team?
Mr. Ohr.
Ive had one social contact with member the
special counsel team. FBI agent who Ive worked with the
past named Bill McCausland was, least for while, assigned
the special counsel team from New York.
When was working
Washington, went out for lunch one time.
did not discuss the investigation. obviously,
Other than that, not
aware any contact with the special counsel team.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did you ever put Chris Steele touch with
anyone special counsel team?
Mr. Ohr. dont know. know that the FBI, one point
2017, asked ask Chris would meet with the FBI, and
conveyed that message.
place.
And know some point meeting took dont know who from the FBI was present, dont know they were from the special counsel team not.
Mr. Gowdy.
that again. going have get you back through
You lost me, which sure fault, not yours.
Mr. Ohr.
No, no.
Sorry. sorry, youre going
have repeat the question get right.
Mr. Gowdy.
Well, think what was wondering whether
not Chris Steele either asked you communicated you that
wanted talk special counsel team and whether you made any
efforts connect him?
Mr. Ohr. the okay, thats different question.
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But
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know that Chris Steele referred the FBI and the special counsel
team some our conversations seemed like interchangeably. not know who Chris Steele spoke with when the FBI spoke
with him 2017, dont know the FBI people who spoke with
him were part the special counsels team not.
The person was speaking with when reported these conversations was not
part the special counsel team.
Mr. Gowdy.
Are you aware that Chris Steeles relationship
with the Bureau soured and/or dissolved some point the fall 2016?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. some point became aware that, yes.
Mr. Ohr.
How did you learn that? not sure where first learned it.
certainly would have heard that from Chris Steele some point,
but not sure where learned first.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Why did dissolve?
Mr. Gowdy. dont know specifically. sure Chris told you, didnt he, did you
not ask?
Mr. Ohr. mean, guess was making assumption the
time that but its just assumption, that that the FBI
would have stopped talking with him because talked
reporter.
Mr. Gowdy.
Why would that dissolve relationship with the
Bureau?
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Mr. Ohr.
Normally, the FBI tells its sources not talk
anybody else.
Mr. Gowdy.
That would good assumption. Chris Steele
was working for Fusion GPS and the FBI the same time?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, believe so.
Mr. Ohr.
Was being paid both?
Mr. Gowdy. believe so.
Why was the Bureau paying him for information
you were going pass from Fusion GPS the Bureau?
Mr. Ohr. know the FBI had other contacts with Chris Steele
besides contact, besides what was getting, but dont know
the specific nature what they paid him for.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Did you ever talk the media?
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
Did DAG Yates know that you were talking
Steele Simpson?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
know?
Did any your supervisors the Department think the others you described were more peers.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Right.
Mr. Ohr.
Any your supervisors?
Mr. Gowdy.
No. you know Mrs. Nellie Ohr ever talked
Peter Strzok?
Mr. Ohr. dont know any conversation, no.
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Mr. Gowdy. there were text from Strzok Page that
said, quote, remind [redacted, name redacted] met with Bruce
and got more stuff today, close quote, you know who that Bruce
would be?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
Mr. Ohr.
Could Bruce Ohr?
Mr. Gowdy. guess could be. you remember meeting with someone about
December 20th and getting information from that person?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Not sit here.
Mr. Ohr.
Would anything refresh your recollection?
Maybe email something. dont know.
dont think notes reflected anything like that.
Mr. Gowdy. remember correctly, the only sources
information for you were Simpson, Steele, and Mrs. Ohr.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Outside the government, yes.
Mr. Ohr.
What was the last part?
Mr. Gowdy.
Outside the government, yes.
All right.
Other than Mrs. Ohr, were you talking the other two December 2016?
Mr. Ohr. believe met with Glenn Simpson December
2016.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
About what? provided with memory stick, and provided
additional information regarding the contacts between the Russians
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and the Trump campaign.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. now were two memory sticks.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Both whom could have gone the Bureau but
didnt.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Oh, provided them the Bureau. get that. get that, Mr. Ohr. still
wondering why they wanted through DOJ attorney that was
not assigned the investigation.
Mr. Ohr.
Well, Ive known Glenn Simpson, not very well, but
Ive known him for several years.
comfortable talking with me. maybe felt more
Thats thats assumption,
but -Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr.
Youve been with the Department since 1991?
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, sir.
Are there other cases where you recall taking
information from fact witnesses and passing the Bureau?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes. dont recall specific instances, but
whenever over the years, Ive talked with people who are,
you know, experts have information one way another
transnational organized crime, including Russian organized crime, take their information, and looked like theres
anything there, would pass the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
Ive been out for about years, you
help wrong, but stick, thumb drive, would
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physical evidence -Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, sir.
Mr. Ohr. for which chain would exist
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr. were ever needed court?
Mr. Gowdy.
Right.
Mr. Ohr.
And you made yourself part the chain?
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Can you think other instances your career
since 1991 where you made yourself part chain custody?
Mr. Ohr.
Not dont remember getting any other sticks
anything like that, -Mr. Gowdy.
How many cases would you say you handled your
career the Department?
Mr. Ohr.
When was AUSA and actively prosecuting cases, sure did few hundred.
Mr. Gowdy.
Then tradition holds, you did few less when
you went Main Justice than when you were out the field?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr. what, 250, that conservative?
Mr. Gowdy. wouldnt want guess.
Mr. Ohr. want conservative.
200? said, sure was, you know, several
hundred altogether.
Mr. Gowdy.
Several hundred would more than 200, but well
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE really conservative and say 200.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
All right.
And you cant think single case where you
inserted yourself into chain custody other than this one?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Thats right. guess colleagues are wondering why.
Why
this one?
Mr. Ohr. mentioned before, met people over the years
who would have information that they wanted tell somebody
U.S. law enforcement. had been working this area for many
years, many people know but might not know FBI agent
whos working this area.
They would tell things; would
pass the FBI.
Mr. Gowdy.
