Justice Department official Bruce Ohr is out

Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official heavily criticized by President Trump and the department’s Inspector General over his repeated contact with Christopher Steele, the former British spy and author of the controversial Steele dossier, has retired from the agency, the department confirmed Wednesday.

“Bruce Ohr retired from the Department of Justice on September 30, 2020,” said Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec. “As such, he is no longer an employee of the Department. Mr. Ohr retired after his counsel was informed that a final decision on a disciplinary review being conducted by Department senior career officials was imminent.”

Ohr’s departure from the Justice Department was first reported by CBS News. 

The disciplinary review grew out of a referral from Michael Horowitz, the department’s Inspector General.

Horowitz found that Ohr had “committed consequential errors in judgment by (1) failing to advise his direct supervisors or the [deputy attorney general] that he was communicating with Steele and Simpson and then requesting meetings with the FBI’s Deputy Director and Crossfire Hurricane team on matters that were outside of his areas of responsibility, and (2) making himself a witness in the investigation by meeting with Steele and providing Steele’s information to the FBI.”

Separately, FBI interviews with Ohr were released to Senate investigators on Wednesday. Ohr was questioned a half dozen times over a five-month period in 2016 and 2017.

The interviews outline Ohr’s frequent contact with Steele at the height of the 2016 FBI Russia probe, as well as his wife Nellie’s Ohr work for Fusion-GPS, a research firm. The DNC paid Fusion-GPS for the dossier project that was later used by the FBI and DOJ to secure four surveillance warrants for Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Steele’s relationship with the bureau was ended in the fall of 2016 over his contact with the media.

A lawyer for Ohr did not immediately comment on his departure.

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