Nellie Ohr: Ukrainian Lawmaker Was Fusion GPS Source
- Nellie Ohr told lawmakers in October that one of Fusion GPS’s sources was a Ukrainian parliamentarian whose government has accused him of illegally meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
- Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor, testified that Serhiy Leshchenko was a source for the Democrat-funded opposition research firm.
- Leshchenko was the leading force behind the release of the so-called “black ledger,” which accused Paul Manafort of receiving illicit payments from the Ukrainian government. The ledger led to Manafort’s firing from the Trump campaign, but its validity remains in dispute.
A member of the Ukrainian parliament accused in his home country of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was identified in congressional testimony in October as a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.
“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ohr, whose husband is Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, testified that she was not aware of Leshchenko’s source information, but that she knew he was providing information to Fusion GPS, where she worked between late 2015 and the 2016 election.
“His source information I am not aware of,” Nellie Ohr testified.
“You were just aware that he was a source of –” one lawmaker began to ask.
“Yes,” Nellie Ohr interjected.
“[Fusion GPS founder] Glenn Simpson? Or was it a source of [Fusion GPS employee Jake Berkowitz] or both?” the lawmaker asked.
“I’m not aware of a difference between them, just a source of Fusion GPS,” said Nellie Ohr, a Russia linguist who previously worked for the CIA’s open source research unit, Open Source Works.
Nellie Ohr did not describe the Leshchenko-Fusion GPS source relationship in greater detail, so it is not clear whether the Ukrainian lawmaker was paid, how he transmitted information to Fusion or with whom at the firm he maintained contact.
Nellie Ohr did not testify whether she handled information from Leshchenko or if she provided it to her husband, who served as associate deputy attorney general and director of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Fusion GPS did not reply to a list of detailed questions about Leshchenko. One of the firm’s co-founders, Tom Catan, replied “Strictly FYI” in an email, copying others at Fusion GPS. He did not answer follow-up questions.
Nellie Ohr’s testimony is the first time that a foreign government official has been linked as a source for Fusion GPS, which is best known for its work on the anti-Trump dossier alleging that President Donald Trump and his campaign conspired with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 campaign. (RELATED: Nellie Ohr Researched Trump’s Kids For Fusion GPS)
Context from more than one month ago:
DECEMBER 14, 2018
Judicial Watch today released two sets of heavily redacted State Department documents, 38 pages and 48 pages, showing classified information was researched and disseminated to multiple U.S. Senators by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The documents reveal that among those receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN).
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department’s last-minute efforts to share classified information about Russia election interference issues with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01381)).
The documents reveal the Obama State Department urgently gathering classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.
- In a Thursday, January 5, 2017, email chain then-State Department Congressional Advisor Hera Abassi indicates that then-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland’s bureau was attempting to get Russian investigation related documents to the office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) office as quickly as possible. (In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)
In the email, with the subject line “For Immediate Review – Call Sheet for S Call with Senator Warner,” Abassi writes:
“I told Cardin’s folks … that the process is long. Can we ensure that there are no holdups on our end?”
Minutes later, Abassi confirms that Nuland was fully aware of the information that the State Department was providing to members of Congress alleging Russia interference information:
“This is definitely on EUR A/S radar!”
- Leaving no doubt that the State Department officials knew they were transmitting classified information, in a Wednesday, January 18, 2017, email with the subject line “Cables/M,” Former Foreign Service Officer Kerem Bilge writes to State Department Congressional advisor Hilary Johnson and others: “Highest class is SECRET/NOFORN.”
“FYI – so we can keep the SECRET/NOFORN header, and should declassify it 25 years from tomorrow.
“I forwarded the fully cleared version to the two of you on the high side [Editor’s Note: “high side” is State Department term for high security classification system], but let me know if there’s anything else you need from me on this.
“Note: we’ll need to make sure there is someone in Senate security tomorrow who can accept these.”
- On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Johnson confirms that classified documents were sent to Senator Corker in addition to Senator Cardin. “Flagging that I sent you a high side request for clearance of the draft transmittal letter to send documents to Senators Corker and Cardin.”
Additionally, involved in providing classified information to members of the Senate was Naz Durakoglu, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. In an email dated Thursday, January 19, 2017, with the subject line “Signed, sealed, delivered” Durakoglu apparently confirms that Obama State Department officials were eager to provide the classified material before Trump was sworn into office: “We made the deadline!” Durakoglu states [Emphasis added] “Thank you everyone for what was truly a Department-wide effort!”