You never gave information your wife then
give Fusion GPS?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
No.
No.
Did you ever have any conversations with Peter
Strzok about Donald Trump?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. dont believe so, no.
Mr. Ohr.
What causes you not certain?
Well, passed him the information had received, thats you know, that information mentions Donald Trumps
name, but outside that, dont think had any other
conversations.
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[10:05 a.m.]
Mr. Gowdy.
Did ever express any animus bias towards
Trump you those conversations?
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. dont think so, no.
Mr. Ohr.
Did you ever meet with Lisa Page?
She was the same meeting she was the
meeting with Peter Strzok, and she was the initial meeting with
Andrew McCabe.
Mr. Gowdy.
Where did the meeting take place, the one with
you and Strzok and Page?
Mr. Ohr. belive that was the Criminal Division main
Justice.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did either one them express any concern that
you were chain physical evidence?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, that point, dont believe that any
memory sticks had been passed. they understood that had
received information, and they said they would get agent
talk who would write the stuff down and whatever well,
dont know write down, but that they would give agent speak with and provide the information.
Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Ohr. that why there are 302s you the file?
Mr. Gowdy. believe so.
Mr. Ohr.
That the agent interviewing you?
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Who did you give the sticks to?
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Mr. Ohr.
The agent.
Mr. Gowdy.
Which agent?
Mr. Ohr. believe this point was Joe Pientka.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did you get receipt?
Mr. Ohr.
No.
Mr. Gowdy. chain custody receipt?
Mr. Ohr.
say.
Yes. just this was, you know, unverified, you was source information. just passed the FBI for
whatever was worth.
Mr. Gowdy.
Why did you meet with Chris Steele after the FBI
had dissolved its relationship with him?
Mr. Ohr. dont believe met with Chris Steele any
point after that.
Chris Steele would continue call various
times, and would listen what had say, and would pass the FBI.
The only time information went the other way
wasnt information was when the FBI asked convey Chris
would willing meet with them again and did that.
Mr. Gowdy.
Who the FBI asked whether Steele would
willing meet with them again?
Mr. Ohr. was the agent was talking to. that point, dont remember was Joe Pientka another agent.
various times, was told start talking new agent, and would provide the information the new agent.
Mr. Gowdy. this after the Bureau dissolved its
relationship with Steele -COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy. believe so, yes. did not pay him the last installment the
money thought was owed -Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes, believe so. for breaking the agreement that had with
them not tell others that was Bureau source and/or talking the media.
Mr. Ohr.
That assumption.
But, yes, was not part
any decision the FBI, dont know specifically.
But that understanding.
Mr. Gowdy.
And your testimony someone the Bureau was
willing reengage with Christopher Steele.
Mr. Ohr.
Mr. Gowdy.
Yes.
Mr. Ohr.
And tell again who that was. dont know where the request came from. was
given the agent that was reporting to, and then
conveyed that Chris Steele.
Mr. Gowdy.
Did you ever wonder why the Bureau didnt convey
that directly Steele, why the Bureau was also using you
conduit?
Mr. Ohr. dont remember wondered about that the
time. guess didnt seem out place, since was telling
them:
Hey, this what told me.
And they said:
the next time you talk with him, can you ask him this?
Oh, well,
did.
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And
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Gowdy. have only got little bit time left. see
Mr. Ratcliffe writing furiously, can have the minute and seconds have left.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
right.
Mr. Ohr, want make sure heard you
You met with Lisa Page two occasions that you
Mr. Ohr. remember two.
There might have been third, but remember two.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
And one those was shortly after you met
with Christopher Steele. July 30, you had meeting with Andy
McCabe and Lisa Page.
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Ohr.
No, that meeting was Andrew McCabes office.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Ohr.
You said that meeting was main Justice? was Andrew McCabes office.
Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
And was sometime, you believe, August,
because was shortly after the meeting with Christopher Steele?
Mr. Ohr.
Probably, yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
And that was because, that point time,
you wanted the FBI have that information and aware your
contact with Christopher Steele?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Ohr.
Did anyone prompt that call Andy McCabe?
No, dont think so. think that was me.
me.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Just
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Ratcliffe.
You, out just idea that that was the
appropriate thing do?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Okay.
But you also thought was
appropriate communicating with Christopher Steele.
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Okay.
Even though you dont have any
authority, apparently.
Mr. Ohr. just calling meeting with me, had
done and off for many years. tells something that interest concern, pass that the FBI.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
And you said something about you thought that
was your job.
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Part job, saw it, having been
for long time responsible for organized crime the Department,
was try gather much information introduce the FBI
possible sources information, whatever ways further the
programs goals.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Okay.
But yet Sally Yates she was your
boss, right?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
You said she didnt know that you were
talking Steele Simpson?
Mr. Ohr.
Correct.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
How you know she didnt know?
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Mr. Ohr.
Well, didnt tell her.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Okay. she may have known from some other
source.
Mr. Ohr.
Possible.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Well, you would think she would, because over the FBI Andy McCabe knew that you were talking Steele and
Simpson early August 2016.
Mr. Ohr.
Right.
But dont know what, anything, was
conveyed Sally Yates.
Mr. Ratcliffe.
Andy McCabe knew.
Did Jim Comey know
August 2016 that you were talking Christopher Steele and
Glenn Simpson?
Mr. Ohr. dont know.
Mr. Ratcliffe. think our first hour has expired.
will visit with you little bit.
Mr. Ohr.
Okay.
[Recess]
Ms. Shen. are back the record.
Sir, name Valerie Shen.
The time 10:25. the chief national
security counsel for Ranking Member Cummings the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Ms. Hariharan.
Ms. Shen.
Arya Hariharan for Ranking Member Nadler. will leading the questioning behalf
the minority side today.
Mr. Ohr.
Good morning.
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Ms. Shen.
Good morning.
EXAMINATION MS. SHEN: would like ask you just some additional
background questions about your career. will end
covering, think, some the ground that mentioned last
round.
