Embracing Conspiracy Theory, Trump Escalates Attack on Bruce Ohr

And no proof has emerged exhibiting that Mr. Ohr or his spouse performed a task in beginning the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation. Rather, it was contacts between a former Trump international coverage adviser, George Papadopoulos, and Russian intermediaries that prompted the bureau to open the inquiry in late July 2016.

But Mr. Trump has embraced the speculation, casting Mr. Ohr and his spouse as central gamers in what he calls the “rigged witch hunt” and accusing the couple of getting what he claims are oblique contacts with Russians — apparently a reference to Mr. Steele’s analysis.

“They should be looking at Bruce Ohr and his wife, Nellie, for dealing with, by the way, indirectly, Russians,” Mr. Trump mentioned as he boarded Marine One for a fund-raising journey to the Hamptons. Asked about Mr. Ohr’s safety clearance, Mr. Trump added: “I think Bruce Ohr is a disgrace. I suspect I will be taking it away very quickly.”

A lawyer for Mr. Ohr, Joshua Berman, didn’t instantly reply to a message looking for remark.

Former Justice Department officers mentioned that it ought to be as much as the division and its inspector basic, Michael E. Horowitz, to find out whether or not Mr. Ohr’s contact with Mr. Steele was improper. It is “not a matter to be judged by the president without Justice Department and inspector general input,” mentioned Eugene Casey, the previous chief of the F.B.I.’s Eurasian Organized Crime Unit.

Mr. Casey mentioned that he labored intently with Mr. Ohr in 2005 and 2006, when Mr. Ohr led the division’s organized crime unit. “I knew Bruce to be a man of integrity,” Mr. Casey mentioned. “Bruce was a committed partner in the F.B.I.’s struggle to counter Russian organized crime in the U.S. and abroad.”

A largely nameless a part of the 113,000-person Justice Department work power, Mr. Ohr, who didn’t work on counterintelligence, has not been discovered to violate the phrases of his safety clearance. He was given a title demotion this yr from his position main the counternarcotics unit and works within the prison division on smaller authorized issues. A Justice Department spokeswoman wouldn’t remark on Mr. Ohr, together with on why he misplaced his extra senior title.

“Without clearance, Bruce could lose his job,” mentioned Julie Zebrak, the previous deputy chief of employees to James M. Cole, the deputy legal professional basic underneath President Barack Obama.

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