by Daveda Gruber:
On Tuesday Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official, arrived on Capitol Hill. He will testify to lawmakers on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees about his relationship with former British spy Christopher Steele. His ties to the spicy anti-Trump dossier will also be questioned.
Two officials accompanied Ohr, who arrived to testify. He did not respond to reporter’s questions. He is meeting with lawmakers behind closed doors.
Republicans will allege that Ohr played a key role in selling the dossier that was commissioned by Fusion GPS. It was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
They most likely will ask why Ohr broke with protocol and kept up contact with its author, Steele. The communications came long after the FBI fired him as a source in late 2016 because of his contacts with the media.
Text messages show that Steele also tried to use Ohr as a go-between with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Steele wrote to Ohr, “We are frustrated with how long this re engagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking. Anything you could do to accelerate the process would be much appreciated.”
Ohr confirmed to Steele, months later, that he had passed along his questions to Mueller’s team.
A Republican-led House Intelligence Committee found that Steele effectively used Ohr as a ‘back channel’ for communications after his termination.
Rep. Jim Jordan said, “I don’t know if it’s improper but I want to know who at DOJ knew and it certainly looks like he continued to meet with Mr. Steele after the FBI had terminated their relationship with Mr. Steele.”
Investigators are also inquiring about Ohr’s relationship with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked at Fusion as a Russian specialist and did research that formed part of the dossier. Government officials are not allowed to take actions in their official capacity that financially benefit family members. Nellie was understood to be receiving a significant income from Fusion GPS.
Ohr has become an important part of disagreement for Republicans and President Trump. They see the exposure about Ohr as the latest development that calls into question the FBI’s actions that led to the beginning of the Russia probe.
The dossier was used by federal officials to justify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Trump aide Carter Page.
Jim Jordan said, “The fundamentals don’t change the fact that a top Department of Justice official’s wife is working for the firm the Clintons hired to put together the dossier and the FBI uses that dossier that they’re getting from Bruce Ohr … to then go get the warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. So that’s a big concern, who at the DOJ knew that?”
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that they want to declassify documents relating to the case so the American people can judge the FBI and DOJ’s actions themselves.
Meadows said, “When they see it they will be appalled what happened within our FBI and DOJ which should never happen in a constitutional republic.”
President Trump is thinking about revoking Ohr’s security clearance.
This month Trump said, “I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace with his wife Nellie. For him to be in the Justice Department and doing what he is doing is a disgrace.”
Today’s outcome of the testimony should be rather interesting.