Washington, D.C.- Emerald Robinson, Chief White House Correspondent
UPDATED August 9, 2018
John Solomon at The Hill has obtained handwritten notes from a secret meeting between the now-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson on December 10, 2016. Among the notes Solomon has found is one where Ohr admits that he received undisclosed information directly from Simpson. The note reads: “Glen gave me a memory stick.”
Why was Bruce Ohr, the Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States, meeting with Simpson, an ex-journalist who had been paid to dig up opposition research on Donald Trump by Hillary Clinton? After all, the election had been over for a month and Trump was now President. Solomon calls this meeting inappropriate and unprecedented: “Bruce Ohr is not in the counter-intelligence chain, he’s not an FBI counter-intelligence person, and, in fact, his wife worked for Fusion GPS so he might have a conflict of interest under the DOJ rules. That’s for lawyers to decide.”
According to Ohr’s notes, Simpson wanted to meet in order to pass along the rumor that several members of the Trump campaign — former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, adviser Carter Page, and Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen — were the conduits between Russia and the new President as they engineered the 2016 election in Trumps’ favor. With this unsubstantiated campaign dirt in hand, Ohr met with the FBI two days later for an interview. This second meeting appears to be one of the first instances of Hillary Clinton’s opposition research making its way officially into the halls of the FBI for further investigation, by being vouched for by Bruce Ohr.
John Solomon has not made these notes publicly available yet. He has said: “I don’t think its responsible to put out all the handwritten notes at this time.” There are security and legal concerns, no doubt. Solomon did provide the notes for analysis by career intelligence professionals recently. The evaluation that all of them provided was damning: the information that Ohr brought to the FBI had “the lowest level of credibility.”
These intelligence experts also agreed that a DOJ official like Ohr should not have been meeting with Simpson at all. This was a breakdown of the protocols in place “at the fundamental level of intelligence gathering,” according to one expert. In essence, Ohr was meeting with Simpson at a coffee shop to collect Clinton gossip that his own wife had been paid to create.