Former spy said Russia had 'Trump over a barrel'


Justice Department official, Bruce G. Ohr, center, arrives for a closed hearing of the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018.

The President and some House Republicans who are vocal critics of the Russian Federation investigation have also seized on Ohr and Steele's connection as proof of an untoward association between government officials and the roots of the special counsel's investigation.

The aide, who wasn't authorized to discuss the committee's confidential work and spoke on condition of anonymity, said it would be a violation of committee rules for the Judiciary or Oversight committee Republicans to have used any material shared with the House intelligence committee without such a vote.

In a tweet Thursday, the president claimed Nellie is a Russian Federation expert who can fluently speak the language.

A Democratic aide on the House intelligence committee said no vote had been taken by that panel to allow the sharing or release of information provided by the Justice Department for Ohr's questioning.

Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had communicated that Russian intelligence believed "they had Trump over a barrel", according to people familiar with the meeting.

The Associated Press first reported Steele's comments to Ohr at the breakfast.

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"Ohr told the Federal Bureau of Investigation it (the Fake Dossier) wasn't true, it was a lie and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was determined to use it anyway to damage Trump and to perpetrate a fraud on the court to spy on the Trump campaign", Mr Trump said in a series of tweets.

Steele assembled a dossier on Trump for research firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by Democratic Party lawyers and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Convicted felon and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was also mentioned in the report.

Steele and Ohr, at the time of the election a senior official in the deputy attorney general's office, had first met a decade earlier and bonded over a shared interest in worldwide organized crime. But the investigation was opened because of conversations involving former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, and not the dossier, FBI and congressional officials have said. He said he didn't look at the information on them, according to the source.

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.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment.