Second, the OIG report discovered something that, if it didn't exactly shock me, definitely caused me to sit up and take notice, to even involuntarily raise my eyebrows:
... after June 2017, “an agent from the Special Counsel’s Office became Ohr’s final point of contact through November 2017.” Thus, Mueller’s team made a concerted decision to continue to use Ohr to obtain “intel” from Steele—a decision the IG condemned.
In fact, the special counsel’s use of Ohr appears even more problematic than the FBI’s prior mishandling of their meetings with Ohr: At least prior to Mueller’s appearance, the FBI documented the details of their conversations with Ohr in FD-302 forms, but as the IG report noted, while Ohr continued to communicate with Steele through the end of November 2017 and passed on the details of those conversations to the FBI, “the FBI did not memorialize any meetings its agents had with Ohr after the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was transferred to the Special Counsel’s Office in May 2017.”
Further, while the special counsel’s team continued to meet with Ohr during this time, no one from Mueller’s group informed DOJ leadership of Ohr’s involvement in the investigation nor his meetings with Steele until “after Congress requested information from the Department regarding Ohr’s activities in late November 2017.”
I had previously thought that, once the 302s of Joe Pientka's contacts with Ohr stopped, so did the contacts. Not so!
Remember how Crossfire Hurricane was predicated on the idea that there was a de facto "enterprise"--an informal but cohesive entity--operating within the Trump campaign to collude with Russia? Uh, looks like there was an illegal enterprise of sorts going on within the FBI and DoJ--and Team Mueller! All FBI investigation must be documented. FBI agents are not allowed to operate what we referred to as "hip pocket sources." This is a huge no-no. Pientka has to be in deep, deep, doo-doo. As with Clinesmith, I find it non-credible that Clinesmith and Pientka undertook these patently illegal actions totally on their own. Who knew what, when?
I've been rereading Mark Steyn articles this morning, and I'm just as impressed this time through as I was the first time. I've already re-linked to Tinker, Tailor, Clapper, Carter, Downer, Halper, Spy (5/18), but another Steyn article from back in 10/17 with a more pedestrian title, How to Steele an Election, suggests the reason that those FBI/Ohr/Steele meetings were kept on the down low, so to speak.
The reason is fairly obvious. The nonsensical, fictional, nature of the Steele "dossier" had long been known and, in the wake of the election, had actually been documented by the FBI--even if they didn't "share" that knowledge with the FISC (Margot Cleveland has the details on that today, again drawn from the Horowitz Dossier: IG Report Documents How The FBI Hid Negative Information About Christopher Steele). Using dodgy opposition research obtained from the Clinton campaign to sink Trump's campaign was one thing. There were significant elements in the GOP establishment that might have acceded to that, at the time. But using such nonsense to oust a president was something else entirely. Team Mueller couldn't be implicated in that, so the contacts continued but they were no longer "memorialized."
I'll paste in below excerpts from Steyn's exposition of the use that the Deep State made of the Steele "dossier"--really, in effect, the Clinton dossier, courtesy of Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS. None of this will be new, in a factual sense, but the way Steyn contextualizes it all, and the way it ties in to what we now know about Team Mueller's continued use of Steele, sheds a glaring light on Team Mueller. I've maintained all along that Barr/Durham has Team Mueller in its sights, and I'm not backing away from that.
From Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes:
Mostly she was mad - mad that she'd lost and that the country would have to endure a Trump presidency... Hillary kept pointing her finger at Comey and Russia. 'She wants to make sure all these narratives get spun the right way,' this person said.
That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn't entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.
And engineering-wise they did a pretty impressive job, as you'll know if you're one of the impressionable rubes who gets his news from ABC, CBS, NBC or CNN. ...
By "Russian hacking" of the election, they mean that some Internet trolls from halfway round the world bought a few fake Facebook ads, half of which weren't seen until after election day. For purposes of comparison, the one hundred grand these trolls spent to "interfere" in the US election works out at less than two per cent of what Hillary paid a high-ranking spy of a foreign power to interfere in the US election ...and post-election.
