MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Trump wants to ruin official who brought down Russian mobster by demanding DOJ declassify files
Rachel Maddow (Photo: Screen capture)

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained the significance of the career of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr on Monday night — and why it's so insidious that the Trump administration is declassifying files about his takedowns of Russian mafiosos.

Before he became a target of Donald Trump's, Bruce Ohr had a storied but below-the-radar career as "the head of the organized crime and racketeering section" of the Justice Department, Maddow noted — a role that led to him bringing US-based indictments against "the godfather of all godfathers," Russian mobster Semion Y. Mogilevich.

Ohr was also involved in banning the visa of Vladimir Putin-linked oligarch Oleg Deripaska for his alleged ties to organized crime. Deripaska, Maddow noted, was banned from the US around the same time as he entered into business with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

New reporting from the New York Times shows that Ohr was instrumental in an effort to get the Russian oligarch to "flip" and begin working for the US, the host noted.

On Sunday, Axios reported that the Trump administration is slated to declassify and leak documents about both former Trump campaign aide Carter Page and Ohr in what Maddow said is "a means of calling into the question the origins of the Russia investigation.

"Imagine how happy [the Russian mob] will be when Trump declassifies all of Bruce Ohr's investigative activities," the host mused. "Imagine how happy they will be when they blow his sources in the process."

This declassification will "blow up the career of the top Russian organized crime expert at the US Justice Department who has been intensely and personally focused for years on the links between Russian organized crime and the Putin government."

"Whose interests will that most serve?" she wondered.

Watch below, via MSNBC: