Democrats defend Ohr following House testimony

Democrats defend Ohr following House testimony
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House Democrats on Wednesday dismissed as a “waste of time” GOP attacks on Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr following his testimony a day earlier.

One day after GOP lawmakers said Ohr “has done nothing but exacerbate … concerns” about anti-Trump bias in DOJ, Democrats defended him and his ties to the so-called “Steele dossier.”

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“With Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFormer White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report Mueller investigating Russian payments made by Trump Tower meeting organizers: report Cohen questioned for hours in Mueller probe about Trump's dealings with Russia: report MORE in jail, Michael Cohen in court, and a host of longtime Trump confidants cooperating with federal prosecutors, we can understand why Republicans are increasingly desperate to create a distraction and undermine the Department of Justice as a hedge against what the investigators may find,” said Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the top Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, respectively.

They also accused their Republican colleagues of following the president’s lead by going after the DOJ official, who has spent part of his career fighting Russian organized crime, noting that that makes them wonder "why House Republicans have now joined President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE in focusing their energies on trying to fire Mr. Ohr without just cause.”

Democrats, who disputed the “allegations” of several GOP members, defended Ohr — saying he didn't break any laws and followed the proper protocol with his back-and-forth contacts with Steele, who he knew before the Russia probe began.

“Over the years, when Mr. Steele had information he felt he needed to provide to the FBI, he often reached out to Mr. Ohr, a trusted contact,” they said, noting Our had notified Department of Justice’s Criminal Division aware of these contacts. “When Mr. Steele subsequently reached out to Mr. Ohr with additional information, Mr. Ohr appropriately handed it off to FBI investigators to assess its credibility and potentially corroborate with other evidence.”

Trump has singled out Ohr amid his ongoing feud with the Justice Department, writing on Twitter Wednesday: