The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday released 11 transcripts of depositions conducted as part of the committee’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe.
Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in a statement that he “decided to release all transcripts of depositions involving the committee’s oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” adding, “We have released as much material as possible, but some classified material has still been withheld.”
The 11 transcripts include one from “Case Agent 1,” who was identified as Stephen Somma by The New York Times in February 2020. As The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reported at that time, Somma was blamed for “some of the most significant problems laid out in the Justice Department’s inspector general report on FISA abuse against a Trump campaign.” Somma was singled out by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General in a report documenting numerous inaccuracies and omissions included in the FBI’s FISA warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
As The Daily Wire reported in December 2019 when the report was released, those errors included information that Page had a prior relationship with a U.S. government agency, so his contact with Russian officials was not unusual.
“According to the IG report, he was the FBI agent who initially sought a surveillance warrant against Page. Somma pushed for a FISA warrant ‘almost immediately’ after the FBI opened Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016, the IG said,” Ross reported early last year. “Somma’s initial request was rejected, but FBI lawyers later approved seeking a FISA warrant on Page after the bureau received information from former British spy Christopher Steele. In his dossier, Steele alleged that Page was a key player in the Trump campaign’s ‘well-developed conspiracy of cooperation’ with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.”
The IG’s damning report said the FBI did not verify the allegations against Page. Somma was in charge of verifying the information that was included in the warrants.
Another major transcript released by the Judiciary Committee is that of Bruce Ohr, one of the central figures in the Russia probe. Transcripts from Ohr’s interviews with the FBI had already been released, but this one is new.
Bruce Ohr is married to Nellie Ohr, who worked for Fusion GPS and provided her husband with research she had done on behalf of Fusion GPS, which Bruce then passed on to the FBI. Nellie Ohr was criminally referred to the DOJ by House Republicans in May 2019, though that referral has gone nowhere.
While working for Fusion, Nellie was asked to investigate Trump’s children. She also told lawmakers in her October 19, 2018, deposition that ex-British Spy Steele had passed information from his dossier to Bruce in the hopes that he would turn it over to the FBI. In his interview with Senate investigators, Ohr admits that he had a friendly relationship with Steele, though he doesn’t call him an actual friend.