Republicans 'cherry-picked' Russia probe documents to quiz U.S. official - Democrats

Glen Norman
September 3, 2018

He's been President Trump's latest target at the Justice Department and the subject of his angry tweets.

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.

The letter was the latest salvo in a fight between the political parties as Republicans have criticized the propriety of the FBI's probe of ties between Moscow and Trump aides and whether they coordinated during the 2016 US election campaign. He has also singled out Bruce Ohr, saying he was a "disgrace" and that he would revoke his security clearance.

"Absolutely", Hayden said. "And I don't know Mr. Ohr, but in anticipation of our conversation tonight, I kind of sent a note out to folks I know who might know him, and the description I got back from him was competent, thorough, and honest". Ohr's wife, Nellie, who worked for the political research firm, Fusion GPS, that hired Steele, attended at least part of it.

Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during their sit-down was that an unnamed ex-Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed "they had Trump over a barrel", sources familiar with the meeting told the news service.

"Ohr's wife was financially benefitted by Ohr, a DOJ official, advancing the Steele phony dossier".

Steele and Ohr, at the time of the 2016 presidential election a senior official in the deputy attorney general's office, had first met a decade earlier and developed a rapport over a shared interest in global organized crime.

Ohr also told Congress that Steele told him that Page had met with more senior Russian officials than he had acknowledged.

Ohr still remains at the Justice Department despite this. Ohr and Steele had reportedly met during the months before the FISA warrant application was first made, during the infancy of the investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation, which was then handled by the FBI.

The details of the exchange were confirmed to The Associated Press by multiple people.

In one instance, members read from an email in which Steele wrote to Ohr that he wanted to discuss something with him informally. He said he didn't look at the information on them, according to the source.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

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