Citing current and former Deripaska officials and associates, The Times reported that investigators were hoping for information from Deripaska on organized crime in Russia during a meeting in September 2015, and a year later, at a meeting, about possible Russian help for Trump's 2016 Presidential Election
Efforts to recruit Deripaska were part of a broader, secretive US initiative that sought to achieve cooperation among several Russian oligarchs, the Times reported. The newspaper added that the efforts seem to have failed. Deripaska told US investigators that he did not agree with them about organized crime in Russia and ideas about possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, a person familiar with the exchange told the Times.
According to the Times, Ohr and Steele first discussed Deripaska in November 201
The second time that US officials contact Deripaska was in September 2016, two months after the FBI investigated Russian interference in the 2016 elections, the Times reported
Deripaska told the investigators that their theories about Manafort's role in the campaign were "absurd" and discussed possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, a Times-trusted person said.
The officials who spoke with the Times about the condition of anonymity to discuss the secret efforts, the Times said, fearing that the revelation of the effort could undermine national security. But they also said they did not want Trump and his Republican allies to use the secret nature of the program to "gather and portray facts, shattered from the context to undermine the investigation of Special Advisers Robert Mueller" into Russian interference the newspaper . Trump has often criticized the explorers as a "witch hunt" and repeatedly attacked Ohr and Steele. Ohr, a 30-year veteran of the Justice Department, is being investigated for his meeting with Steele, the former British intelligence officer, who compiled an infamous dossier on Trump and Russia and Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the company that hired Steele to research Trump. Ear's wife, Nellie, was also a contractor for Fusion GPS.
Republicans have been accused that the Steele dossier, containing some salacious and unverified information about Trump and Russia, was inappropriately used by the FBI to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The President and some Republicans who are critics of the Russia investigation have also confiscated Ohr and Steele's connection as evidence of an unfavorable link between government officials and the roots of the special speaker's investigations.