President Trump was inaugurated less than 24 hours later.
- In a Wednesday, January 18, 2017 email, Naz Durakoglu signed off on the document transmittal letter on behalf of her bureau. This letter accompanied “the documents to Senator Corker and Cardin”
- In a Thursday, January 19, 2017 email, Durakoglu appears to confirm that she is who carried the documents from the State Department to Capitol Hill. She states, “I will be carrying over the cables to the Hill.”
“These documents show remarkable evidence of the non-stop, unethical effort in the Obama State Department to gather and send its own dossier of classified information on Russia in an effort to discredit the incoming Trump administration,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
According to a March 2017 report in the Baltimore Sun:“Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin received classified information about Russia’s involvement in elections when the Obama administration was attempting to disseminate that material widely across the government in order to aid in future investigations, according to a report Wednesday … Obama officials were concerned, according to the report [in The New York Times], that the Trump administration would cover up intelligence once power changed hands.”
Judicial Watch has confirmed through previously obtained State Department documents that the Obama State Department did, in fact, provide classified documents to Senator Cardin. The documents also show Russian political interference in elections and politics in countries across Europe. In a section of the documents provided to Cardin titled “Political Parties” and marked as sensitive, Russia reportedly sought to foster relationships with groups in Germany, Austria, and France, to include paying members to travel to conferences in Crimea and Donbas “where they stoutly defend Russian policy.”
The following section titled “Pro-Kremlin NGOs and Think Tanks,” also marked as sensitive, discusses the Russian government funded Caucasus Research Network, which helped to spread anti-EU and NATO reports throughout the region. Also discussed is the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative, which was founded by Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Initiative was reportedly “working to erode support for the Magnitsky Act (which imposes sanctions on … gross human rights violations). The organization screened an anti-Magnitsky film at Washington’s Newseum in June.”
The Magnitsky Act attracted public attention earlier this year when it was reported Veselnitskaya obtained a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. with the purpose of seeking to undermine the act. It was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to repeal the act at least in part because it targeted top Russian officials who had committed human rights violations and were the beneficiaries of a $230-million tax fraud that Magnitsky exposed.
Sara Carter wrote:
Republicans with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Tuesday submitted a motion to immediately publish dozens of witness transcripts in the Russia Trump investigation that were turned over for declassification review, stating it is “part of the process of publishing them for the American people to see.” Though the transcripts are unclassified, the Committee had sent them to the Intelligence Community for a review as a precautionary measure.
Let’s do it. Make the witness transcripts public and let the cards fall where they may. The committee already voted to make the documents public on a similar motion in September, 2018, when it was then led by House Republicans.
The Republican motion was in response to now Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff’s proposal to turn over all the witness interviews to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for review. Those witness interviews, however, are already available to Mueller.Remember, the transcripts were given to the Executive Branch for declassification review months ago. Mueller had access to Roger Stone’s transcript. When Mueller decided to press charges against Stone, the only stipulation for the Special Counsel was that they had to ask for another official copy of the transcript from the committee. The committee obliged and sent the second copy of the transcript to the Justice Department.
Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced New York financier who served 13 months in prison for soliciting an underaged girl for prostitution, has served his time, and despite all of the negative press surrounding his “Lolita Express” and the many celebrities and politicians – including former President Bill Clinton and disgraced actor Kevin Spacey – who have reportedly traveled to his “orgy island”, he will likely live out his life as a free man (unless new offenses are committed).
But thanks to a series published by the Miami Herald last year that delved into how prosecutors worked with powerful defense attorneys to ensure Epstein received such a lenient sentence. The expose shed a light on the role played by Alex Acosta, who went on to become Trump’s Secretary of Labour, in handing down the light sentence. Acosta was the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida at the time Epstein’s sentence was handed down.
Now, thanks to those stories, the DOJ has reportedly opened an investigation into the conduct of DOJ attorneys in the case, and whether they committed “professional misconduct” in their working relationship with Epstein’s attorneys.
JUST IN: Senate Judiciary Cmte. member Sasse says the US Justice Dept. has opened an investigation into allegations that dept. attorneys “may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the [Jeffrey] Epstein criminal matter was resolved.”
