Igor Danchenko, the Russian national living in the Washington, D.C., area who was allegedly Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source for the fictional “dossier” — in reality, opposition research funded by Hillary’s presidential campaign — has been indicted by special counsel John Durham, who is looking into the origins of the Trump-Russia “collusion” scandal, otherwise known as the Trump-Russia hoax or, as we like to call it, “My Big Fat Russia Conspiracy Theory.”
The special counsel seems to be very gradually and methodically connecting all the dots leading back to Hillary and her 2016 presidential campaign. As law professor Jonathan Turley wrote Thursday, “Danchenko’s arrest is a seismic development and confirmed Durham is far from done with his investigation.”
Danchenko has been charged with five counts of making false statements. According to Turley, he had told the FBI that Steele asked him to look for compromising material on Trump and also said the dossier was “unsubstantiated” (that part’s true).
Danchenko had his own source for crazy dossier stories, and he’s listed anonymously in Durham’s indictment as “PR-Executive-1,” now confirmed to be a man named Charles Dolan, described by Turley as “a close Clinton adviser who held high positions in the Democratic Party and prior Clinton campaigns.”
In fact, Dolan’s attorney, Ralph Martin, has come out and said Dolan is the PR executive. And it appears that Dolan had the very kind of contacts within the Russian government that Trump and his campaign were falsely accused of having. Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart has more details from the indictment.
Dolan apparently gifted Danchenko with an autobiography of Hillary Clinton, with the handwritten inscription, “To my good friend [Igor], a Great Democrat.” Dolan definitely fits the description; he has served as “chairman of a national Democratic political organization” and “state chairman of former President Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns,” as well as “advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign.”
He had also been appointed by President Bill Clinton to two four-year terms with an advisory commission at the State Department. During the 2016 Hillary campaign, he actively campaigned and participated in calls and events as a volunteer on behalf of Hillary Clinton.”
Turley thinks Danchenko is the sort of participant who prosecutors think they can “flip” to give information on the key players who used him in this effort. These might range from Steele himself to Clinton counsel Marc Elias to Clinton campaign officials.
Samuel Chamberlain at the New York Post calls Charles H. Dolan, Jr., “an elusive ally” of the Clintons. The charging document accuses Danchenko of intentionally misleading the FBI when he told them he hadn’t spoken to Dolan about any material in the Trump-Russia file.
The evidence shows he had, though. In August 2016, Danchenko emailed Dolan to say he was working on a “project against Trump” and to ask him for “[a]ny thought, rumor, allegation” (!) about Paul Manafort, who had recently resigned as Trump’s campaign chairman. Dolan emailed him back to dish some dirt that he said he got from former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski over a drink. That email appears almost verbatim in the Steele dossier.
But the indictment says that Dolan told the FBI that the “drink with a GOP friend” was made up and that all he gave to Danchenko was gleaned from news reports.
Adam Goldman and Charlie Savage reported on the Danchenko indictment for The New York Times.
The dossier was intended to show that then-candidate Donald Trump was “colluding” with the Russian government for help in getting himself elected president. Nothing of consequence in Steele’s series of memos has ever been verified, but that didn’t stop Trump’s enemies from issuing hysterical made-up media reports in service to the hoax, some of which persist to this day.
Also, it was because of the Steele dossier that a FISA warrant was granted in October 2016 for the FBI to spy on Trump campaign adviser and American citizen Carter Page. Through him, they were able to spy on the entire campaign and even go “back in time” to look at previous communications.
And the fabricated contents, which included a salacious story involving Russian prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton (we all know the one; it likely came from Dolan), were printed by Buzzfeed just days before Trump’s inauguration.
Though primary source Danchenko is Russian by birth, he resides in the Washington, D.C., area and the material he related was thirdhand at best. The FBI knew after it interviewed him that his “information” was not necessarily true, but the bureau went with it anyway, after Hillary’s attorney’s pressured it from every side.
According to the Times, a “Justice” Department inspector general report from 2019 sharply criticized the FBI “for continuing to cite material from the dossier in wiretap renewal applications without alerting judges that a reason had arisen to doubt its credibility.”
Danchenko was interviewed by the Times in 2020 and said that he had been tasked only with providing “raw” information to Steele. He strongly denies being a Russian agent.
As the Times reports — the paper must be trying to get ahead of this story — “[Steele’s] business intelligence firm was a subcontractor to another research firm, Fusion GPS,” which in turn had been hired by Perkins Coie, which was working for Hillary’s campaign.
“Mr. Danchenko has said he did not know who Mr. Steele’s client was at the time and considered himself a nonpartisan analyst and researcher,” the Times reported.
But Danchenko worked for the extremely anti-Trump think tank the Brookings Institution from 2005 to 2010. In February, Durham used a subpoena to retrieve from there his old personnel files and related documents. If you have time, it’s interesting to see what the Times reporters wrote about that back in April.
Finally, recall that the person who apparently introduced Danchenko to Steele was (drum roll, please) “Trump impeachment star” Fiona Hill, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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