DOJ Official Said He Heard Russia had Trump 'Over a Barrel' During the Election: Report
03 September, 2018, 18:54
President Donald Trump said the chief justice of the US Supreme Court should tell the head of a national security court to question Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Justice Department officials about their use of a so-called Russian Federation dossier as part of a collusion probe.
Democrats on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees say their Republican counterparts have cherry-picked from Justice Department documents to promote a misleading narrative about the closed-door questioning of a senior Justice Department official this week, according to a letter released Friday.
Steele - a longtime Federal Bureau of Investigation informant - compiled a dossier using Democratic-funded research that contained salacious, unsubstantiated claims about the president.
Mr. Ohr told lawmakers that Mr. Steele informed him that key Trump campaign aide Carter Page had met with higher-ranking Russian Intelligence officials than he previously indicated.
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The people who discussed Ohr's interview were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the closed session and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
As an example, they said, Republicans read a portion of an email in which Steele wrote that he wanted to speak with Ohr about "our favorite business tycoon". Steele also reportedly said that a Trump campaign aide had more contact with Russian officials than had been revealed. Working as an intermediary, Steele helped arrange a meeting between Deripaska and United States officials, including Ohr, in 2015, during which Deripaska was asked about the connections between Russian organized crime and Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, the Times reported, citing a person familiar with the events.
The President and some House Republicans who are vocal critics of the Russian Federation investigation have also seized on Ohr and Steele's connection as proof of an untoward association between government officials and the roots of the special counsel's investigation.
The president who has denied any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, continued his attack on Ohr this week.
"Bruce was a boss at the Department of Justice and is, unbelievably, still there!"
Another Republican point of protest is that Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, had worked as a subcontractor for Fusion. But the investigation was opened because of conversations involving former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, and not the dossier, FBI and congressional officials have said.
In the interview, Ohr acknowledged that he had not told superiors in his office, including Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about his meetings with Steele because he considered the information inflammatory raw source material. They said he was being stripped of his associate deputy attorney post as part of a planned internal reorganization that would have occurred anyway, people familiar with Ohr's account say.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment.
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