But what your current title the Department
Justice? senior counsel the Office International
Affairs the Criminal Division the Justice Department.
And how long have you held that position?
Since January this year.
And how would you describe your general roles and
responsibilities that position? advise the director and deputy directors the Office International Affairs the operation the office and the
work the office.
Who currently your direct supervisor?
The Director Office International Affairs Vaugh
Ary, A-r-y.
And who does Vaughn Ary report to? reports the Deputy Assistant Attorney General,
Bruce Swartz, and the Assistant Attorney General.
And who does that Assistant Attorney General report to?
The Deputy Attorney General.
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Who reports the Attorney General.
Correct.
What previous positions have you held DOJ?
What was
your previous position before your current one? previous position was the Director the Organized
Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, OCDETF, OCDETF.
What was your role and your responsibilities part
that position? was the head that component responsible for the
operation OCDETF and helping coordinate drug and organized
crime investigations within the Department.
And how long did you hold that position for? had that position from late 2014 until January 2018, the current year.
And when you were that position, who did you directly
report to? reported the Deputy Attorney General.
What was your position the Department Justice
prior the Director OCDETF?
From 2011 2014, was counselor for transnational
organized crime and international affairs the Criminal
Division.
And what were your roles and responsibilities part
that position? worked organized crime policy matters and
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international policy and case matters they came up.
And who did you report when you were that
position? Bruce Swartz and the Assistant Attorney General.
And what position did you hold the Department
Justice before you were the counselor for transnational organized
crime and international affairs?
From 1999 2011, was the chief the Organized
Crime and Racketeering Section the Criminal Division.
And what were your roles and responsibilities that
position? oversaw the Department Justices organized crime
program, primarily transnational organized crime.
And who did you report part that position? reported one the deputy assistant attorney
generals the Criminal Division.
For most the time that
was the chief that section, reported Deputy Assistant
Attorney General John Keeney, K-e-e-n-e-y.
And what was your position the Department Justice
prior that position?
From 1991 1999, was assistant U.S. attorney
the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District New York.
And what types cases did you prosecute when you were the Southern District New York?
Many different kinds cases. served the general
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crimes unit, the narcotics unit, senior narcotics unit, securities
unit, the gang unit, and last year the office was the
chief the violent gang unit. part the chief the violent gang unit, are there
any particular cases you found notable? can you just elaborate little bit more about your work the chief the violent
gangs unit?
Our job was prosecute the most violent gangs New
York City. did provide numerous prosecutions for murder,
racketeering, drugs violent gangs various parts New York
City.
Are you counterintelligence expert?
No.
Have you ever worked counterintelligence
professional?
No.
What would you say your professional areas expertise have worked most career organized crime and
are?
drug investigations.
How many years experience you have organized
crime?
Certainly the time was chief the Organized Crime
Section, years. AUSA. worked some organized crime cases when was
And then counselor well, would say everything
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since then has involved organized crime. would fair say you have decades
experience organized crime.
Yes.
Are there certain nations regions organized crime
that you have had special focus your career?
Yes. are concerned with organized crime from many
different regions.
Russia and the former Soviet Union one.
Eastern Europe and the Balkans another.
Asian organized crime
and emerging organized crime groups from other parts the world well. would you call yourself expert Russian
organized crime?
Yes.
And part your work Russian organized crime,
have you worked cases involving the Russian mafia mob?
not sure what the correct terminology is.
Yes, have overseen those kind investigation is.
And your investigations involving the Russian mafia mob, what types investigations crimes those tend
involve?
They often involve fraud, public corruption, extortion,
money laundering, other crimes. those criminal investigations sometimes involve
Russian oligarchs?
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Yes.
Have you ever prosecuted Russian oligarch?
One the cases that had some supervisory
responsibility the chief the Organized Crime Section was the
prosecution former prime minister Ukraine named Pavlo
Lazarenko. was not only former Prime Minister but had
great deal money, suppose you could call him oligarch.
What was Pavlo Lazarenko what kind criminal
activity was engaged in? believe charged him with money laundering and
fraud.
Can you describe little bit more detail what your
specific role was that prosecution Pavlo Lazarenko?
The prosecution Lazarenko was carried out the San
Francisco Strike Force, which was the U.S. Attorneys Office
for the Northern District California. the chief the
Organized Crime Section Washington, had some supervisory
responsibility for all Strike Force investigations.
And why his case specifically notable you? was extremely prominent figure both politically
and having lot money Ukraine.
corruption very large scale:
moneys.
The case involved
theft Ukraine Government came the United States. was very long and
drawn-out prosecution.
How long was the prosecution, you recall?
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COMMITTEE SENSITIVE dont remember exactly, but was several years. part the prosecution Pavlo Lazarenko, were
there other individuals who were also prosecuted related
crimes?
Yes, there was another defendant California.
believe his name may have been Kerechenko, but not sure.
Was that individual U.S. citizen Russian
national? dont recall. you recall playing role the 2003 indictment
the Russian crime boss Semion Mogilevich?
Yes.
Okay.
And can you describe what your role was that
prosecution?
Again, the chief the Organized Crime Section,
had some supervisory responsibility for the work the
Philadelphia Strike Force that indicted Semion Mogilevich.
dont recall now whether there was RICCO charge believe
there was that case and had independent responsibility review and approve all RICCO indictments before they were
filed. you recall generally what types crimes Semion
Mogilevich was involved in? was involved stock manipulation, remember
correctly.
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Deripaskas visa around 2006?
Yes, although there yes.
There have been different
incidents involving Mr. Deripaska over the years, may have
trouble remembering specifically what happened 2006. guess will the beginning.
But yes.
What sort
your earliest recollection your official involvement
prosecution activity involving Oleg Deripaska? dont recall first exposure matters involving
Mr. Deripaska, but recall that, some point, may have
been 2006, worked with the FBI and with other U.S. Government
agencies try limit Mr. Deripaskas access the United
States.
