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Home / US / Bruce Ohr, Justice Department official in Trump's Crosshairs, faces legislators

Bruce Ohr, Justice Department official in Trump's Crosshairs, faces legislators



The closed-door meeting is expected to focus on Ohr's relationship with Christopher Steele, the British spy behind the dossier, which contained dishonest and unverified information about Trump and Russia. It is an unlikely turn in the spotlight for the nearly 30-year-old veteran of the Ministry of Justice, who has earned a reputation as a "consummate government servant" and an expert in global organized crime.

Since the house is on break Democratic congressmen are not present at the hearing. Instead, the staff of the Democrats, who are on the domestic justice and oversight committees, are expected to attend the closed hearing, according to the staff of the Minority Committee.

A handful of Republican committee members, including Members of the House Trey Gowdy and Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, are attending the hearing and participating in the survey. It's the latest in a series of interviews conducted by the committees that have been investigating the controversial FBI's 201

6 nominations for almost a year.

Little is known about the extent of the relationship between Ohr and Steele, but some Republican house critics, who are vociferously critics of the Russian investigation, have taken them up as evidence of an unfavorable connection between government officials and the roots of the Special Advisory Service Robert Müller's Investigation [OutsidetheongoinghearingonTuesdayMeadowsaTrumpallyandleadingskepticoftheRussiainvestigationtoldreportersthattheFBIknewthedossierwas"unchecked"andhad"realcredibilityissues"probablyinfrontofthelawThepoliceuseditaspartoftheirevidenceforthefirsttimewhenshecalledforCarterPage'sTrumpcampaign

At a closed hearing that is expected to last for hours, Republican lawmakers said Ear had mishandled the information he learned from outside the government's sources through his internal channels.

"Bruce Ohr dealt with evidence differently in this case than at any other point – I do not know of any circumstances where a lawyer would deal with evidence of how Bruce Ohr dealt with evidence in this case," said Matt Gaetz, R -Fla.,

Ear was open in his replies and had not overly discussed with his Justice Department and his private lawyers. Ohr did not claim the privileges of the spouses on Tuesday morning when he responded to questions from the committees, they said.

Gaetz said that Org's testimony on Tuesday also revealed conflicts in earlier testimonies that officials had involved in the origins of the Russian investigation. including Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, and Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer, and demanded that they appear at public hearings.

Earlier this month, Trump said he was considering canceling Ear's earmarking "very quickly," a move that would likely complicate Ear's current work as a senior attorney at the DOJ's International Affairs Bureau.

Ear led the Department of Justice for Organized Crime and Extortion Department for more than a decade, and until last year he served in a senior position in the Deputy Attorney General until he was demoted, CNN reports, after messages between Steele and him and The founders of the United States were discovered

The Republicans have pointed to messages between Ear and Steele, which were passed to Congress and have recently been reported in conservative posts such as The Washington Examiner and Fox News, suggesting that Steele used Ohr to a relationship with the FBI after the office ended its relationship with him as a confidential source in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

Legislators also said that Ear had given the FBI a copy of Steele's dossier, but that it was after the FBI had already begun to investigate some of Steele's coverage.

On Tuesday, Meadows I would not confirm if Ear handed over the elements of the dossier he had received from Steele to the FBI and the source of Ohr's knowledge that he was aware of the FBI's early opinion on the dossier testified, did not reveal.

Meadows said he has learned with whom within the FBI ear was communicated, but he would not share the information.

According to a letter from Senate Chuck Grassley, the FBI interviewed 12 times between November 2016 and May 2017 about interactions with Steele.

The New York Times reported Monday that Ear's recent contacts with Steele were part of a wider effort to determine if the allegations of the dossier were accurate. According to the Times, the FBI did not have all the reports Steele had provided and tried to get them.

"He plays a pivotal role in the universe of Christopher Steele and the Clinton-DNC-funded dossier and the investigation and direction of President Trump," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group around has requested the procurement of government documents for Ohr.

Ear's relationship with Steele has roots far beyond Steele's work on Fusion GPS in Trump. Ear first came into contact with Steele in the mid-2000s, acquaintances told him, both of whom were fighting the developing threat to Russian organized crime for their respective countries.

At that time, Russian syndicates ousted parts of the Italian mafia and drug cartels as the main target of US law enforcement. Former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker, who in the early years was ear-keying about Russian transnational criminal cases in the 2000s, called him a "very sympathetic, very hard-working and very collaborative DOJ lawyer."

"We valued him for this collaboration, and sometimes DOJ lawyers see FBI agents as a kind of knotter-dragger like" We're the smart guys, just do what we tell you. He was not that kind of guy, "said Swecker.

As Section Leader, Ear traveled extensively when establishing relationships with overseas partners, but remained mostly outside the courtroom – and in the limelight.

Mark Matthews, a lawyer working in In the 1990s, working with Or in Manhattan's Manhattan law office and later establishing a relationship with him in Washington described him as a "very decent" and "classic official" who excelled in his oversight

"Bruce was in Washington for management skills known. He was a guy who got along without this ego, "Matthews said.

Ear's name first appeared in the media last year as legislators, the sources of the dossier were, and he has been tweeted by the president in recent weeks who criticized him and his wife.

Simpson revealed in a court petition last year that Ohr's wife, Nellie, was working for a merger on "Mr. Trump's Research and Analysis" and that Simpson met Bruce Ohr His request, after the elections in November 2016, to discuss our results regarding Russia and the election. "

Nellie Ohr, an academic and Russian expert, relied on gathering open source documents for information about Russian oligarchs as part of her occupation with Fusion GPS, according to a person who knows her work for the firm.

Neither Bruce nor Nellie Ohr publicly talked about the president's ear, Attorney Joshua Berman declined to comment.

In December, Ohr traded behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in January, but lawmakers have canceled this meeting, according to a person familiar with the committee's investigation.

CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.


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