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Igor Danchenko arrested, charged with lying to FBI about information in Steele dossier


Reported By Devlin Barrett and Tom Jackman November 4, 2021 at 9:34 p.m. EDT

Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/steele-dossier-arrest-danchenko-trump-durham/2021/11/04/7e76b9ae-3d77-11ec-8ee9-4f14a26749d1_story.html

An analyst who was a primary source for a 2016 dossier of allegations against Donald Trump has been arrested on charges that he repeatedly lied to the FBI about where and how he got his information, officials said Thursday.

Igor Danchenko’s role in providing information to British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the accusations about Trump in a series of reports, has long been a subject of scrutiny from internal Justice Department investigators and special counsel John Durham, according to people familiar with the investigations. Steele presented the dossier to the FBI, and it was part of the basis for secret surveillance court orders targeting former Trump adviser Carter Page as the FBI investigated possible ties between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

A 2019 report by the Justice Department inspector general found major problems with the accuracy of Danchenko’s information. But the 39-page indictment unveiled Thursday paints a more detailed picture of claims that were allegedly built on exaggerations, rumors and outright lies. The indictment is likely to buttress Republican charges that Democrats and FBI agents intentionally or accidentally turned cheap partisan smears into a high-stakes national security investigation of a sitting president.

The indictment also suggests Danchenko may have lied to Steele and others about where he was getting his information. Some of the material came from a Democratic Party operative with long-standing ties to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to the charges, rather than well-connected Russians with insight into the Kremlin.

The allegations cast new uncertainty on some past reporting on the dossier by news organizations, including The Washington Post.

Danchenko appeared briefly Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., where his lawyer tried to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf for five counts of making false statements. The judge did not accept the plea because the hearing was not an arraignment, and Danchenko was released.

His lawyer declined to speak to reporters outside the courtroom.

Durham’s probe into the FBI’s Russia investigation has also led to the indictment of a lawyer connected to Democrats, on a charge that he lied to the FBI. In addition, a former FBI lawyer who worked on the Page surveillance application later pleaded guilty to altering an email related to that case.

Former FBI officials have said the dossier did not launch their Trump campaign investigation, nor was it a factor in the conclusions reached by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. But the dossier did play a critical role both in how the FBI sought court-approved surveillance and, after it was published by BuzzFeed News in 2017, the public debate about Trump and Russia.

Trump and his supporters have accused FBI officials of trying to discredit or defeat him through an unfair investigation premised on false accusations. The FBI’s defenders, however, say the agency was obligated to examine allegations of Russian interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign during the election.

Then-Attorney General William P. Barr appointed Durham in 2019 to investigate the origins and handling of the Russia investigation.

Steele’s reports on Trump were based in large part on a person he called his “primary sub-source,” which was Danchenko, according to people familiar with the matter. Danchenko, a 43-year-old Virginia resident and Washington-based researcher, was hired by Steele to talk to people he knew in Russia about any possible ties Trump may have had to the Kremlin.

Steele, in turn, was paid by a research firm, Fusion GPS, that had been hired by a law firm that represented Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. A lawyer for Fusion GPS declined to comment on the indictment on Thursday.

Lawyers for Steele did not immediately reply to requests for comment, though ABC News recently aired an interview with him in which he insisted much of the dossier was accurate and would be proved so eventually.

The indictment charges that Danchenko repeatedly lied to the FBI in interviews in 2017 as agents sought to get to the bottom of claims made in the dossier. It also notes that the FBI “was ultimately not able to confirm or corroborate” most of the dossier’s substantive claims.

An FBI spokeswoman referred questions about the indictment to Durham’s office.

Danchenko allegedly lied to agents when he said he had never communicated about the dossier allegations with a U.S.-based public relations executive “who was a longtime participant in Democratic Party politics.”

The indictment does not identify that individual, but it is Charles Dolan Jr., according to Ralph Martin, a lawyer representing Dolan. Martin said in an email Thursday that his client was a witness in the case; he declined to comment further, and a spokesman for Durham declined to comment on the claim that Dolan is a witness.

The indictment charges that in fact, Danchenko used Dolan as a source for some of the dossier’s allegations.

Dolan had served as a state chairman of Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and a volunteer on her 2016 campaign. While in the White House, Bill Clinton appointed Dolan to two four-year terms on a State Department advisory committee, according to the legal filing.

Dolan’s ties to the Democratic Party were so extensive that they bore upon his “reliability, motivations, and potential bias as a source of information” about Trump, the indictment says. Danchenko “gathered some of the information . . . at events in Moscow” organized by Dolan, who invited him to attend, the indictment charges. The indictment also suggests — but does not say outright — that Danchenko may have relied on information provided by Dolan to fuel the most salacious accusation to come out of the dossier: that Trump supposedly had a liaison with Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel and that a video existed of the encounter that could be used to compromise the presidential candidate.

The indictment notes that in June of 2016, the executive received a tour of the Moscow hotel, including a presidential suite in which Trump had once stayed. According to another person who was on the tour, the indictment said, the hotel employee who led the tour never suggested anything sexual or untoward about Trump’s stay. Trump has always denied the allegations.

The indictment suggests that while Danchenko allegedly misled people about his conversations with Dolan, the executive also misled Danchenko. Dolan allegedly told Danchenko in 2016 that a Republican friend described internal Trump campaign discussions surrounding the ouster of a senior campaign official. That allegation became part of the dossier. But when the FBI spoke to Dolan, he claimed the anecdote was just supposition on his part and there was no Republican friend who had said that to him, according to the indictment.

Dolan also wrote an email in early 2017 that suggested he knew that Danchenko was assembling allegations for the dossier, according to the indictment.

“I’ve been interviewed by the Washington Post and the London Times — three times over the last two days over the Dossier on Trump and I know the Russian agent who made the report (He used to work for me),” Dolan allegedly wrote. It was not immediately clear to what conversations the executive was referring.

The indictment also accuses Danchenko of lying to the FBI about interactions he claimed to have had with the then-president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA. The indictment doesn’t identify that person, but people familiar with the case have previously said it is Sergei Millian.

Danchenko falsely claimed to have had a phone conversation with a person he thought was Millian as part of his information-gathering for the dossier, according to the indictment, which says the two agreed to meet later in New York. “Danchenko fabricated these facts,” it alleges.

While leading others to believe he was in contact with Millian, Danchenko had allegedly been unsuccessful in trying to speak with him, according to messages that Danchenko sent at the time that were cited in the indictment.

Early in the Russia investigation, law enforcement officials were told Millian was the source of a key claim in the dossier that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Trump and Russia. But the indictment charges that Danchenko didn’t speak to Millian. It notes that Danchenko sent an email to a Russian journalist in late August 2016 asking for help connecting with Millian because he “doesn’t respond.”

For his part, Steele told the FBI that Millian was one of Danchenko’s sources, according to the indictment. Danchenko told the FBI that he knew Steele believed that he had direct contact with Millian and that he “never corrected” Steele about that “erroneous belief.”

Efforts to reach Millian on Thursday were unsuccessful, but a Twitter account bearing his name posted a message calling on news organizations to correct their past reporting about him.

The Post and other news organizations reported in 2017 that Millian was a source of key information in the dossier, including the anecdote about the Moscow hotel room. The Post reported that Millian had shared the information with an associate, who passed it on to Steele.

“The indictment raises new questions about whether Sergei Millian was a source for the Steele dossier, as The Post reported in 2017,” Post executive editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement Thursday. “We are continuing to report on the origins and ramifications of the dossier.”

Danchenko’s alleged lies were material to the Russia investigation because chasing them down consumed a significant amount of the FBI’s time and resources, the indictment says. It adds that Danchenko’s claims “played a role in the FBI’s investigative decisions and in sworn representations that the FBI made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

Justice Department inspector general report issued in late 2019 was highly critical of how the FBI used Steele’s allegations. The report found that when the FBI later questioned Danchenko about the allegations contained in Steele’s dossier, Danchenko tried to distance himself from some of the claims, saying the dossier overstated the information he had originally provided to Steele.

Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

BREAKING: DOJ Declassifies 3 Footnotes From Horowitz’s Report Revealing FBI Assessed Steele Dossier Was ‘Russian Disinformation’ – Used it Anyway


Reported By Cristina Laila | Published April 10, 2020 at 4:33pm

CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge obtained an April 2 letter responding to Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley over four key footnotes in IG Horowitz’s report.

The Senators stated that the classified footnotes contradict what is publicly available in Horowitz’s report related to Crossfire Hurricane, the CI investigation opened into Trump’s campaign in July of 2016.

Grassley and Johnson wrote, “The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

The DOJ declassified 3 footnotes with minimal redactions and kept the fourth footnote completely blacked out citing, “unique and significant concerns. The redacted information refers to information received by a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team regarding possible previous attempts by a foreign government to penetrate and research a company or individuals associated with Christopher Steele,” Herridge reported.

One declassified footnote revealed Comey’s FBI knew the Hillary Clinton-funded dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was bogus Russian disinformation — but they used it anyway to spy on Trump’s campaign.

“The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations” — Catherine Herridge said.

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

READ footnote 350 FBI effort to verify Steele Dossier “The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations”

View image on Twitter

Herridge: READ FULL footnote 302 Steele dossier sub-source “According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

READ FULL footnote 302 Steele dossier sub-source “According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)…

View image on Twitter

Enter Bruce Ohr (who STILL has a job at the DOJ):

In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.”

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

…In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.” @CBSNews

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Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News host Laura Ingraham there was ‘no basis’ for the FBI’s ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump.

Barr said what happened to Trump was one of the greatest travesties in American history.

Even more alarming was the pattern of events after the campaign to sabotage Trump’s presidency.

Alleged ‘Whistleblower’ Eric Ciaramella Worked Closely with Anti-Trump Dossier Hoaxer


Reported by Aaron Klein | 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/11/06/alleged-whistleblower-eric-ciaramella-worked-closely-with-anti-trump-dossier-hoaxers/

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 20: Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland testifies during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee June 20, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “Policy Response to Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. … Alex Wong/Getty Images

Eric Ciaramella, whom Real Clear Investigations suggests is the likely so-called whistleblower, was part of an Obama administration email chain celebrating the eventual signing of a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee to Ukraine.

That and other emails show Ciaramella interfaced about Ukraine with individuals who played key roles in facilitating the infamous anti-Trump dossier produced by Fusion GPS and reportedly financed by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. One of those individuals, then-Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland (pictured), received updates on Ukraine issues from dossier author Christopher Steele in addition to Nuland’s direct role in the dossier controversy.

Also part of the email chains was Christopher J. Anderson, who was a special adviser to former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. Anderson testified to the Democrat-led House committees running the impeachment inquiry.

Ciaramella’s name comes up in six Obama-era government emails that were released by the State Department as part of two previous Freedom of Information Act requests.  At the time of the exchanges, Ciaramella served as the Director for Baltic and Eastern European Affairs for the Obama-era National Security Council, where he worked on Ukraine policy.  He is now an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.

One email, titled, “Loan Guarantee,” involved Nuland, who was reportedly a key champion of the Ukraine loan guarantee policy.

“Hurray,” a celebratory Nuland wrote in response to a translated Ukrainian government announcement about the signing of the $1 billion loan guarantee.  The announcement singles out Joe Biden as being present for the conclusion of an agreement leading to the loan guarantee.

Ciaramella was one of several people CC’d in the email, which was sent from the U.S. ambassador at the time, Geoffrey Pyatt, who was another key champion of the loan guarantee to Ukraine along with Nuland.

The email is one of several that shows Ciaramella in the loop with top officials such as Nuland working on Ukraine policy under the Obama administration.

The loan guarantee was pushed through after Ukraine agreed to several reforms, especially the firing of the nation’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. This at a time that Shokin was reportedly investigating Burisma, the Ukranian natural gas company paying Hunter Biden.  Joe Biden infamously boasted on video about personally threatening to withhold loan guarantees from Ukraine unless Shokin was removed.

Another released email shows Ciaramella himself sending a message to Nuland and others. Most of the contents are blocked out, including the email’s subject line. One non-classified section of that email shows a reply stating, “Embassy Kyiv — coordinated with our USAID mission folks — will have detailed input tomorrow.”

One email involving Nuland was sent two days before the loan guarantee was signed on June 3, 2016. “Can you confirm who will be doing the actual signing for each side?” the exchange asked.

Nuland has come under repeated fire for her various roles in the anti-Trump dossier controversy.

FBI notes also cite career Justice Department official Bruce Ohr as saying that Nuland was in touch with Fusion GPS co-founder and dossier producer Glenn Simpson.

Sen. John McCain, who infamously delivered the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey, reportedly first dispatched an aide, David J. Kramer, to inquire with Nuland about the dossier claims.

In their book, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, authors and reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn write that Nuland gave the green light for the FBI to first meet with Steele regarding his dossier’s claims. It was at that meeting that Steele initially reported his dossier charges to the FBI, the book relates.

Meanwhile, looped into email chains with Ciaramella was then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff at the State Department, John Finer.

An extensive New Yorker profile of Steele named Finer as obtaining the contents of a two-page summary of the dossier and eventually deciding to share the questionable document with Kerry.

Finer reportedly received the dossier summary from Jonathan M. Winer, the Obama State Department official who acknowledged regularly interfacing and exchanging information with Steele, according to the report. Winer previously conceded that he shared the dossier summary with Nuland.

After his name surfaced in news media reports related to probes by House Republicans into the dossier, Winer authored a Washington Post oped in which he conceded that while he was working at the State Department he exchanged documents and information with Steele.

Winer further acknowledged that while at the State Department, he shared anti-Trump material with Steele passed to him by longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, whom Winer described as an “old friend.” Winer wrote that the material from Blumenthal – which Winer in turn gave to Steele – originated with Cody Shearer, who is a controversial figure long tied to various Clinton scandals.

In testimony last year, Nuland made statements about a meeting at the State Department in October 2016 between State officials and Steele, but said that she didn’t participate.

At a June 2018 hearing, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) revealed contents of the State Department’s visitor logs while he was grilling Nuland.

At the hearing, Burr asked: “I know you talked extensively with our staff relative to Mr. Steele. Based upon our review of the visitor logs of the State Department, Mr. Steele visited the State Department briefing officials on the dossier in October of 2016. Did you have any role in that briefing?”

“I did not,” Nuland replied. “I actively chose not to be part of that briefing.”

“But were you aware of that briefing?” Burr asked.

“I was not aware of it until afterwards,” Nuland retorted.

Nuland did not explain how she can actively chose not to be part of Steele’s briefing, as she claimed, yet say she was unaware of the briefing until after it occurred. Nuland was not asked about the discrepancy during the public section of the testimony, which was reviewed in full by Breitbart News.

Nuland previously served as chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott under Bill Clinton’s administration, and then served as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs.

Nuland faced confirmation questions prior to her most recent appointment as assistant secretary of state over her reported role in revising controversial Obama administration talking points about the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Her reported changes sought to protect Hillary Clinton’s State Department from accusations that it failed to adequately secure the woefully unprotected U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.

Likely ‘whistleblower’

A RealClearInvestigations report by investigative journalist and author Paul Sperry named Ciaramella as best fitting the description of the so-called whistleblower. Officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings say Ciaramella’s name has been raised in private in impeachment depositions and during at least one House open hearing that was not part of the formal impeachment proceedings.

Federal documents show Ciaramella also worked closely with Joe Biden and worked under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked with former CIA Director John Brennan, an anti-Trump advocate who has faced controversy for his role in fueling the questionable Russia collusion investigation.  Rice participated in Russia collusion probe meetings and reportedly unmasked senior members of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Sperry cites former White House officials saying Ciaramella worked for Biden on Ukrainian policy issues in 2015 and 2016, encompassing the time period for which Biden has been facing possible conflict questions for leading Ukraine policy in light of Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma.

Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, the activist attorneys representing the so-called whistleblower, refused to confirm on deny that their secretive client is indeed Ciaramella.

“We neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower,” the lawyers told the Washington Examiner in response to an inquiry about Ciaramella.

Zaid and Bakaj added, “Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

On Sunday, Trump responded to press reports naming Ciaramella, calling him a “radical” known for his close ties to Brennan and Rice.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. There have been stories written about a certain individual, a male, and they say he’s the whistleblower,” Trump told reporters. “If he’s the whistleblower, he has no credibility because he’s a Brennan guy, he’s a Susan Rice guy, he’s an Obama guy.”

Trump added, “And he hates Trump. And he’s a radical. Now, maybe it’s not him. But if it’s him, you guys ought to release the information.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.

FBI Bruce Ohr TESTIFIES: FBI Tried to Bring Down Trump


Reported by Kevin Jackson |

Rep. Adam Schiff

What happens when the reason you gave for investigating Trump falls apart?

We are about to find out. Because according to The Daily Caller,

Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s testimony about his meetings with FBI officials regarding dossier author Christopher Steele severely undercuts claims made in 2018 by California Rep. Adam Schiff and his fellow Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. Ohr told lawmakers Aug. 28, 2018, he briefed top FBI officials Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page in early August 2016, just days after he met with Steele, a former British spy who was investigating then-candidate Donald Trump. Ohr testified he told McCabe and Page about his interactions with Steele, who was working at the time for Fusion GPS, a Democrat-funded opposition research firm.

The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s unverified dossier to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

But there is more to the dossier, based on Steele’s admission to Ohr.

The article continues,

In a memo dated Feb. 2, 2018, House Intelligence Republicans, led by then-Chairman Devin Nunes, asserted the FBI filed to disclose in their FISA applications Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS. They also noted in the so-called Nunes memo that the FISA applications do not reveal Steele’s anti-Trump bias. Ohr claimed Steele told him during a meeting Sept. 23, 2016, he was “desperate” that Trump not win election.

So we have a fake dossier, presented by a foreigner who hated Donald Trump. And the FBI knew this information. Yet, they still continued to pursue FISA warrants.

No longer can the FBI pretend they were unaware until later, because Ohr testified he had shared details of his contacts with Steele with the FBI prior to the election.

Let’s review the cast of characters and where they fit past and present.

In addition to the meeting in early August 2016, Ohr met in late September 2016 or early the next month with Page, FBI counterintelligence deputy chief Peter Strzok, and Justice Department officials Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad and Andrew Weissmann. Ahmad and Weissmann are currently working on the special counsel’s investigation.

Unbelievably, Mueller’s team remains comprised of people who undoubtedly were out to get Donald Trump, pre and post-election. Still, Democrats pretend that Mueller and team remain unbiased?

Although Mueller will eventually become the fall guy for the Democrats, let’s not forget what Democrats said of Ohr’s role in this, as well as their contention about the timeline.

The FBI obtained its first FISA against Page on Oct. 21, 2016, weeks after that meeting.

Ohr’s testimony conflicts with House Intelligence Democrats’ claim in a memo released Feb. 24, 2018, that served as a rebuttal to the Nunes memo.

That document sought to defend the FBI’s handling of the Steele dossier and its applications for the first FISA warrant.

Democrats asserted Ohr did not meet with the FBI until after the 2016 election and thus had no opportunity to tell the FBI his wife worked for Fusion GPS. He was also unable to relay that Steele had communicated anti-Trump bias to him.

“[Republicans] mischaracterize[s] Bruce Ohr’s role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele, and misleads about the timeframe of Ohr’s communication with the FBI,” the so-called Schiff memo reads.

To put this simply, the FBI used the Steele dossier as evidence against Carter page. But when pressed, they claimed to have only been briefed on the dossier post-election.

I can’t wait to see bug-eyed Adam Schiff try to talk his way out of this one.

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