Federal authorities on Thursday arrested the top researcher for ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, a widely discredited report on former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Igor Danchenko was arrested as a part of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into “Crossfire Hurricane,” an FBI investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign and alleged contact with Russian agents. Danchenko is an analyst who provided Steele with many of the claims and false assertions compiled in the infamous “Steele Dossier.” Danchenko’s arrest was first reported by The New York Times.
Danchenko has been charged with “with five counts of making false statements to the FBI” related to sources he used to provide information for Steele’s dossier, Durham’s office said according to the Washington Examiner. Danchenko, who was born in Russia but lives in Washington, D.C., is slated to appear in court in Virginia on Thursday afternoon.
“The June 15, 2017, false statement count alleges that Danchenko denied that he had spoken with a particular individual about material information contained in one of the Company Reports when he knew that was untrue,” Durham’s office said. “The March 16, 2017, May 18, 2017, Oct. 24, 2017, and Nov. 16, 2017, counts involve statements made by Danchenko on those dates to FBI agents regarding information he purportedly had received from an anonymous caller who he believed to be a particular individual, when in truth and in fact he knew that was untrue. The information purportedly conveyed by the anonymous caller included the allegation that there were communications ongoing between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and that the caller had indicated the Kremlin might be of help in getting Trump elected.”
Steele’s dossier, funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, was used by the FBI in Crossfire Hurricane to obtain FISA warrants to investigate the communications of a top Trump campaign official, Carter Page. In December 2019, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report finding that the FBI had made 17 “significant errors and omissions” in applying for the FISA warrants using the Steele Dossier.
“We concluded that the failures described above and in this report represent serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications,” the Horowitz report said. “These failures prevented [Office of Intelligence (OI)] from fully performing its gatekeeper function and deprived the decision makers the opportunity to make fully informed decisions. Although some of the factual misstatements and omissions we found in this review were arguably more significant than others, we believe that all of them taken together resulted in FISA applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”
“We identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures,” it continued. “These errors and omissions resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to OI and failing to flag important issues for discussion.”
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