Justice Department official Bruce Ohr gave lawmakers “a list of half a dozen” senior FBI and DOJ officials who knew about his interactions with people tied to the Trump dossier, according to a GOP congressman.
Ohr spoke with members of the joint task force of the Judiciary and Oversight committees for several hours in a closed-door session on Tuesday.
While he didn’t identify the officials Ohr named, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night that he has heard Hannity mention some of them on his program in the past.
Ratcliffe said these FBI and DOJ officials were told of Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr’s involvement with ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the Trump dossier, and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.
He said at least one of these officials signed off on a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant application seeking the authority to spy on onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, advising to this individual: “I would retain a really good lawyer.”
Ohr reportedly told lawmakers that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was one of the officials he informed about witness bias and hearsay in the dossier. McCabe signed off on one of the FISA warrant applications.
Fox News and Washington Post reported the names of other officials Ohr claimed to have been in contact with about the dossier.
During an interview Sunday previewing the Ohr meeting, Ratcliffe said he and his GOP colleagues were prepared to ask Ohr about former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates for evidence of a biased campaign by the DOJ and FBI to undermine President Trump’s 2016 election effort. Yates was fired by Trump while serving as acting attorney general in late January of last year after she refused to defend his initial travel ban, but not before she signed off on at least one of the FISA warrant applications to spy on Page.
Sources who spoke to ABC News emphasized that Ohr was a rogue actor whose efforts held little sway. They also stressed that Ohr bypassed his DOJ superiors to make contact with the FBI.
Ohr delivered roughly 8 hours of closed-door testimony to GOP lawmakers that they claimed conflicted with some of the past statements they’ve heard from others as they investigate how the government decided to investigate Trump’s campaign. Ohr also spoke with staff members for Democratic lawmakers.
In a tweet Wednesday, Ratcliffe further explained that the Ohrs’ “operational roles” and their “financial gain from it” were known to at least half a dozen senior FBI and DOJ officials prior to the first FISA application and that these details were “never disclosed.”
Before yesterday, we thought the FBI and DOJ had not disclosed material facts they were aware of in the FISA application. If Bruce Ohr testified truthfully, we now know that to be the case.
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) August 29, 2018
Operational roles played by Bruce Ohr and Nellie Ohr, and their financial gain from it, were known to at least 1/2 dozen senior FBI and DOJ officials prior to the first FISA application, but were never disclosed.
Ohr, formerly the associate deputy attorney general, was demoted after it came to light he met with Steele and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. He still has a role in the DOJ working in the Organized Crime Task Force.
GOP lawmakers were eager to learn more about the government’s reliance on the Trump dossier, which contains a number of salacious claims about the president’s ties to Russia. That dossier, which contains several unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia, was used by the FBI in their FISA warrant applications to secure the authority to spy on Page.
GOP investigators were also interested in reports of Ohr feeding the FBI information from Steele even after he was cut as a source for providing confidential information to the media and his connection to Fusion GPS, which retained and paid his wife, Nellie Ohr, to investigate Trump.