The Washington Post has reported that “two House committees members,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter on Friday, that has “accused Republicans of leaking to the press sensitive communications,” that might put a “confidential human source at risk.”
Cummings a top ranking member on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by retiring Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Cumming’s counterpart, Nadler, who is a top ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, chaired by retiring Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), state in their joint letter sent to the Chairmen, that they have “serious concerns,” with the “actions of several Republican Members during the transcribed interview that our Committees conducted earlier this week with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.”
Ohr and his wife Nellie are the latest targets of some Republican’s including the President himself who has according to Trump Twitter Archive tweeted about Ohr, his wife or both eleven times since August 11th, in regards to their connection to the Russian Investigation.
Prior to sending his joint leader to Chairman Gowdy and Goodlatte, Nadler posted a statement to his official government page, that explained, on Tuesday both House committees “conducted a joint interview with,” Ohr, for eight hours.
Nalder writes, “With Paul Manafort in jail, Michael Cohen in court, and a host of longtime Trump confidants cooperating with federal prosecutors, we can understand why Republicans are increasingly desperate to create a distraction and undermine the Department of Justice as a hedge against what the investigators may find. Mr. Ohr has already been forced to endure President Trump’s baseless Twitter attacks. Yesterday’s interview was merely a doubling down of that strategy,” from the statement that was posted on Wednesday.
In their joint Letter Cummings and Nadler write that, “Republican Members repeatedly referenced, read out loud from, and asked the witness about documents,” that according to the letter “were never officially produced to the Oversight or Judiciary Committees.”
The documents are said to include emails exchanged with Christopher Steele, the writer of the Trump Dossier that President Trump references in his tweet posted above and Ohr.
They allege in the letter that the documents referenced during the closed hearing, were not “included in the 800,000 pages of documents the Justice Department produced to our Committees during this investigation.”
They explain that the referenced documents by Republican Members, were never, “introduced,” the material referenced “into the official record,” nor did they mark them as “exhibits,” and according to Cummings and Nadler, the Republican’s never explained how they obtained the documents, nor did they share the documents with “Democratic staff participating in the interview.”
There are five areas of concerns that Cummings and Nadler express in the letter.
First, they write that Republican’s are “cherry picking,” only “portions of these documents out of context,” they offer an example of one of these cherry-picked instances that included Members reading out loud a portion of an email between Ohr and Steele, in which Ohr writes, “There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite [sic] business tycoon!”
According to the letter the Republican’s members accused Ohr of speaking about President Trump, but Ohr told committee members, he was speaking about Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Ohr a long time DOJ lawyer, worked on organized crime issues according to a Washington Post article from early August.
Second, they explain that this same information was used in an opinion piece that was published @ The Hill penned by John Solomon who writes, “There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele wrote Ohr on July 1, 2016, in an apparent reference to Trump.” It appeared online August 8th. According to the letter, they believe this information was “leaked.”
Third, they contend that Members refused to share where these documents came from, but according to Cummings and Nadler, “it appears that they were produced to Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by,” the DOJ, back in March 2018.
Fourth, they write that when the documents were “originally produced,” by the DOJ, that these documents were marked, “law enforcement sensitive.”
Finally, they write that they believe Republican Members violated house rules.
Cummings and Nadler are requesting via Chairman Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte a “bipartisan meeting with the Department of Justice,” in order to “evaluate the sensitivity of these documents,” which they feel was leaked to the media and in order to “determine whether any ongoing investigation or human sources may have been compromised.”