And why did yourself and the FBI believe Mr. Deripaskas
access the United States should limited that time?
Mr. Weinsheimer. really cant get into other
investigations and the basis for that investigation.
Ms. Shen.
Okay. MS. SHEN:
Can you describe more general matter why Mr. Oleg
Deripaska was the United States Government radar? can say generally that Mr. Deripaskas activities have
been concern the U.S. Government for some time.
So, overall, would fair say that you have
significant experience investigating and prosecuting Russian
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organized crime, including Russian oligarchs with connection
the Russian Government?
Yes.
Mr. Ohr, why did you decide join the Justice
Department? wanted prosecute cases. believe strongly the
mission the Department Justice, protect our American
citizens investigating and prosecuting crime.
That what
wanted do.
And your nearly three decades the Justice
Department, what would you call your proudest accomplishment? hard single out any particular accomplishment. think feel very privileged have been able work the
Department for this long. think when prosecutor looks back
their career, they remember things like their first trial, they
remember things like their longest trial.
Those tend stick out
more than stuff that you managerial capacity.
But
would hard for single out any one episode.
Let just step back for moment, just because there certainly lot mention Russian oligarchs the news
these days.
Certainly, some the individuals are part our
investigation.
And with your experience, was wondering you
could elaborate higher level to, you know, and why you
think important for understand what the national
security implications are these individuals and the crimes they
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commit. mean, lot these crimes talk about are
financial nature, money laundering.
But dont think really
puts maybe the full context perhaps the import, you know,
the country. was just wondering you could speak little bit more detail about, you know, the body work that you have been
engaged and how you think people should really think about
these cases larger sense, right, and why they should matter them.
Okay. will try answer that question.
You began with Russian oligarchs. think one thing that
outsiders not always understand that Russia works
differently from the United States and most Western countries,
that Russia place where, unfortunately, crime and corruption
are quite pervasive, and that the line between government,
business, and organized crime thin, gray, nonexistent, whatever
you want say. what people might look business deal government action often may linked criminal activity.
And have very careful when see Russian criminal,
business, government activity and aware that they often flow
into each other. experience that Russian criminals, businessmen,
government officials often use the government for their own
private ends, and, conversely, the Russian state often uses
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oligarchs and criminals for government ends, extent which
think not well understood most people the West.
Okay.
So, hearing right, sounds like
Russia often indistinguishable, criminal networks from the
official Russian Government network, and where those boundaries
may lie. that accurate say?
Yes.
Okay.
And would fair say that the
activities Russian oligarchs who may involved crimes
especially notable because they are also heavily involved
the business the official Russian state? that fair
statement?
Yes.
You know, have also have certainly heard many
reports about particular acts violence both within official
Russian state officials but also these so-called Russian
oligarchs. was wondering you could speak more that
something you have witnessed your experience well, the
course your prosecutions, just certain threats that may not familiar the tactics that would expect U.S.
businessmen, certainly?
Yes.
Because the lines are blurry Russia, there always the potential for violence. different times since
the fall the Soviet Union, the violence has been more less
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explicit, but the threat violence always there.
And people
who are doing things Russia that involve lot money
government actions, think, always are calculating whether some
sort violence could occur.
Has specific threat violence ever come either
for you personally colleague yours they have been
involving themselves investigating prosecuting case
related with Russia? dont believe recall any times where have
personally felt threatened.
area are always cautious. think investigators working this cant remember any specific
incidents, sit here. imagine that yourself and other prosecutors,
investigators who work Russian organized crime would have
contacts with certain sources least sources who are sources
who are either Russian nationals have ties that world.
you feel like the threat violence affects the type sourcing
that you tend involved in?
Sure. think people who are reporting conveying
information about Russian organized crime and corruption, think
they are very concerned about their safety.
And so, your experience, the sources related your
work, it, your mind, especially important keep their
identities confidential because the potential risk personal
safety?
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Yes.
Okay.
Mr. Ohr, would like turn back now really just kind
lay out the chronology your relationship with Mr. Steele and
some the contacts that you have had over the years just
can get complete understanding how that developed and where are today.
So, sure you might have gathered, one the major
reasons you have been asked appear before this joint
investigation related your relationship with Christopher
Steele and your contacts with him. how did you first meet Mr.
Steele?
2007. believe met Chris Steele for the first time around
That was official meeting.
employed the British Government. that time, was still went London talk with
British Government officials about Russian organized crime and
what they were doing look the threat, and the FBI office
the U.S. Embassy London set meeting.
Steele.
That was with Chris
And there were other members different British
Government agencies there.
And met and had discussion.
afterwards, believe the agent and spoke with Chris Steele
further over lunch.
That was, think, the first time met him.
And you said that Mr. Steele worked for the British
Government the time.
Was that MI-6?
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And
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Yes.
And you said this meeting that was one several
British Government employees the meeting?
Yes.
So, based that introduction, fair say that
your contacts with Christopher Steele began you know, shared
professional specialization?
Yes.
And that specialization would Russian organized
crime?
Yes.
So, the time that you were introduced Mr. Steele,
was considered specialist Russian organized crime?
That was understanding, yes.
Subsequent that first meeting, did you attend other
related meetings events with Mr. Steele?
Around the beginning 2008, recollect meeting Chris
Steele believe this was the next time met him some
sort conference England. forget the exact location, but was talking about Russian organized crime.
And there were many
participants there dont remember exactly and Chris Steele
was one the people there.
How did you run into him?
see him, recognize him?
Was panelist?
Did you
How did that think was the latter, but dont recall exactly.
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Okay.
So, the time that you met Mr. Steele again,
was the capacity previous professional contact
acquaintance. that correct?
That right.
Okay. generally common encounter either
current former law enforcement intelligence officials
such conferences?
Yes.
Okay.
Rough estimate, how often would you say you
encountered, you know, such individuals, like, second time
event like that? pretty common. cant give percentage.
