Because Christopher Steele, author of the bogus anti-Trump dossier, supplied confidential information to the media, the FBI formally terminated him as a source. Therefore, FBI personnel were not supposed to accept information from him.
But Byron York reports that the FBI continued to use Steele as a source. In fact, it did so on 12 separate occasions:
[The FBI] devis[ed] a system in which Steele spoke regularly with Bruce Ohr, a top Obama Justice Department official whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, which hired Steele to search for dirt on Donald Trump in Russia. Ohr then passed on Steele’s information to the FBI.
In a highly unusual arrangement, Ohr, who was the fourth-highest ranking official in the Justice Department, acted as an intermediary for a terminated source for the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. His task was to deliver to the FBI what Steele told him, which effectively meant the bureau kept Steele as a source.
We know this because FBI agents made a record each time Ohr gave the bureau information from Steele. The records are in the form of so-called 302 reports, in which FBI agents write up notes of interviews during an investigation.
There are a dozen 302 reports on FBI post-election interviews of Ohr. The first is from November 22, 2016. The last is from May 15, 2017. (There were none between early February and early May. It’s probably just a coincidence, but the reports resumed on May 8, the day before President Trump fired James Comey).
Byron says congressional investigators have read the Ohr-Steele 302s, but the FBI has kept them under tight control. It insists that they remain classified, with access limited to a few lawmakers and staff members. Congress is not allowed to physically possess copies of any of the documents.
Sen. Charles Grassley wants to change this state of affairs. He says there is “no continuing justification for the FBI to keep the documents secret.” However, the FBI is holding firm in its resistance.
Only one snippet from an Ohr 302 has been made public. It’s a 16-word passage in which Ohr tells of Steele’s determination to stop Donald Trump:
[Steele] was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.
The passage is hugely significant because Ohr’s knowledge (and the FBI’s) of Steele’s anti-Trump bias apparently was not disclosed to the FISA court, even though the FISA warrant application relied heavily on Steele’s dossier.
The fact that the FBI continued to gather information from Steele even though (1) it was not supposed to and (2) it knew of Steele’s “passionate” anti-Trumpism suggests to me that the FBI itself was interested in Trump “not being president.” That’s not the only possible explanation, though. Byron notes that the FBI had already presented allegations from the dossier as evidence to the FISA court. Having, thus gone out on a limb, the FBI had an interest in obtaining any new information Steele possessed that might back the dossier’s allegations.
On the other hand, the fact that the FBI went out on that limb in first place is evidence of its anti-Trumpism.
[T]he Ohr-Steele 302s could shed some light on how an effort — it certainly included Steele, but also others — to keep Trump from being elected morphed into an effort to keep Trump from being inaugurated and then morphed into an effort to remove Trump from office. A version of that effort is still going on, of course, even as some in Congress try to find out how it started.