WASHINGTON (CN) – President Trump called for the firing Monday of a Justice Department official over his connection to the Russia probe.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “A total joke!”
The tweet came amid the president’s escalating attacks on Ohr over a report that his wife, Nellie, worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS, the research firm that commissioned ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile a dossier of damaging information on Trump during the 2016 election.
Days earlier, Trump called Ohr a “disgrace” and threatened to strip the career Justice Department official of his security clearance.
Trump’s pressure for Sessions to fire Ohr has come despite a report from The New York Times that the FBI’s opening of the Russia inquiry in July 2016 was instigated by an alcohol-induced admission former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos made to the Australian ambassador about “dirt” the Kremlin had on Hillary Clinton.
Conservatives have also raked Ohr over the coals for having been in touch with both Steele and Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, while Steele worked for the firm.
Ohr, who once served as associate deputy attorney general and the led the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, was demoted in 2017 after he informed the FBI about his wife’s work and his contacts with Steele.
The revelations have given fodder to Trump and his allies to try to discredit the Russia investigation as biased.
In a subsequent tweet Monday, Trump claimed again that Ohr is a key player in the Russia probe.
“Bruce Ohr is at the center of FALSE ALLEGATIONS which led to a multi-million dollar investigation into what apparently didn’t happen,” Trump tweeted, quoting comments Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California made to Fox News. “We can take out the word ‘apparently,'” Trump added.
If Trump pulls Ohr’s security clearance, it will mark the first time he has revoked a clearance from a current government official.
According to the Washington Post, the president is considering revoking other clearances after having stripped former CIA Director John Brennan’s of his on Wednesday.
The president said he pulled Brennan’s clearance because of his “erratic conduct and behavior,” but he later tied the move to the Russia probe in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Brennan has been an outspoken critic of the president, saying his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their summit in Helsinki, Finland, last month was “nothing short of treason.”
Brennan said that Trump had refused to condemn the Kremlin’s election interference during the press conference, and showed great deference to Putin’s denials of any such interference over his own intelligence agencies.
Over the weekend, Brennan threatened to take legal action against the president in order to prevent other intelligence officials, both current and former, from having their clearances revoked.
Trump baited Brennan on the matter in a Monday morning tweet.
“I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history brings a lawsuit,” Trump tweeted. “It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged With Hunt. He won’t sue!”