Donald Trump has repeatedly taken to his Twitter account to blast various previously obscure Justice Department officials who he accuses of being somehow biased against him. But as The Atlantic Magazine uncovered in a report earlier this week, “Trump’s attacks have also served to highlight another thread among these officials and others who have investigated his campaign: their extensive experience in probing money laundering and organized crime, particularly as they pertain to Russia.”
One of Trump’s most frequent targets in recent weeks has been Bruce Ohr, a 56-year-old official in the Justice Department’s criminal division. Trump has mentioned the otherwise unknown Ohr on his Twitter account 11 times since August 11, according to data from the Trump Twitter Archive, saying that Ohr is “in legal jeopardy, it’s astonishingthat he’s still employed,” in one Twitter message. In another Twitter post, Trump calls Ohr “a total joke” and calls for him to be fired.
Why is Ohr the target of Trump’s wrath? “It could be interpreted as an attack on someone with deep knowledge of the shady characters Trump and his cohort have been linked to, including Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mob boss, and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate close to Putin who did business with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” wrote Atlantic reporter Natasha Bertrand on Thursday.
The Inquisitr earlier reported on Mogilevich and his connections to several Trump and Russia related scandals.
But Ohr’s involvement with the probe into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia run deeper than has been previously revealed, according to a report Saturday by The New York Times. The Times reports that during the 2016 campaign, and for two years before, Ohr was involved in an effort by FBI agents and Justice Department investigators to “flip” a top Russian oligarch. The target was aluminum magnet Oleg Deripakska, who is believed to have links to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as to Russian organized crime,
Deripaska is also strongly connected to former Trump 2016 Campaign Chief Paul Manafort, who was in debt to Deripaska to th tune of $10 million, as Inquisitr reported. It was also Deripaska who largely financed Manafort’s operations in Ukraine as a political consultant to that country’s now-deposed pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich.
“In one dramatic encounter, F.B.I. agents appeared unannounced and uninvited at a home Mr. Deripaska maintains in New York and pressed him on whether Paul Manafort, a former business partner of his who went on to become chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign, had served as a link between the campaign and the Kremlin,” the Times reported.
Ultimately, Ohr and the FBI failed to convert Deripaska into an informant, The Times reports.
“The fallout from the efforts is now rippling through American politics and has helped fuel Mr. Trump’s campaign to discredit the investigation into whether he coordinated with Russia in its interference in the election,” according to Times reporters Kenneth P. Vogel and Matthew Rosenberg.