President Trump’s lawyers are calling for a new special counsel to investigate a senior Justice Department official’s role in the infamous and discredited Trump-Russia dossier that was spread around Washington during the election.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said Tuesday that he wants an independent inquiry into the role of Bruce Ohr, who reportedly was recently demoted from his high-ranking post as associate deputy attorney general over his contacts with dossier-related figures.
Fox News reported that Mr. Ohr met with Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy who wrote the 35-page dossier. Mr. Steele made a series of Russia-collusion charges against Mr. Trump and his aides. None has been confirmed publicly.
The dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. The money was sent through a law firm to the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. It paid Mr. Steele, who in turn doled out money to Kremlin operatives for dirt on the Trump campaign.
Mr. Steele wrote dossier memos during the campaign, and Fusion tried to place its charges in news stories. Mr. Ohr met with Mr. Steele sometime during that period.
Another layer of intrigue: Mr. Ohr’s wife, Nellie H. Ohr, was employed by Fusion GPS.
Mr. Steele was in Washington in September 2016 to brief a group of high-powered Washington news outlets. One question is whether Ms. Ohr, as a Fusion employee, helped arrange a meeting between her husband and Mr. Steele.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, has issued subpoenas to the Justice Department and wants Mr. Ohr’s appearance as a witness. Mr. Nunes is trying to determine if Mr. Ohr played any role in promoting the dossier inside the Justice Department or with the FBI.
In addition, after the election Mr. Ohr met with Glenn Simpson, a Fusion GPS founder who had wanted Mr. Trump to be defeated.
Mr. Sekulow, chief counsel for his American Center for Law and Justice, said Mr. Ohr concealed his dossier contacts. The lawyer suggested he was somehow working on the document.
“The Department of Justice and the FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interest,” Mr. Sekulow said. “These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate independent of what [special counsel] Bob Mueller does.”
Mr. Sekulow, one of three outside attorneys representing the president, said he doesn’t want a probe of Mr. Mueller, who is looking into Russia election interference and whether Trump aides helped.
Mr. Mueller has come under fire for hiring a relatively large number of Democratic Party-connected lawyers to fill out his prosecution team. In July, he fired an FBI agent who expressed bias against Mr. Trump.
The FBI began using the dossier in July 2016 to investigate the Trump team at the urging of Mr. Steele. The bureau will not comment about its probe in public.
Republicans have called it outlandish for the FBI to target Trump people based on unproven opposition research financed by Democrats.