The co-founder of Trump dossier firm Fusion GPS confirmed in court filings on Tuesday that he met last year with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and hired Ohr’s wife to help with the opposition research firm’s investigation of Donald Trump.
Glenn Simpson said in a declaration filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. that he met “at [Ohr’s] request” weeks after the presidential election. Simpson stated that Ohr, who recently held the position of deputy assistant attorney general, sought the meeting “to discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election.”
Simpson also disclosed that Fusion GPS hired Ohr’s wife, Nellie, to serve as a subcontractor on Trump-related work.
Trump defenders have seized on the Ohr’s relationship with Fusion GPS. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow cited the revelations to call for a second special counsel.
In his declaration, Simpson referred to Nellie Ohr as “a former government official expert in Russian matters” who Fusion GPS hired “to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.”
It is not clear what government position Simpson was referring to in the declaration. But a 2010 Justice Department report shows that Ohr worked at that time as a researcher for Open Source Works, the CIA’s in-house open source research shop. (RELATED: Wife Of Demoted DOJ Official Worked For Fusion GPS During The Campaign)
The Ohrs and Simpson were part of a Justice Department working group put together in 2010 to investigate organized crime.
In addition to his meeting with Simpson, Bruce Ohr also met last year with dossier author Christopher Steele. Fox News reported last week that Ohr’s meetings with Steele occurred before the election.
Ohr still works at the Justice Department, but he was stripped of one of his positions last Wednesday after Fox News inquired about his meetings with Simpson and Steele. He remains as director of Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Nellie Ohr’s work for Fusion GPS — which Simpson referred to as “confidential” — was revealed Monday night. Fox News reported that she worked for the oppo firm during the presidential campaign. It was unclear until Simpson’s disclosure whether she worked directly on Trump-related matters.
Simpson says in his court filing that he acknowledged during his Nov. 14 interview with the House Intelligence Committee that he met with Bruce Ohr. Fusion’s attorneys pointed to the apparent leak of his testimony to argue in favor of a temporary restraining order to block the release of the firm’s bank records.
The committee and Fusion have been locked in a battle since October over the bank documents.
Republicans on the House panel have issued a subpoena for the records in hopes of identifying some of Fusion’s clients and contractors. Fusion’s lawyers have argued that the subpoena violates Fusion’s confidentiality and First Amendment rights.
The issuance of the subpoena has already had some results. Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC, came forward in October to disclose that it hired Fusion for the project that produced the dossier.
The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by anti-Trump Republican Paul Singer, revealed that it had hired Fusion GPS in Oct. 2015 to investigate Trump. The Free Beacon insists that the research Fusion gathered for the site was not included in the dossier.
Simpson suggested in his court filing that the House panel learned the identity of Fusion’s bank through staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was interviewed by that panel on Aug. 22. In his declaration he said that he was asked about Fusion’s bank by name and confirmed it.
Fusion was caught off guard by a subpoena issued to the bank — TD Bank — by Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence panel.
Fusion’s lawyers cited all of the revelations about Simpson’s testimony as evidence that the House’s subpoena for the TD Bank records “is part of a punitive effort by Chairman Nunes to retaliate against Fusion and to interfere with its constitutional rights.”
“The subpoena is an effort to harm Fusion and its associates. It seeks to divert attention away from, and interfere with, the investigation and to expose Fusion’s associations with other individuals and entities that have nothing to do with the Russia investigation,” the complaint reads.