But you wouldnt surprised all see familiar
face from your professional network conference like that.
Exactly.
Okay.
Can you sort describe general terms the community
law enforcement and intelligence officials who specialize
Russian organized crime?
You know, would you call extremely
large number people limited? just trying get
sense the world and sort how tight-knit versus who
likely know each other where. couldnt give you exact number, obviously, but
know the number agents and prosecutors working on, say, Russian
organized crime matters has historically been pretty small.
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That
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goes both for the United States and for other nations well.
So, over the years, you tend meet most the people who are
working this area.
Okay.
So, the specialists who work Russian
organized crime, there are very few specialists that you wouldnt
know, given the number years you have been working this
area. that fair say? probable know most them, yes.
Okay.
And most these other individuals probably also
know each other and likely have professional contacts with each
other over the years?
Yes. guess would fair say that your association
with Mr. Steele developed naturally because, again, there are just
only many expert Russian organized crime. that correct?
Yes.
And you did not develop relationship with
Mr. Steele for any improper political purpose.
That correct.
Would you describe your relationship with Mr. Steele purely professional one?
Over the years, would talk and have lunch together. would say, you know, would talk little bit about our
families.
So, that sense, professional, but
cordial relationship.
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Sure. you would talk about your families way
that, say, work colleagues might talk about their families?
Yes.
So, since meeting Mr. Steele and sort the two
specific meetings just talked about, how often would you
estimate you had contacts with him subsequently? hard say.
Maybe once year. might
couple years between hearing from him, might hear from him
twice year.
But not that frequently.
What form did these contacts tend take place?
they person?
Calls?
Some both.
Were
Emails? some point, Chris Steele left the
British Government and became involved with firm called Orbis.
And, that point, know sometime after that were
contact, and stayed contact. sometimes was
telephone, email.
And, generally speaking, what were the purposes your
contacts with Mr. Steele?
Generally, Mr. Steele would providing some
information about Russian organized crime that thought would interest the U.S. Government.
And these contacts with Mr. Steele tended
related your work Russian organized crime.
Yes.
And throughout your contacts with him, did you consider
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Mr. Steele trustworthy expert his field?
Yes. was certainly very skilled, and, yes, believe was pretty trustworthy.
Did Mr. Steele ever have involvement make
contributions any your prosecutions the Department
Justice?
Chris Steele provided information that did help specific
cases, yes.
And did you sometimes also consult with him your
official matters, was more just receiving information? think was more receiving information.
And this information that you received from Mr. Steele
proved credible and actionable some your cases? least some the cases, think was
actionable, yes.
Okay. now would like sort switch the 2016-2017
timeframe.
And since are unclassified setting, will try keep all the information that, but any point you think
the answer does involve classified information, please just let
know, and can address that. you recall what your first contact was with Mr. Steele
2016? believe had some sort email contact early
2016.
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And what did that contact consist of? was providing some information about Oleg Deripaska.
And, again, heard his name the last round, but can
you just briefly describe us, like, who Oleg Deripaska,
like, what his significance?
Oleg Deripaska Russian oligarch.
He, until very
recently, was the head company called RUSAL, one the
biggest, not the biggest, aluminum producers the world.
also has connections organized crime and the Russian
Government.
And why did Mr. Steele reach out you about Oleg
Deripaska? believe was letting know that Mr. Deripaska
would the United States some point.
And why did you believe thought that would
information significant you? dont recall.
was thinking. mean, dont know exactly what was just letting know case wanted
something, suppose.
What was your reaction receiving that information? thanked him for the information.
Did you respond him any way the time? think response was basically, Thank you.
Ill
keep eye it, something like that. was just piece information that thought
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you might interested in, but wasnt part existing
conversation wasnt part some larger conversation the
time. had spoken about Deripaska over the years,
just the latest bit information.
Okay. you recall what your next contact was with Mr.
Steele after that regarding Deripaska?
Not specifically. know there were couple
contacts early the year, but then dont remember exactly what
the next contact was. you recall Mr. Steele brought issues you other
than regarding Mr. Deripaska the early 2016
timeframe later the year? sit here, dont recall there were any other
topics.
[Ohr Exhibit No.
Was marked for identification.] MS. SHEN: going introduce exhibit July 2016,
email from yourself Chris Steele with the subject matter
Availability for Skype com with CDS?
Mr. Ohr, are you familiar with this email chain?
Yes.
Okay. will also note that this email Bates-stamped
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HPSCI-32318-DOJ-6, indicating that was produced the House
Permanent Select Committee Intelligence, and marked law
enforcement sensitive the header.
This document was, however,
recently leaked the press and posted online.
So, the first message the bottom the page,
Mr. Steele writes you, quote:
with you.
Dear Bruce, hope all well seeing redacted London next week
discuss ongoing business, but there something separate want discuss informally and separately. concerns our favorite
business tycoon.
So, Mr. Ohr, think you already answered this question, but
can you describe what Mr. Steele wanted discuss with you
informally and separately about your favorite business tycoon? dont recall this the specific time raised
it, but think was letting know that there might
opportunity interview Oleg Deripaska.
So, again, our favorite business tycoon reference Oleg Deripaska?
Yes.
And the favorite business tycoon not reference
then-candidate Donald Trump?
No.
Can you speak little bit more why during this
timeframe Mr. Steele would reach out you again involving Mr.
Deripaska?
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Again, not 100 percent sure just from looking
this document, but believe that about this time Chris Steele
was letting know that there might opportunity for the
U.S. Government interview Oleg Deripaska.
[Ohr Exhibit No.
Was marked for identification.] MS. SHEN: now going introduce exhibit email
chain dated July 30, 2016, between yourself and Chris Steele with
the subject CDS D.C. also Bates-stamped with HPSCI-DOJ-8 and marked law
enforcement sensitive the header.
This document was also
leaked the press and posted publicly recently.
Mr. Ohr, are you familiar with this email chain?
Yes.
