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Major Arrest Made In Durham Investigation As Federal Authorities Nab Dossier Source

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A key source for the Christopher Steele dossier that alleged ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia has been arrested.

Russian-born analyst Igor Danchenko, who is living in the United States, was arrested by federal agents on Thursday as part of the John Durham investigation, The New York Times reported.

The arrest of the analyst, Igor Danchenko, is part of the special counsel inquiry led by John H. Durham, who was appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation for any wrongdoing, the people said.

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Mr. Danchenko, was the primary researcher of the so-called Steele dossier, a compendium of rumors and unproven assertions suggesting that Mr. Trump and his 2016 campaign were compromised by and conspiring with Russian intelligence officials in Moscow’s covert operation to help him defeat Hillary Clinton.

The people familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity because the indictment of Mr. Danchenko had yet to be unsealed. A spokesman for Mr. Durham did not respond to a request for comment.

Some claims from the Steele dossier made their way into an F.B.I. wiretap application targeting a former Trump campaign adviser in October 2016. Other portions of it — particularly a salacious claim about a purported sex tape — caused a political and media firestorm when Buzzfeed published the materials in January 2017, shortly before Mr. Trump was sworn in.

As The Times reported, the most important allegations made in the dossier have not been proven, and some have been disputed by FBI agents.

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FBI agents interviewed Danchenko in 2017 which suggested that parts of the dossier were misleading.

In 2020 Danchenko was interviewed by The Times and defended his work.

“I’ve never been a Russian agent,” he said. “It is ridiculous to suggest that. This, I think, it’s slander.”

“I have done nothing more than simply relay these matters of intense public interest to the American people,” Mr. Graham wrote.

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He said he went to the Ritz Carlton and talked to a manager regarding rumors about celebrity guests and that the manager said security officials had wired the hotel to gain compromising information on guests like Trump, which he took as confirmation of the rumors.

“I circled around it, you know, enough for them to say, ‘look, yeah, there is a — you know, a funny thing. There might be a tape of Mr. Trump, might be sexual, but, you know, things that happen at Ritz-Carlton stay at Ritz-Carlton,’” he said.

Last week it was reported that Special Counsel John Durham is expected to call the former top lawyer for the FBI in a case involving a former attorney for a law firm that counted the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton as clients.

“Prosecutors working with special counsel John Durham’s team indicated they may call former FBI General Counsel James Baker to testify in the case of former Democrat attorney Michael Sussmann, who was indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI,” The Epoch Times reported.

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“During a status hearing Tuesday, Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis and his team said they plan to call Baker, who now works for Twitter, to testify as part of the case against Sussmann,” the outlet continued, citing reporting from Fox News and the Washington Examiner.

Sussman pleaded not guilty last month to charges that he lied to a federal agent.

Earlier, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ordered government prosecutors and Sussman’s defense attorneys to continue in their discovery process, which is likely to last for several more months.

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Thus far, prosecutors have provided some 6,000 documents to Sussman’s defense team, bringing the total to around 80,000, The Epoch Times reported, adding:

Durham’s indictment against Sussmann, who previously worked for high-powered law firm Perkins Coie, is that he made false statements in September 2016 when he told Baker he wasn’t working for a client when he provided claims that alleged the existence of backchannel communications between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. Perkins Coie has long represented the Democrat Party in election-related lawsuits.

The indictment alleges that Sussmann was actually working for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and was charging her team for it as well as a technology executive. Several reports have identified the executive as Rodney Joffee.

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