Courtesy of WaPo:
President Trump said Friday that he plans “very quickly” to strip the security clearance of Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official he said is “a disgrace” who is tied to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has repeatedly targeted Ohr as a source for Mueller and his investigation. Ohr’s connection to the matter was as an early contact in 2016 for Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who investigated Trump’s ties to Russia.
“I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “For him to be in the Justice Department, and to be doing what he did, that is a disgrace. That is disqualifying for Mueller. And Mr. Mueller has a lot of conflicts, also.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, while not specifying Ohr’s current job, has said that he has no involvement in Mueller’s investigation, begun last year. Rosenstein appointed the special counsel and oversees his work.
Trump is clearly attempting to punish and intimidate another person that he feels is connected to the Russian investigation.
The problem is that Ohr does not seem to have all that much to do with the investigation if anything.
Apparently, Ohr and Christopher Steele, of the infamous Steele dossier, knew each other and had some communications before and after the election, but if those interactions involved sharing information about Trump’s dealings with Russia is currently unknown.
However, the Right Wing has made Bruce Ohr a boogeyman, right along with Robert Mueller, James Comey, and Peter Strzok.
Here is sort of the bottom line courtesy of the fact checkers over at WaPo:
As yet, there is little evidence to support Trump’s contention that Ohr helped Steele find dirt on Trump. He appears to be only a messenger. At this point, it’s unclear what Ohr even told his friend at the FBI about Steele’s information and whether any of that reporting ended up influencing the Russia investigation. There is also, as yet, no evidence that senior Justice Department officials were even aware of Ohr’s sideline communications with Steele about the Russian probe.
Trump’s mention of Ohr’s wife appears gratuitous. Her role in the matter, as yet, appears minimal.
So yeah there is really no there there, but then again perhaps this is just another way for Trump to send a message to others with potentially damaging information for Robert Mueller that there is no bottom to how low Trump will go to get a little payback.
Though if that is his goal it seems that he has rather emboldened his critics, rather than stifle them.
Which is well illustrated by the letter that 12 former intelligence officials signed, essentially telling Trump to fuck off.
Courtesy of Politico:
A dozen former top intelligence officials, representing previous Republican and Democratic administrations, issued a letter late Thursday supporting former CIA Director John Brennan and lambasting President Donald Trump’s move to revoke his security clearance.
The rare statement from the former officials — including former CIA directors who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — comes one day after Trump pulled Brennan’s clearance and said he would evaluate clearances for other former intelligence officials, including two who signed on to the pro-Brennan statement.
That move from the White House “has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the dozen ex-intelligence officials wrote in their joint letter.
“You don’t have to agree with what John Brennan says (and, again, not all of us do) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information.”
Those signing the letter were former CIA Directors William Webster, George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta and David Petraeus; former CIA Deputy Directors John McLaughlin, Stephen Kappes, Michael Morel, Avril Haines and David Cohen; and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
So much for striking the fear of God into anybody who may criticize or disagree with him.