So, the top the chain, Mr. Steele writes, quote:
Great see you and Nellie this morning, Bruce.
touch the substantive issues.
Lets keep
Glenn happy speak you this would help.
Mr. Ohr, who were all the attendees this morning meeting
referred the chain?
Chris Steele was there. had associate the
meeting whose name not recall.
Okay.
And wife, Nellie, and
And what were the substantive issues that were
raised during this meeting?
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Chris Steele provided some information us.
Specifically, these are the things mentioned before.
talked about the people that Carter Page had met with when was Moscow sometime before this. told that the former head had information that the former head the Russian
foreign intelligence service had said that they had Trump over
barrel.
And told that Paul Hauser, lawyer who worked for
Oleg Deripaska, was collecting information about large amount
money that Oleg Deripaska had that Paul Manafort had stolen
from Oleg Deripaska. believe the last round you said that some
these Carter Page meetings were with high-level Russian officials. that accurate?
Yes.
And did you recall any the names the high-level
Russian officials?
The trouble that there are several high-level Russian
officials with similar names. not want get the wrong
name here.
Okay.
Was notable you that Carter Page had
in-person meetings with high-level Russian officials?
Yes. combination with the other item that Chris
Steele mentioned, was very concerning, yes.
Okay. not typical hear about U.S. citizen
who has meetings with high-level Russian officials.
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Yes.
But, particular, this case, think there
had been press story where Carter Page some associate claimed had met with different people. was particularly
concerning here because sounded like may concealing that had met with higher-level Russian officials. see. Mr. Steele was bringing you information not
just about what believed were meetings that took place but
meetings that were attempted concealed.
Yes.
Okay. that correct?
So, that same email, the Glenn, that reference
Mr. Glenn Simpson?
Yes.
And why you think Mr. Steele suggested that you might
want talk Glenn about these issues Mr. Simpson?
Well, dont know exactly what Chris Steele was
thinking, course, but knew that Chris Steele was working for
Glenn Simpson and that Glenn might have additional information
that Chris either didnt have was not authorized prevent,
give me, whatever.
Did you, fact, talk Mr. Simpson about these
issues? believe spoke with Mr. Simpson few weeks later
August.
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And did Mr. Simpson provide you additional details
about did provide some additional information.
What were some those additional details?
Again, dont want met with him couple times
and met with Chris Steele couple times, dont want get wrong. dont know exactly what Glenn Simpson provided
August.
Were there any other topics that were discussed during
your July 30, 2016, meeting?
Yes, there were.
Based sketchy notes from the
time, think there was some information relating the Russian
doping scandal, but dont recall the substance that.
And
based notes, indicated that Chris Steele had provided
some reports the FBI, think two, but that Glenn Simpson had
more.
Was this the Russian doping scandal related the FIFA
allegations? dont recall.
Okay. your wife, Nellie, also attended this meeting.
What,
any, role did she participate the substantive discussions? dont think she said anything.
And dont know
she was present for all the discussion, because Chris Steele
and least for part the discussion, were standing away
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from the table.
But she was there, and she certainly heard some it.
Okay.
And did any topic this meeting relate your ongoing
substantive work Department Justice?
Yes. was relating Russian organized crime and
Russian Government actions. me, seemed like, yes, was
part the same topics had been pursuing for many years.
During this meeting, did you also talk about the Trump
campaign and the fall election?
Yes.
The Carter Page information think was
significant because there was some sort connection, least
the press think, between Carter Page and the Trump campaign.
And, course, the second item had with supposedly the
Russian foreign intelligence service having some kind
compromising information about Donald Trump.
Remind me, think the term you had used was had Trump
over barrel. that accurate?
That what notes indicate. think that what
Chris said.
Okay.
And how did you interpret having Trump over
barrel mean? interpretation that that meant that, true, the
Russian Government had some kind compromising material
Donald Trump.
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Okay.
So, reporting this you, you believe
Mr. Steele believed true that the Russian Government had
some sort compromising material then-candidate Donald Trump? think impression that Chris Steele believed
his sources.
What should say addition, though, that
whenever you are dealing with information from Russia, you have careful, because very complicated place.
And even
information from good source has looked carefully.
Okay. the last round, think someone noted that shortly after
this July meeting the FBIs investigation into potential
coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia was initiated the FBI, although you werent aware that the time.
that correct?
That right.
Okay.
So, just clear, your July 30, 2016, meeting
didnt have anything with the decision initiate the
investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign?
None that know of.
Okay.
So, moving back to, guess, August 2016, you recall
Mr. Steele maintained contact with you into the summer and the
fall 2016?
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[11:12 a.m.]
Mr. Ohr.
Yes.
But dont know the next time aware meeting with Chris Steele September.
So, yes. MS. SHEN:
And what took place that September meeting with Chris
Steele?
Chris Steele was Washington, D.C., again, and
reached out me, and, again, met for breakfast, and
provided some additional information.
And can you describe what that additional information
was provided?
Again, would have look notes because dont
want mix the different meetings.
Okay. fair say was follow-on conversation
from the July 30, 2016?
Yes.
Okay.
Was similar topics?
Did you have any other meetings 2016 after
that September 2016 meeting with Christopher Steele? dont believe so.
Okay.
Did you continue speak exchange
communications with Chris Steele after that
Yes. September 2016 meeting?
Sorry.
And were those communications the same set topics
Yes.
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that were brought previously the July 30, 2016, meeting?
Yes.
Okay.
Were there any communications you had with Chris
Steele the rest 2016 that were separate topics entirely,
unrelated what was discussed previously? some point Chris Steele provided with some
information about unrelated matter. dont recall was
2016 2017.
But would accurate say that the rest your
contacts, communications with Mr. Steele 2016 once again
related the substantive information provided during that
July 30, 2016, meeting?
Yes. were following along was providing
more information along the same lines. some these communications, did they relate the
Russian Governments intent interfere with the 2016
Presidential election?
