Nellie Ohr, wife of former U.S. Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and an analyst working for the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, deleted messages about Russian influence operations from her husband’s government email account, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch.
“Thanks! I’m deleting these emails now,” Nellie Ohr told her husband in an April 20, 2016, email at the end of a thread of exchanges between the Ohrs, Bruce’s Department of Justice (DOJ) assistant Lisa Holtyn, and Stefen Bress, a first secretary at the German Embassy in Washington.
The subject line of the emails was “Analyst Russian Organized Crime – April 2016,” in which Bress offered to provide two Russia analysts for an “analytical exchange” discussion with Ohr, Holtyn, and other unnamed DOJ officials of multiple topics, including the “Impact of Russian influence operations in Europe (‘PsyOps/InfoWar’).”
During the email exchange, in addition to the hour-long meeting at DOJ, Holtyn, on behalf of the Ohrs, invited Bress, his wife, and the analysts to the Ohr’s home for dinner.
Bress responded that his wife was unable to attend the dinner but said he “would be happy to eat her portion of food and drink her glass of wine.”
Nellie Ohr was copied on the exchange from her husband’s DOJ email account.
“This email is disturbing and suggests documents relevant to the improper targeting of President Trump were destroyed,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement on May 17.
The email thread was included in 339 pages of documents released by DOJ as a result of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch when the government failed to respond to the non-profit’s December 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for “(1) communications between former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and named individuals and entities, (2) travel documents pertaining to Mr. Ohr, and (3) all calendar entries of Mr. Ohr, dating since January 1, 2015.”
Judicial Watch also asked, in a separate FOIA request, for “records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr, and/or Christopher Steele, dating since January 2016.” The 339 pages provided in response to the first FOIA was also in partial response to the second FOIA, according to DOJ Senior Counsel Vanessa R. Brinkmann.
The Ohrs were central players in the DOJ/FBI spying operation against former Trump campaign aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS, which was paid by the campaign of Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee, which Clinton controlled at the time.
Fusion GPS, in turn, retained former British spy Christopher Steele, who, using his extensive connections with Russian intelligence officials and agents, compiled what came to be known as the “Steele dossier.”
The Steele dossier contained multiple pages of “salacious and unverified” allegations based in part on Russian sources against Trump. In addition to being paid by Fusion GPS, Steele was personally strongly opposed to Trump becoming president.
The FBI used the Steele dossier and news stories based on calculated leaks from the documents to justify approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court of extensive spying on Trump aides during and after their campaign roles.
Bruce Ohr was Steele’s contact at DOJ, while Nellie Ohr was a conduit through her husband of anti-Trump materials she generated or obtained during the course of her work for Fusion GPS. Both of the Ohrs had known and worked with Steele for years prior to the 2016 presidential campaign.
Bruce Ohr said in congressional testimony that Steele’s information—that the Russians had Trump “over a barrel” with seriously compromising information—caused him increasing worry if Trump were elected.
Ohr was demoted by DOJ after public revelations of his extensive contacts with Steele and Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson, as well as for failing to disclose the potential conflict of interest represented by his wife’s employment by Fusion GPS.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sent DOJ a May 1, 2019, referral for possible prosecution of Nellie Ohr as a result of her denial that she had “any knowledge of what was going on in an ongoing [DOJ] investigation,” including any “investigations on Russia.” She also denied providing anything from her Russia research to anybody outside of Fusion GPS.
“However, documents reviewed by our committees raise concerns Ms. Ohr not only had knowledge of an ongoing DOJ investigation, but that she shared information and research on Russian organized crime to assist DOJ, in direct contradiction with her testimony,” said Meadows.”
The DOJ isn’t obligated to prosecute such referrals.
Meadows is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as well as chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
Contact Mark Tapscott at email@example.com