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The “primary source” behind the discredited “Steele Dossier” used by the FBI to kick off the so-called ‘Russiagate’ counterintelligence investigation into then-GOP presidential contender Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was a paid asset of the bureau for years.
In court filings on Tuesday, Special Prosecutor John Durham revealed that the source, Igor Danchenko, was a paid “confidential human source in the investigation of” Trump’s campaign, though the FBI “had prior concerns that the businessman was tied to Moscow’s intelligence services,” Just the News’ John Solomon reported.
Durham, in his filing, persuaded the federal judge overseeing the Russian’s proceedings “to unseal a motion revealing that Danchenko, the primary source of the now-discredited Steele dossier, was paid by the FBI as a confidential human source for more than three years until the fall of 2020 when he was terminated for lying to agents.”
The filing discloses the connection between the Russian and the FBI for the first time
“In March 2017, the FBI signed the defendant up as a paid confidential human source of the FBI,” Durham’s unsealed court filing said. “The FBI terminated its source relationship with the defendant in October 2020. As alleged in further detail below, the defendant lied to FBI agents during several of these interviews.”
The ties to the 2016 presidential campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are becoming clearer as well, Solomon notes:
The revelation means that the FBI first fired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, the author of the Hillary Clinton-funded dossier, as a human source in November 2016 for having unauthorized contacts with the news media. And it then turned around a few months later and hired Steele’s primary informer to work with the bureau even after determining some of Danchenko’s statements in the Steele dossier were uncorroborated or exaggerated.
Even more stunning, Durham confirmed that the FBI had concerns about Danchenko’s ties to Russian intelligence a decade earlier, opening up a counterintelligence probe on him after learning he was trying to buy classified information from the Obama administration.
“Beginning in or about July 2016 and continuing through December 2016, the FBI began receiving a series of reports from former British government employee Christopher Steele and his firm, Orbis Business Solutions, that contained derogatory information on then-candidate Trump concerning Trump’s purported ties to Russia,” the filing states.
“Earlier that year, Perkins Coie, a U.S.-based international law firm, acting as counsel to the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign, had retained Fusion GPS, a U.S.-based investigative firm, to conduct research on Trump and his associates,” the filing continued.
“In or about June 2016, Fusion GPS, in turn, retained Steele and Orbis to investigate Trump’s purported ties to Russia. The Steele Reports played an important role in applications that FBI personnel prepared and submitted to obtain warrants pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (‘FISA’) targeting Carter Page, a United States citizen who for a period of time had been an advisor to then-candidate Trump,” it said.
“Over a fairly lengthy period of time, the FBI attempted to investigate, vet, and analyze the Steele Reports but ultimately was not able to confirm or corroborate most of their substantive allegations,” the motion added. “In the context of these efforts, the FBI learned that Christopher Steele relied primarily on a U.S.-based Russian national, the defendant Igor Danchenko (‘Danchenko’ or the ‘defendant’), to collect information that ultimately formed the core allegations found in the Steele Reports.
“From January 2017 through October 2020, and as part of its efforts to determine the truth or falsity of specific information in the Steele Reports, the FBI conducted multiple interviews of the defendant regarding, among other things, the information that he had provided to Steele,” the filing noted further.
Durham’s filing appears to be one of the strongest statements in fact thus far from the government admitting there were ties between the Clinton campaign and the FBI’s counterintel probe into the Trump campaign, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” The investigation involved government surveillance on Trump campaign officials; at least one of the warrants was obtained under false pretenses, with former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith having pleaded guilty in 2020 to falsifying a warrant application.
In addition, Durham’s filing “highlights the dubious nature of the information that the FBI would act upon to target the Trump campaign in its investigation,” Becker News noted.