That how read it, yes.
Okay.
And did Mr. Steele provide you specific
information related the Russian Governments attempt
interfere with the Presidential election? believe so, yes.
And think know the answer this, but number Mr. Steeles communications were related members the
Trump campaign and allegations colluding with Russia.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE that
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
correct? believe so, yes.
The information that Mr. Steele relayed you 2016,
did you share this information with Federal law enforcement
officials?
Yes, did.
Okay. mentioned earlier, first move was reach out
And who exactly did you share the information
with?
for Andrew McCarthy. Andrew McCabe what you meant?
McCabe, yes.
will angry.
Not McCarthy. sorry.
Andrew McCarthy know him, too.
But Andy McCabe, yes, and met with him and Lisa Page and
provided information him. subsequently met with Lisa Page,
Peter Strzok, and eventually Joe Pientka the FBI.
And also
provided this information people the criminal division,
specifically Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, and Andrew Weissman.
Okay. believe you described meeting you attended
with Lisa Page and Peter Strzok and officials the criminal
division. that correct?
Yes.
And believe you said earlier that you did not know
Peter Strzok prior that meeting. that correct? believe that correct.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Did you know Lisa Page prior that meeting?
Yes.
Okay.
Lisa Page had previously been trial attorney the
How did you know Lisa Page?
organized crime and racketeering section, she was one
employees.
Oh, okay.
The other criminal division officials that
meeting, did you know them prior that meeting?
Yes. worked with Mr. Swartz for many years, and had
worked with Ms. Ahmad for lesser period time when she was
detail Washington.
And dont recall for sure whether Andrew
Weissman was present this particular meeting, but know him
for Ive known him for some years well.
meeting?
And, again, what exactly was the purpose that
Was that for you relay specific information those
individuals?
That was part the purpose the meeting. think
the criminal division officials also wanted make sure that the
criminal and national security parts the FBI were talking
communicating. other words, there was desire have the people
with the right portfolios the room the same page, have
the same information. that believe thats yes.
What was your understanding why Lisa Page was part
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE that meeting?
Was how say someone
representing Mr. McCabe and reporting back him, was
different capacity?
Well, she had been introduced into this with first
meeting with Andrew McCabe.
So, yes, that sense.
But dont
know what she was reporting exactly what her responsibilities
were part this subsequent meeting.
Sure.
Ill just ask more generally.
What was your
understanding why Lisa Page was participating that meeting? think she was working the investigation.
Okay.
And what was your understanding why Peter
Strzok specifically was that meeting? believe was working the investigation well.
Again, mean, this was discussed last round.
Obviously, these two names have been the news for lots
different reasons. guess just want able dispel any
notion that theres anything more perhaps than two officials
performing their jobs the time. trying form the question. you have any reason
believe that Lisa Page and Peter Stzroks attendance this
meeting should indicate any nefarious purpose concern
implication bias the Russian investigation law
enforcement community large?
The answer no. saw their participation
appropriate since had originally conveyed information
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. McCabe, and turn had put Lisa Page and then Peter Strzok contact with me. seemed like the natural progression.
And addition, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were said they
would put contact with line-level FBI agent who would contact.
And that also seemed appropriate.
Okay. subsequent that meeting, Lisa Page and
Peter Strzok were not your main points contact the FBI.
that correct?
Thats correct. the time you decided share the information you
received from Mr. Steele with Federal law enforcement, were you
directed share this information someone was this
proactive decision your part? was decision.
And why did you think was important share this
information with the FBI? was very concerned when got the information.
seemed have very serious national security implications.
wanted get the officials, the career officials, who would able take the information and evaluate and decide whether
further action was appropriate.
Okay.
And think you mentioned earlier that this
something you had done before, which pass fact
information the FBI. that correct?
Thats correct.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
And the past, did you for similar reasons
because you had national security concern something that
nature?
Whenever received information that had organized
crime national security nexus, would convey that
information the FBI.
Okay. even issue wasnt part your current
official duties, you thought was appropriate practice
desired practice perhaps pass information the FBI. that
correct?
Any time citizen gets information about crime
national security threat its appropriate convey the FBI.
Okay.
Thank you.
[Ohr Exhibit No.
Was marked for identification.] MS. SHEN:
Okay. like introduce exhibit letter dated
July 2018, from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck
Grassley Deputy Director Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray that its first paragraph is, quote:
Formally requesting the
declassification the FD-302 interview summaries which Bruce
Ohr relayed his contacts with Christopher Steele and request
that you produce the declassified versions directly the Senate
Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Ohr, are you familiar all with this letter?
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
No.
Okay.
Okay.
Okay.
Ill give you some time review you would
like. page the letter lists separate
dates and 302s where the FBI interviewed you indicating the first
interview took place November 22, 2016, and the last one
May 15, 2017. this list interviews and dates generally
consistent with your recollection?
Yes.
[Discussion off the record.]
Mr. Ohr.
Right.
Right. cant recall specific dates. MS. SHEN:
it?
But nothing strikes you being inaccurate looking mean, understanding that theres youre not going
able actually remember each date for the interview, but this rough timeframe that you recall being interviewed in?
Yes.
The caveat would say is, continued have
some conversations with Christopher Steele after May 15, 2017.
Ive reported all those the FBI, but not see any 302s
relating those conversations.
Okay.
Generally, how soon after communications with
Mr. Steele would you notify the FBI? quickly possible, same day the next day,
whenever possible.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Okay.
And after you notified the FBI, how soon after
that would the FBI able interview you about those
communications?
Usually within day.
Did you provide any documents evidence the FBI
part these interviews? mentioned two memory sticks, provided those
the FBI.
Okay.
Did you provide any other documents evidence
other than two memory sticks? couple occasions had written notes.
And dont recall whether gave them copies showed them, but
may have given them copies.
Okay.
And these notes, were they contemporaneous with
your meetings calls with Mr. Steele? didnt generally write note well, yes.
