WASHINGTON — A Russian analyst who contributed to a dossier of Democratic-funded research into the relationship between Russia and Donald Trump was arrested Thursday on charges of lying to the FBI about sources of information, one of them for a long time. He was a supporter of Hillary Clinton for a long time.
The case against Igor Danchenko is part of special counsel John Durham’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia conspired to tip the outcome of that year’s presidential campaign.
The indictment, the third criminal case brought by Durham and the second in a span of two months, is likely to fuel complaints from Trump allies that well-connected Democrats worked behind the scenes to advance suspicions about Trump and Russia. who contributed to the election of the FBI. – Year check.
The case does not undermine investigators’ conclusions that the Kremlin assisted the Trump campaign — findings that were not based on the dossier, which was barely mentioned in the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But the indictment supports a long-standing concern about the Russia investigation: that opposition research relied on the FBI as it surveyed that a Trump campaign adviser had been killed by unsupported, unconfirmed claims.
The five-count indictment accused Danchenko of making multiple false statements to the FBI when interviewed in 2017 about his role in gathering information for Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose ties between the Trump campaign and Russia The research was funded by Democrats.
Danchenko, a US-based Russian who specialized in Russian and Eurasian affairs as an analyst at the Brookings Institution, was an important source for Steel as Steele compiled the dossier of his research. That dossier, the target of intense ridicule from Trump, was eventually provided to the FBI and used by federal officials as they applied to target Trump campaign aide Carter Page and obtained surveillance warrants.
According to the indictment, Danchenko repeatedly lied to the FBI about the sources of his information. Prosecutors say the fraud matters because the FBI “dedicated substantial resources to investigating and substantiating the allegations in the dossier” and relied “in large part” on that research in obtaining surveillance warrants.
Danchenko’s lawyer did not immediately comment.
The indictment says Danchenko misled the FBI by denying that he had discussed any of the allegations in the dossier with his liaison, a public relations executive and longtime Democratic operative who worked for Clinton’s campaign. Was Trump’s 2016 rival.
In fact, the indictment says, Danchenko made one or more allegations in the dossier anonymously to that Clinton aide. As the FBI works to corroborate the dossier’s allegations, it will be important to know the Democrat’s role in providing the information because it was based on his “credibility, motivation and potential bias as a source,” according to the indictment.
The man is not named in court papers, but his attorney confirmed his identity as Charles Dolan Jr., a former executive director of the Democratic Governors Association who advised Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and for the 2016 campaign. worked voluntarily. The attorney, Ralph Drury Martin, declined to comment further on the ongoing investigation.
The charging documents also mention serious and unsupported sexual allegations involving Trump’s behavior at a Moscow hotel, which were included in the dossier but strongly disputed by Trump, including private conversations with former FBI director James Comey. was also involved.
The indictment says Danchenko told the FBI that he had gathered information about Trump’s activities at the hotel from multiple sources, but himself did not know whether the sexual allegations were true.
According to the indictment, Dolan stayed at the same Moscow hotel in June 2016 and visited the Presidential Suite. A hotel staff member revealed that Trump had stayed there, but Dolan and another unidentified person said the staff member did not mention any sexual or erotic activity.
The indictment states that Dolan for the dossier was “present at the places and events where Danchenko collected information”, Danchenko’s deception about his relationship with Dolan was “highly important to the FBI’s investigation of these cases.” “
The indictment also accused Danchenko of lying to the FBI about a July 2016 phone call he claimed to have received from someone he believed to be the president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. The man, according to the dossier and Danchenko’s account to the FBI, told him of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russia — a claim that prosecutors say will “ultimately reduce surveillance warrant applications.” will do”.
The indictment states that Danchenko fabricated his account and never actually received such a call.
Political allegations have been leveled at both the dossier and the Durham investigation.
Trump’s Justice Department appointed Durham because Trump claimed the investigation into campaign ties with Russia was a witch hunt. Trump pointed to dossiers, much of which the indictment says the FBI was unable to confirm, as evidence of a tainted investigation run by Democrats.
But the dossier had no part in launching the Trump-Russia investigation, although a 2019 Justice Department inspector general report raised important questions about the accuracy of the information and the FBI’s reliance on it. Mueller eventually found suspicious links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but there was not enough evidence to charge him with conspiracy to influence the election. Democrats have called the Durham investigation politically motivated, but the Biden administration has not stopped it.
The indictment is Durham’s third criminal action.
Cybersecurity attorney Michael Sussman was accused of lying to the FBI during a September 2016 conversation in which he relayed concerns about potentially suspicious cyber contacts between Trump Organization servers and Russian bank servers. Durham’s team says he hid from the FBI that he was sharing his concerns as an attorney for the Clinton campaign. He has pleaded not guilty.
Last year, Kevin Klinesmith, a former FBI attorney, admitted to altering an email related to Page’s surveillance and was placed on probation.