It started in April 2016, when it became clear that Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. The Hillary campaign and the DNC gave millions of dollars to Marc Elias, a Clinton lawyer, who in turn hired Fusion GPS, who in turn hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Why use Mr Elias as a cutout? Because Hillary and the DNC could then itemize the expense as "legal services" rather than list payments to Mr Steele, which would be in breach of federal law.
Mr Steele used to be head of "the Russia house", to go all John le Carré on you. So he asked his contacts in Moscow to come up with some stuff on Trump, and they responded with some pretty thinnish material that Steele managed to stretch out to a total of about 33 pages. ...
At which point things took a strange and disturbing turn. Steele's dossier was passed along to the FBI. It seems a reasonable inference, to put it as blandly as possible, that the dossier was used to justify the opening of what the Feds call an "FI" (Full Investigation), which in turn was used to justify a FISA order permitting the FBI to put Trump's associates under surveillance. Indeed, it seems a reasonable inference that the dossier was created and supplied to friendly forces within the bureau in order to provide a pretext for an FI, without which surveillance of the Trump campaign would not be possible.
In October 2016, things took a stranger and more disturbing turn. Steele "reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the Bureau to pay him to continue his work". In other words, the permanent bureaucracy and the ruling party were collaborating to get the goods on their political opponent, by illegally paying a foreign spy to interfere with the election. Why would the most lavishly funded investigative agency on the planet need the services of a British subject and his modest consulting firm? Not just for plausible deniability but also for plausible reliability: Hey, investigating Trump would never have occurred to us, but the former head of the Russia desk at MI6 thought we ought to know about this... Which, in case you haven't noticed, is the precise equivalent of Bush crediting British intelligence as the unimpeachable source for his belief that Saddam Hussein was seeking to acquire yellowcake from Niger.
A month later, Trump did the impossible and won the election. And within twenty-four hours Mook and Podesta had begun "engineering the case" that the election "wasn't entirely on the up-and-up". ...
But there was enough of a pseudo-dossier, by the debased standards of the bloated US "intelligence community", to be used as a pretext to get the rubber-stamp FISA court to approve 24/7 surveillance of everyone around Trump - and maybe that would turn up something to destroy him.
But, again, it didn't. Every sentient creature knows that - because everyone understands that if they'd found anything they'd have leaked it.
So once again the worthless dossier was pressed into service, this time to bolster the case that the Russians had stolen the election from Hillary. ...
All this from one dodgy dossier compiled by an MI6 agent with deep ties to FSB operatives in Russia. Has any one foreigner so interfered in a US election as Christopher Steele? Hillary and her chums needed Steele for oppo research. The Deep State needed Steele as a cover for wiretapping the Trump team. The Never Trumpers needed Steele to mire the incoming President and hobble him from the get-go. And the outgoing Administration needed Steele to bolster their narrative that Trump and the Russians had colluded to steal the election. In fact, Trump seems to have fewer "ties" to Russia than almost any other multinational businessman of comparable wealth, and certainly fewer ties than the corrupt Clintons.
Many things can be deduced from this scandal: Robert Mueller should retire, preferably somewhere far, far away. James Comey should be charged, convicted and jailed. So should senior figures in the Clinton campaign. And those large sections of the "intelligence community" that have gone rogue and spend more time subverting their own government than any foreign enemies need to be overhauled from top to toe, or, more likely, put out of business entirely.
Thus Washington's vast wilderness of distorting mirrors: as I told Tucker Carlson, everyone was colluding with the Russians except Trump - Hillary, the DNC, Democrat lawyers, the FBI, all frantically pointing fingers at the only non-colluding guy in the room. No man anywhere has ever been less in need of a "golden shower" than Donald J Trump. He is surrounded on all sides by powerful forces leaking on him incessantly.