Ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden: People Have Told Me Bruce Ohr ‘Was Competent, Thorough, and Honest’


Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said on CNN tonight he has heard nothing but good things about DOJ official Bruce Ohr, one of the men at the center of another Russia controversy.

Ohr, under scrutiny from Republicans over his connection to dossier author Christopher Steele, reportedly discussed a meeting they had regarding Donald Trump:

A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.

The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.

On CNN tonight, Jim Sciutto asked about that “over a barrel” comment. Hayden cautiously said it’s still a “single data point” and “raw information” that would be used as a “departure point” for an investigation, not the endpoint.

Sciutto brought up Ohr specifically, saying, “Here’s a Justice Department official who happens to be an expert on Russian organized crime. Now, one pattern that the president follows with his attacks is often going after people who might be witnesses against him… With Bruce Ohr, do you see him as potentially being in this pattern?”

“Absolutely,” Hayden said. “And I don’t know Mr. Ohr, but in anticipation of our conversation tonight, I kind of sent a note out to folks I know who might know him, and the description I got back from him was competent, thorough, and honest.”

What’s more, he said, the likelihood of Trump’s grand conspiracy being true is very slim:

“What you’ve got is the president in essence attacking anyone who’s affiliated with the investigation either under Director Mueller or the intelligence investigation with regard to Russian meddling… For the president’s narrative to be correct with Bruce Ohr and everyone else, we have to have everyone affiliated with this investigation to be hopelessly corrupt, to be actually clever over a very long period of time, actually to have begun this episode even prior to the American election, and in addition to the men and woman in government doing this, they had to have the cooperation of CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. That’s kind of hard to believe.”

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac