The FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million if he could prove allegations recorded in his now-infamous dossier, a senior FBI analyst said in court on Tuesday.
FBI analyst Brian Auten testified in the trial of Igor Danchenko, the primary source of allegations in Steele’s dossier, that the bureau placed a $1 million price tag on confirmation of the dossier’s outlandish allegations. Steele was unable to provide any evidence.
Auten said he and a group of FBI agents met with Steele in October of 2021 and offered the former British spy $1 million for evidence supporting the dossier, according to Fox News. The FBI’s offer came years after it had used the dossier’s claims to secure FISA warrants to surveil former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“On October 21, 2016, did you have any information to corroborate that information?” Durham asked Auten, referencing the date the first FISA application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was filed.
“No,” Auten responded, according to Fox News.
Auten testified that the FBI offered Steele “up to $1 million” for proof substantiating allegations made in a series of reports to the bureau over the course of several months in 2016. The analyst said Steele never received any money because he could not “prove the allegations,” according to CNN. Steel’s reports were eventually compiled into the dossier first published by BuzzFeed News in January 2017.
Danchenko has pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI. His trial is the last scheduled as part of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax before Durham issues his final report.
Durham has scored one guilty plea from former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted to altering an email that was used to obtain a FISA warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Durham struck out against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who was acquitted by a Washington, D.C., jury in May of a charge of lying to the FBI.
In July of this year, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that according to FBI whistleblowers, Auten was involved in suppressing an investigation into Hunter Biden during President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.
“[I]n August 2020, FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten opened an assessment which was used by a FBI Headquarters … team to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation and caused investigative activity to cease. Based on allegations, verified and verifiable derogatory information on Hunter Biden was falsely labeled as disinformation,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.