Republican congressmen who questioned senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr on Tuesday about his role in the FBI investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign found his testimony conflicted with the declarations of other key figures, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
Ohr was a liaison between the Justice Department and the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier, Christopher Steele, at a time when Ohr’s wife worked for the company that commissioned the document, Fusion GPS.
“In the first hour of testimony it became very clear that there are a number of factual conflicts,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told reporters Tuesday during a break in the closed-door session with Ohr.
“Either Bruce Ohr is lying or Glenn Simpson is lying.”
The congressman added that “in another circumstance, either Bruce Ohr is lying or Lisa Page is lying.”
Page infamously exchanged anti-Trump text messages with lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok while they were carrying on an adulterous relationship. While working on the Hillary Clinton classified-information probe and later the Russia investigation, Strzok confided to Page his intent to “stop” Trump from becoming president and to deploy an “insurance policy” as a backup plan.
Fusion GPS, an opposition research company, was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to produce the dossier, which is based on unnamed Russian sources. Fired FBI Director James Comey described claims in the document as “unverified and salacious.” And last week, longtime Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis rebutted a key claim in the dossier, contending his new client, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, was never in Prague. The dossier makes Cohen and his Prague visit central to its contention that there was “clandestine” conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., affirmed Tuesday to reporters the problems with the dossier, which was used by the Obama Justice Department and FBI to obtain warrants to spy on a Trump campaign adviser.
“Not only did the FBI know that the dossier was unverified, but they also knew that there were real credibility issues because of the way that it was collected and the bias that was associated with that,” Meadows said.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., confirmed the conflict between Ohr’s and Simpson’s testimonies Tuesday and said there’s also “some ambiguity between Ohr and Lisa Page.”
“We will have to go back to the loop to find out which one of them is able to change their story or face perjury,” he said.
The House members are considering bringing back Ohr, Page and Simpson in an open hearing to sort out the apparent conflicts, reported the Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge.
Ohr continued to serve as a back-channel liaison between Steele and the FBI, even after the bureau officially cut off its relationship with the former British spy in November 2016 for leaking to media.
The Justice Department official, who has since been demoted, continued to serve as a liaison until May 2017, when a special counsel was appointed to look into allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
Earlier Tuesday, Rep. Mark Meadows said he’s seen “hard evidence” that the FBI leaked information to media to justify the FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.