Judicial Watch Sues for Documents on Deleted Bruce and Nellie Ohr Emails
Records search prompted by earlier Judicial Watch discovery of Nellie Ohr email declaring that she was ‘deleting now’ emails from Bruce Ohr’s official DOJ email account
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for records of an “analytical exchange” between German officials and top DOJ officials, including Bruce Ohr, concerning possible Russian influence. The FOIA lawsuit was prompted by an earlier Judicial Watch discovery of Nellie Ohr email advising Bruce Ohr that “I am deleting these emails now,” seemingly related to the “analytical exchange” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02692)).
The suit was filed after the Justice Department and FBI failed to respond to two separate May 17, 2019, FOIA requests seeking:
- All records of DOJ officials’ communications, notes, call logs, calendar entries, transcripts, audio-visual recordings and other records relating to an “analytical exchange” between a delegation of German officials and DOJ officials which occurred circa April 26, 2016 in Washington, DC.
- All records reflecting the identities and titles of the German officials who attended the analytical exchange on April 26, 2016.
In May 2019, Judicial Watch released records from the Justice Department that included an email exchange between Ohr, his top aide Lisa Holtyn, his wife Nellie Ohr who worked for Fusion GPS, and First Secretary at the German Embassy Stefan Bress that discusses a meeting with German analysts for an “analytical exchange” on topics including the “Impact of Russian influence operations in Europe (‘PsyOps/InfoWar’).”
According to the emails, Bress had initiated the offer of the meeting to which Holtyn responds “I haven’t had a chance to confer with Bruce yet, but would certainly love to meet with the ‘A Team’!” Bruce Ohr says, “That time works for me as well.” Bress then provides the personal details/passport numbers of the German analysts who will be meeting with Holtyn and Ohr. Holtyn tells Bress that the Ohrs would like to host the German delegation for dinner and notes that Joe Wheatley and Ivana Nizich (a husband/wife team of DOJ Organized Crime prosecutors and friends of the Ohr’s) would join them as well.
Included in that email exchange were records uncovered by Judicial Watch revealing that Nellie Ohr informed her husband that she was deleting emails sent from his DOJ email account.
“Was Bruce Ohr directing his wife Nellie Ohr, who worked for the Clinton spy ring at Fusion GPS, to delete emails about Russia?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our new lawsuit aims to uncover what was behind this possible obstruction of justice.”
In August 2019, Judicial Watch released FBI 302 interviews with Bruce Ohr showing the efforts of the FBI, DOJ, and State Department to find allegedly incriminating material about President Trump through communications with Fusion GPS and Clinton-funded dossier author Christopher Steele. Also released were documents containing Russia-related emails sent from Nellie Ohr to Holtyn during the time Nellie Ohr worked with Fusion GPS.
In June, Judicial Watch uncovered documents showing the removal of Bruce Ohr from the position of Associate Attorney General in 2017; his transfer from Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force to International Affairs in 2018; and that Ohr received a total of $42,520 in performance bonuses during the Trump/Russia investigation. Ohr’s bonus nearly doubled from $14,520 (received in November 2015) to $28,000 in November 2016.
In May, a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit produced information from the DOJ showing a conversation between former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Kathleen Kavalec and Bruce Ohr discussing the targeting of Donald Trump with Steele dossier material. In discussing a meeting with the potential source for a Mother Jones article accusing the Trump campaign of taking money from a Russian-American oil magnate, as well as Christopher Steele’s connection to that source, Kavalec emails Ohr citing the accusatory Mother Jones article. Ohr says, “I really hope we can get something going here.”
In March, Judicial Watch uncovered emails from Ohr showing that he remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant. The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities. Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.