by Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller:
- Nellie Ohr told lawmakers in October that one of Fusion GPS’s sources was a Ukrainian parliamentarian whose government has accused him of illegally meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
- Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor, testified that Serhiy Leshchenko was a source for the Democrat-funded opposition research firm.
- Leshchenko was the leading force behind the release of the so-called “black ledger,” which accused Paul Manafort of receiving illicit payments from the Ukrainian government. The ledger led to Manafort’s firing from the Trump campaign, but its validity remains in dispute.
A member of the Ukrainian parliament accused in his home country of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was identified in congressional testimony in October as a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.
“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ohr, whose husband is Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, testified that she was not aware of Leshchenko’s source information, but that she knew he was providing information to Fusion GPS, where she worked between late 2015 and the 2016 election.
“His source information I am not aware of,” Nellie Ohr testified.
“You were just aware that he was a source of –” one lawmaker began to ask.
“Yes,” Nellie Ohr interjected.
“[Fusion GPS founder] Glenn Simpson? Or was it a source of [Fusion GPS employee Jake Berkowitz] or both?” the lawmaker asked.
“I’m not aware of a difference between them, just a source of Fusion GPS,” said Nellie Ohr, a Russia linguist who previously worked for the CIA’s open source research unit, Open Source Works.
Nellie Ohr did not describe the Leshchenko-Fusion GPS source relationship in greater detail, so it is not clear whether the Ukrainian lawmaker was paid, how he transmitted information to Fusion or with whom at the firm he maintained contact.
Nellie Ohr did not testify whether she handled information from Leshchenko or if she provided it to her husband, who served as associate deputy attorney general and director of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Fusion GPS did not reply to a list of detailed questions about Leshchenko. One of the firm’s co-founders, Tom Catan, replied “Strictly FYI” in an email, copying others at Fusion GPS. He did not answer follow-up questions.
Nellie Ohr’s testimony is the first time that a foreign government official has been linked as a source for Fusion GPS, which is best known for its work on the anti-Trump dossier alleging that President Donald Trump and his campaign conspired with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 campaign. (RELATED: Nellie Ohr Researched Trump’s Kids For Fusion GPS)