But when
met with Chris Steele Glenn Simpson did not take notes during
the meeting, would have written something after.
Ms. Shen.
Okay.
All right.
Thank you.
And think were
out time for this round, well take short break.
Thank
you.
[Recess.]
Mr. Parmiter.
Lets back the record.
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Ohr, thank you for your testimony.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE guess
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE going just try ask some clarifying questions because
good friend, Mr. Gowdy, prosecutor and attorney, and
guess some this stuff just scratching head figure out
why would have happened this way. for the record, you said Sally Yates did not know, your
knowledge, that you were involved coordinating with the FBI?
Mr. Ohr.
Thats right, knowledge.
Mr. Meadows.
Are there other types investigations that
youve been involved with where you didnt inform those that you
reported to?
Mr. Ohr.
When working when was working cases, course, would inform superiors the cases.
Mr. Meadows.
Right.
But she was your superior, why would
you have not informed her you working, seemed like, multiple
times this particular investigative matter with the FBI?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, wasnt serving investigator
prosecutor that case. was simply getting source lead
information.
Mr. Meadows. did you get any that information were
you paid official DOJ time while you got the information?
Mr. Ohr.
Yes. think its overall part job, but
wasnt case, -Mr. Meadows. youre saying was part your job
it, but was not part your job inform your supervisors?
Mr. Ohr. thought the information -COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Meadows.
Because have hard time with that.
most the American people would have hard time. think
Why would
Bruce Ohr independently engage 60-plus times with Christopher
Steele, through text messages phone calls personal meetings,
and not inform anybody DOJ?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, first all, did inform some people
DOJ -Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Ohr. who did you inform? the criminal division.
Mr. Meadows. who did you inform?
But what would -Who did you inform
DOJ?
Mr. Ohr.
The people mentioned, some people the criminal
division, Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, Andrew Weissman.
Mr. Meadows. why would you have informed Bruce Swartz and
not Sally Yates?
Mr. Ohr. the time lead was this source
information, lead information.
anything with.
Its nothing that they can should passed the FBI for them use not they feel appropriate.
And was obviously, you know, scary, inflammatory, however
you want characterize it, and did not want wanted
keep the career channels where agents would whatever was
appropriate with and not make part larger policy
discussion.
Mr. Meadows.
Well, how you reconcile that, wanting
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
keep the proper channels, that you use this improper
unconventional channel actually get this information the
FBI?
Why would you concerned about protocol one area and
yet something that, according your previous testimony,
youve never done since you were employed DOJ since 1991,
youve never acted this way before, why would you have been
concerned about protocol one area and not protocol the other
area?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, think said before, have received
information from different people about organized crime over the
years, and each case Ive provided the FBI.
Frankly,
dont think most that got the level where superiors, you
know, would have had any use for that information had any, you
know, anything they could with the information. this wasnt the first time had spoken directly the
FBI.
That was regular practice mine let the FBI know
whatever heard.
Mr. Meadows.
Was regular practice those previous
examples that youre thinking let the people that you
reported know that you had received information?
Mr. Ohr.
Its hard characterize generally, but, you
know -Mr. Meadows.
Well, you were remembering other instances that
you were just sharing. your typical habit let your
supervisor those you report know your professional activity?
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Ohr. general, yes.
Mr. Meadows.
And this particular case, you believed
because the information was that salacious inflammatory,
guess, what you were saying, and not necessarily, guess,
could not used, guess your word, that correct, could
not used?
Mr. Ohr.
Thats what you just said? dont recall exactly what just said, but yeah,
what think maybe misspoke.
What said that didnt
think superiors the Deputy Attorney Generals Office would able act that information because theyre not -Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Ohr. could pass the FBI
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Ohr.
But you could?
You could act it, but they couldnt? could pass the FBI.
All they could
pass the FBI.
Mr. Meadows.
All right. let little bit further. obviously this relationship that you had with the FBI matured got closer the 2016 election and beyond.
There were more
contacts, wouldnt you -Mr. Ohr.
There were more contacts.
Mr. Meadows. earlier your testimony you talked about
the fact that you had personal relationship with Glenn Simpson
that dated back, think, several years, what you said.
Mr. Ohr. wouldnt necessarily call personal, but, yes, had met him several times over the years.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Meadows.
All right.
And when, what point did you
reach out Mr. Simpson relates your wifes contract
work?
Mr. Ohr. dont believe ever reached out Glenn Simpson
about wifes work.
Mr. Meadows. how did she get contract with Glenn
Simpson?
Mr. Ohr. dont know. know there was some sort
contact, but wasnt me.
Mr. Meadows. you know about all her helping write the
dossier and and give you this information, but you dont
know how she got contract?
You mean husband and wife shes
getting paid how much did she get paid?
Mr. Ohr. dont remember exactly.
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Ohr.
Approximately? dont even know.
Any guess would make would
wrong.
Mr. Meadows. you can recall with specificity some this
other stuff, but you cant recall how much your wife got paid and
how she got the job?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, wife was Russia
Mr. Meadows. find that curious prosecutor how you
would not remember those things.
Mr. Ohr. wife Russia analyst.
field for several years well.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Shes worked the
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Ohr. didnt ask about her credentials.
Right.
Mr. Meadows.
How did she get contract job with Glenn
Simpson?
Mr. Ohr. dont remember who made the contact, whether she
spoke with Glenn Simpson directly whether there was another
party someone else involved.
Mr. Meadows. just know wasnt me. when she came home and said, Honey, got
job with Glenn Simpson, what did you say?
Mr. Ohr.
Oh, sure had conversation the time.
just cant remember now.
Mr. Meadows.
Did you say there may conflict interest shes being Glenn Simpson being paid the DNC
Hillary Clinton and working for the Department Justice?
Could there potentially conflict?
Did you say anything like
that?
Mr. Ohr.
Well, wife started working for Glenn Simpson,
doing contractor for Fusion GPS late 2015, and dont
believe had