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OBSERVATIONS FROM COURT
by John Hardy
The hearing today, Feb 6, 2019, was pretty much a waste. What should have taken 4-5 minutes was needlessly extended by defense counsel to about 35 minutes. No substantive issues were argued or decided. The Judge is keeping to the trial schedule.
These are my observations on each person:
Judge Nicholas Garaufis – very smart, near photographic memory, high IQ. This judge will interface with and ask the Defense attorneys questions, so the attorneys cannot wing it or bullshit the bench.
He is about efficiency and is compassionate towards people. Keeps everything short, sweet, and to the point. Does not engage in unnecessary fluff or feel the need to flex his muscles and yell at attorneys or Defendants.
Keith Raniere – looked ridiculous. His hair is very frizzy and puffy, almost like Bozo the Clown. Think of a bad 70s grey-white Afro on a white guy. Tan jumpsuit. Keith is chubby, not starving. Looked bloated, pasty face. He had puffy cheeks and puffy lower jawline. Almost like a chimpanzee.
Nancy Salzman – tired, harried, broken. Nancy arrived late to court. Just as the U.S. Attorney’s Office was pointing out the fact that she had not appeared, guess who steps through the door? Speak of the Devil (and right on cue). Looked all out of sorts, wrinkled, shriveled, droopy flesh. She looks bad health-wise.
Lauren Salzman – looked tired, a bit lost. Like she was about to break down and cry at any moment.
Allison Mack – appeared strangely chipper, happy. Considering the fact that she has to fly 10+ hours round trip from California for a needless 5-minute hearing. I think she is faking her confidence and over-compensating. She’s acting like everything is okay when most assuredly it is not.
Kathy Russell – looked the best out of the entire group. She re-colored her hair, so her white roots were not showing this time.
Clare Bronfman – looked very thin and pastier than usual. Did not make eye contact with anyone in the courtroom. Quick glances all over the place. She does not want to be there and appears overwhelmed.
Moira Penza – confident, sharp. Her voice belies her strength. This lady has guts and a backbone. Lion in sheep’s clothing. The Defense should not underestimate her.
Marc Angifilo – confident, good mood, joking with the judge. I think Marc is happy because he is going to get paid MILLIONS on this case. His clients don’t have a chance in hell, and he knows it. But, he will get at least $5-$7 Million for this case. He will make an okay effort, but not heroic to defend his clients. This guy is in it for the dough. I would not want him as my attorney. He is not serious, is not taking the case seriously. Not fiery, does not believe in his clients. Is just there to collect a paycheck. Doesn’t have the gravitas of a Lincoln or Atticus Finch or Perry Mason or Matt Murdoch (real and fictional attorneys). You can see when an attorney is serious about what they do – about protecting the Defendant’s rights and battling the system. Agnifilo is not. More like the Court Jester, ready to collect his pay and bolt.
The number of attorneys for the Defense is ridiculous. It looked like a convention. Jovial atmosphere between the attorneys. Lack of resolve or seriousness. They are not taking the case seriously. I think they just want to collect a paycheck, give short speeches, and bolt.
If this bill works, it will shift power to the IG.
Carlton Meyer wrote:
The Empire Retreats
Feb 3, 2019 – The EMALS Disaster Fed by Corruption
Last year, G2mil posted a detailed article about the US Navy’s biggest procurement failure:
The EMALS Disaster – an aircraft carrier than can’t launch jet aircraft
The Pentagon’s DOTE “test and evaluation” office just released its 2018 year end summary of major weapon’s systems. Relevant EMALS highlights:
• The DOT&E assessment of CVN 78 remains consistent with previous assessments. Poor or unknown reliability of systems critical for flight operations including newly designed catapults, arresting gear, weapons elevators, and radar, could affect the ability of CVN 78 to generate sorties. Reliability of these critical subsystems poses the most significant risk to the CVN 78 IOT&E timeline.
• Testing to date involved 747 shipboard launches and demonstrated EMALS capability to launch aircraft planned for the CVN 78 Air Wing.
• Through the first 747 shipboard launches, EMALS suffered 10 critical failures. This is well below the requirement of 4,166 Mean Cycles Between Critical Failures, where a cycle represents the launch of one aircraft.
