Federal authorities have charged a key figure in Christopher Steele’s dossier, the now widely discredited document that alleged collusion by former President Donald Trump with the Russian government. The document was later revealed to have been Democrat-funded opposition research.
On Thursday, federal agents arrested Igor Danchenko as part of a special counsel John Durham’s investigation into “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI investigation of the Trump 2016 campaign and alleged connections to Russian agents.
The New York Times reports that the arrest of Danchenko, who is an analyst, was the primary researcher of the dossier, which compiled rumours and baseless assertions about Trump, which painted him as a compromised figure and a puppet of the Russian government who helped him defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The New York Times describes the dossier as a “compendium of rumours and unproven assertions.”
Danchenko has been charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI, in relation to sources he used to provide information for Steele’s dossier, Durham’s office said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
The publication reported:
The special counsel’s office said Danchenko had been charged “with five counts of making false statements to the FBI” that Durham for claims he made about the sources used in providing information to Steele for his “Company Reports,” which became the dossier. The indictment was returned on Wednesday, and Danchenko is slated to appear before a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Virginia Thursday afternoon.
The indictment says Danchenko made false statements in March, May, June, October, and November of 2017.
“The June 15, 2017, false statement count alleges that Danchenko denied that he had spoken with a particular individual about material information contained in one of the Company Reports when he knew that was untrue,” Durham’s office stated. “The March 16, 2017, May 18, 2017, Oct. 24, 2017, and Nov. 16, 2017, counts involve statements made by Danchenko on those dates to FBI agents regarding information he purportedly had received from an anonymous caller who he believed to be a particular individual, when in truth and in fact he knew that was untrue. The information purportedly conveyed by the anonymous caller included the allegation that there were communications ongoing between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and that the caller had indicated the Kremlin might be of help in getting Trump elected.”
The Steele dossier, which was funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic Party was used by the FBI in the Crossfire Hurricane operation to obtain FISA warrants to investigate communications of Trump official Carter Page.
In December 2019, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the operation found that the FBI had made 17 “significant errors and admissions” in their use of FISA warrants, which were enabled by the Steele dossier, the Daily Wire reported.