Paul Ryan Has Surprise Meeting With DOJ Official Overseeing Russia Investigation
House Speaker Paul Ryan held a surprise meeting Wednesday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray about the Russia investigation.
“Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray asked to meet with the speaker and we accommodated the request,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement.
The meeting comes as the House Intelligence Committee has pressed the federal agencies for answers about the anti-Trump dossier that has been used as a roadmap for the Russia probe.
Wednesday was a deadline set by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes to provide documents and witnesses related to the dossier, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
Last week, Nunes blasted Rosenstein in a letter calling on the DOJ and FBI “to investigate themselves” for ignoring subpoenas for dossier-related documents and witnesses.
In that letter, Nunes pressed Rosenstein to provide transcripts of interviews conducted by investigators related to the dossier. He also demanded that Rosenstein set dates for interviews with former DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, FBI general counsel James Baker, FBI lawyers Lisa Page and Sally Moyer, and the FBI’s congressional liaison, Greg Brower. (RELATED: Nunes Blasts DOJ ‘Intransigence’ Over Dossier)
Ohr is of interest to Nunes because of a meeting he had shortly after the election in Nov. 2016 with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the opposition firm that commissioned the dossier. Ohr’s wife also worked for that firm, Fusion GPS, to investigate Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Ohr was demoted from his DOJ position last month, reportedly because he had not disclosed his meeting with Simpson to his superiors.
Strzok is the FBI official who was tapped to oversee the Russia investigation, which began at the end of July 2016. While leading that investigation, Strozk exchanged anti-Trump text messages with Lisa Page, his mistress and an FBI lawyer. He was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia team in July.
Nunes and other Republicans have sought answers from the DOJ and FBI about how heavily the agencies relied on the dossier for the Russia investigation.
The 35-page document was reportedly cited in an FBI/DOJ application for a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Republicans have also questioned whether the dossier was the spark for the FBI’s investigation. But a New York Times article published over the weekend poured cold water on that theory.
The piece, which cited four anonymous government officials, asserted that the investigation was started after the FBI was informed that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had told an Australian diplomat in May 2016 that he had been informed that the Russian government had obtained dirt on Hillary Clinton.