Donald Trump has been all in on the effort to force Department of Justice attorney Bruce Ohr out of the government, though the only thing Ohr appears to have “done wrong” is doing his job as an expert in Russia and Russian organized crime. As part of that job, Ohr met with former British intelligence officer and fellow Russia expert Christopher Steele. Earlier this week, Ohr was pulled in to testify in a closed session with House staffers to describe the first meeting he held with Steele concerning information related to Trump and Russia. As the Associated Press reports, what Ohr learned from Steele goes to the heart of … everything.
Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting.
In his closed interview on Tuesday, Ohr detailed his what he learned in this initial breakfast meeting with Steele, including information he didn’t immediately pass along to the FBI because he considered it “raw source material.” The information from British researcher and former operative Steele has always included the idea that the Russian held “kompromat” on Donald Trump that could be used to blackmail him into taking action to support Russia. Trump has been dismissive of the idea, but the recent revelations about Michael Cohen and Trump’s actions regarding Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, and the National Enquirer demonstrate just how open to blackmail Trump really is. At the very least, Trump was willing to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep a pair of stories out of the news. And those were straightforward stories of affairs that Trump claims didn’t occur and for which neither of the women involved seemed to be offering evidence beyond their word.
If Trump was willing to make that kind of investment to hide generic moments of infidelity, what might he be willing to surrender over a story that tied him to much more … colorful behavior? Especially if that accusation of distasteful bedroom activity came complete with photographs or video?
Republicans in the House have been continually pushing the idea that the FBI relied too much on Steele’s memos in launching the Russia investigation. Trump put Ohr on the list of those targeted to lose their security clearance and has been pushing to have him kicked out of the DOJ. And there’s a good reason they’re afraid of them both.