Byron York reports:
Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch’s behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele’s research and the oligarch’s affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation.
The Russian oligarch in question, Oleg Deripaska, is quite a guy. Years ago, the U.S. revoked Deripaska’s visa, reportedly on the basis of suspected involvement with Russian organized crime. In addition, Deripaska was close to Paul Manafort.
Most significantly, Deripaska is one of the Russians sanctioned this year by the Trump administration due to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Yet, as Byron’s report shows, Christoper Steele, author of the anti-Trump dossier, was Deripaska’s advocate before an apparently sympathetic Bruce Ohr, the number four person in the Obama Justice Department.
The emails raise a clear question of whether Steele was working, directly or indirectly, with Oleg Deripaska at the same time Steele was compiling the dossier — and whether the Justice Department, along with Simpson and Fusion GPS, was part of the project.