Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and former British spy Christopher Steele - frequent targets of President Donald Trump's ire related to the Russia investigation - were involved in U.S. efforts to flip a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin, The New York Times reports.
Thursday morning Trump griped about Nellie Ohr's Fusion work, tweeting: "Bruce was a boss at the Department of Justice and is, unbelievably, still there!" McQuade says, previously, career Justice Department people found Trump's criticisms of Ohr to be bewildering. At the time of the 2016 presidential election, he was a high-ranking official in the deputy attorney general's office.
Ohr's outreach about the dossier - as well as its author, ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the opposition research firm behind it, Fusion GPS, and his wife Nellie Ohr's work for Fusion - took place before and after the Federal Bureau of Investigation fired Steele as a source over his media contacts, Fox News reported. "With Bruce Ohr, do you see him as potentially being in this pattern?"
The July 30, 2016, meeting between Steele and Ohr came one day before the FBI officially opened its counterintelligence investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. Trump supporters accuse Ohr of cooperating with Steele on the dossier that outlined Russian financial ties and salacious personal details.
The FBI's investigation was already under way by the time it received Steele's dossier.
Ohr said that his wife, Nellie Ohr, who was a contractor for Fusion GPS - the firm that employed Steele to dig up dirt on Trump - also attended the breakfast, along with an associate of Steele's.
Ohr's communications with Steele were blessed by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, though he did not inform his supervisor, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about the meetings, according to the source with knowledge of Ohr's testimony.
Ohr told lawmakers he could not vouch for the accuracy of Steele's information but has said he considered him a reliable FBI informant who delivered credible and actionable intelligence, including his investigation into corruption at Federation Internationale de Football Association, soccer's global governing body. Hayden cautiously said it's still a "single data point" and "raw information" that would be used as a "departure point" for an investigation, not the endpoint. They weren't authorized to discuss it and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sessions and Rosenstein, Ohr was told, didn't want him in the post because it entailed White House meetings and interactions, the people said.