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Who is Bruce Ohr, the Justice official Trump keeps tweeting about?

Leon Panetta on revoking clearances

Justice Department official Bruce Ohr was unlikely to have a starring role in the news cycle before President Trump called him a "disgrace," threatened to revoke his security clearance and began enshrining him in presidential records via Twitter. 

"Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions "Justice" Department? A total joke!" the president tweeted on Monday, in the eighth of nine tweets he has fired off about Ohr since August 11.

So, who is Ohr?

As of last week, Ohr was still employed in the DOJ's criminal division — although it's unclear in what capacity. The Justice Department has declined to comment on the record about Mr. Trump's tweets and Ohr's current title. 

Once an associate deputy attorney general, Ohr was demoted in 2017, after his ties to former British spy Christopher Steele emerged. Steele compiled information for the unverified dossier that alleged ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. 

Ohr become the target of conservative critics after it became public that his wife, Nellie Ohr, was doing contracting work for Fusion GPS, the firm that was paying Steele when he created the dossier alleging ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. 

According to congressional testimony given last month by now-fired FBI official Peter Strzok, Ohr did give the FBI "documents and material" that had originated with Steele and were a part of the dossier. That testimony, in part, has renewed conservatives' interest in Ohr's activities. 

Some critics of the Russia investigation — including the president himself — have suggested the Russia probe began with the dossier, although it was triggered by claims by former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during June testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that, to his knowledge, Ohr didn't work on the Russia investigation, but confirmed Ohr was transferred. 

"Mr. Ohr is a career employee of the department. He was there when I arrived," Rosenstein said. "To my knowledge, he wasn't working on the Russia matter. When we learned of the relevant information, we arranged to transfer Mr. Ohr to a different office."

Conservatives have been demanding more information about Ohr -- and calling for his removal — since late 2017, when new reports first emerged that Ohr was working at DOJ while his was was at Fusion GPS. 

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee claimed that any connections between the Ohrs and Steele were concealed from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court while the FBI looked to obtain a warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.  

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes demanded a January interview with Ohr in a December letter to Rosenstein. In May, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanded the DOJ hand over communications between Ohr and Steele related to the dossier. 

Ohr is slated to testify before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees on Aug. 28.

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