• The reliability concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the crew cannot readily electrically isolate EMALS components during flight operations due to the shared nature of the Energy Storage Groups and Power Conversion Subsystem inverters onboard CVN 78. The process for electrically isolating equipment is time-consuming; spinning down the EMALS motor/generators takes 1.5 hours by itself. The inability to readily electrically isolate equipment precludes EMALS maintenance during flight operations.
A few hours later, the Pentagon announced a $15 billion contract for more Ford class carriers. The Secretary of the Navy assures us all is well and that he will resign if the Ford is not working great next year. That might pay off for him because getting this contract signed to start building a fourth Ford carrier while the first Ford remains non-deployable just assured him a multi-million dollar job in the ship industry once he resigns.
Feb 2, 2019 – USAF to Reopen Unneeded Airbase
A great example of waste and corruption in the US military is the plan to rebuild and reopen Tyndall Air Force base. The number of aircraft in the USAF has fallen nearly in half over the past 20 years, so it has far too many airbases that are expensive to operate. For example, after F-22 bases were selected only half as many F-22s were procured as planned, so all F-22 bases have ample room for more aircraft.
Last year, Tyndall Air Force F-22 base in Florida was destroyed by a hurricane. Tyndall’s F-22s were quickly relocated to other bases. Some questioned why such expensive aircraft were based in an area with hurricanes since several F-22s undergoing maintenance were destroyed. Nevertheless, the Air Force just announced at least $3 billion will be spent over five years to rebuild and reopen unneeded and poorly located Tyndall!
Politics are important and the base is a mess, but the Air Force should have proposed spending a couple billion to clean up Tyndall and prepare it for industrial or other productive private sector uses. But our Congress and Pentagon are so selfish and corrupt they don’t give a damn about wasting money. Just bill the taxpayers and always blame poor readiness and accidents on a lack of funding!
Jan 27, 2019 – A Clumsy Slow Coup
Corporate America media has not reported basic facts about the attempted takeover of Venezuela. The Deep State has tried to overthrow the popular, elected government of Venezuela for a decade as it gradually nationalized its oil production. Several coup attempts failed so the USA imposed sanctions to punish the people for voting wrong. Sanctions caused shortages and inflation but the elected government remains in power.
In the past, the USA conducted coups by bribing Generals to conduct a quick military takeover, and always denied participation. The Trump administration gave up on deception and began a clumsy, slow coup. I suspect Trump’s new CIA appointed attorney general told Trump that he had the power to appoint foreign presidents, so last week he openly appointed a new president for Venezuela. The Venezuelan army openly backs the existing president so nothing changed. The UN did not recognize Trump’s puppet president nor did any other major world power. These facts do not appear in our corporate media, although the internet provides reality via a Paul Craig Roberts article.
Trump has now ordered other nations to send payments for oil purchases to a bank account controlled by his new president. This infuriates foreign governments because they know oil shipments will stop if they fail to pay the legitimate government of Venezuela, and oil prices will rise worldwide as they scramble to buy oil elsewhere. Meanwhile, a massive humanitarian and refugee crisis is building as the result of this economic embargo.
Jan 26, 2019 – Bush Delivered Pizza!
Readers probably know that former President George W Bush bought pizza for his Secret Service detail. I’d think any decent ex-President would do something like that several times a year. Since Bush is a multi-millionaire, and his loitering bodyguards earn at least $70,000 a year, this is not big deal, and certainly not news. A real news editor would pass on this “story.”
But none did. It seems every outlet in the USA carried this “news”. This reinforces my view that a secret group decides what is news for every corporate news outlet in the USA. Click this Google search link to see the hundreds of news outlets that deemed this mindless pizza story fit to print. Bush is a top Deep Stater and they are trying to rehabilitate his war criminal reputation with a steady flow of positive stories.
Jan 21, 2019 – Bill Barr is CIA
President Trump’s new attorney general is a career CIA agent. He is not a career CIA officer, but trained at CIA headquarters for years and then continued as a covert agent placed in key government positions. This is not mentioned in our corporate media, and explains why Democrats also supported his nomination.
This is more evidence that Trump has no intention to confront the Deep State. I’ll be surprised if he can accomplish a very minor rollback by removing our troops from Syria, which may be just to consolidate forces for an attack on Iran. Meanwhile, Barr can meet with fellow covert CIA agent Robert Mueller to keep the political gridlock game going so nothing changes, the empire keeps expanding, and Trump remains under tight control.