WASHINGTON—Judicial Watch announced two new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits on Sept. 16, seeking documents that could reveal crucial new details about the efforts of high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials to link President Donald Trump to Russian interests allegedly seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The first suit seeks all records of communications between the government and Felix Sater, a Russian-born and former Trump business associate who was an FBI and CIA informant and was mentioned more than 100 times in the report of special counsel Robert Mueller, the nonprofit government watchdog said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
The Mueller report, however, never included that Sater was a government informant and an advocate within the Trump corporate orbit of a deal in which a Trump-branded building was to be erected in Moscow, according to Judicial Watch.
Sater told former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that he was trying to put together such a deal through a meeting with “the 2 big guys,” a reference to Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Judicial Watch chief investigative reporter Micah Morrison.
“Beginning in late 2015, Sater repeatedly tried to arrange for Cohen and candidate Trump, as representatives of the Trump Organization, to travel to Russia to meet with Russian government officials and possible financing partners,” according to Morrison.
Sater became a government informant after being implicated in a stock-fraud scheme in 1998. The quality of his work and cooperation, which put him in contact with Russian military and intelligence sources, was “of a depth and breadth rarely seen,” prosecutors told a federal judge in 2009.
Mueller spent nearly $30 million and interviewed more than 500 witnesses investigating the allegations that officials with the 2016 Trump campaign conspired with Russians to ensure the defeat of the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Mueller found no such evidence, according to his report to Congress.
Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s deputy in the special counsel investigation, was the U.S. Attorney who signed Sater’s cooperation agreement with federal authorities.
“Was a Russian real estate deal being pushed on the Trump Organization part of a set-up by an FBI/CIA informant? The new Judicial Watch lawsuit attempts to shed light on what could be another aspect of Deep State abusive Spygate operation targeting President Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in the statement announcing the new suit.
In the second lawsuit announced Sept. 17 by Judicial Watch, the organization said it asked the court to order production by the government of all “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,” it stated.
Bruce Ohr was the associate deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama and the former director of DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. He was demoted after his Steele contacts became public.
Ohr was a go-between for former British spy Christopher Steele and the government. Steele compiled the infamous “Steele Dossier” of multiple unfounded allegations linking Trump and Russian interests.
The dossier was prepared for Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm, and paid for by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which Clinton nominally controlled at the time. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, is a Russian specialist who worked for Fusion GPS.
The Steele Dossier was the primary source used by DOJ and FBI officials to justify four requests for approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court of warrants to spy on Trump campaign officials.
In announcing the lawsuit seeking the records of the meeting with the Germans, Judicial Watch said it specified “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 Ohrs) would join them as well.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asked in the second suit announcement, “Was Bruce Ohr directing his wife Nellie Ohr, who worked for the Clinton spy ring at Fusion GPS, to delete emails about Russia? Our new lawsuit aims to uncover what was behind this possible obstruction of justice.”
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