A stunning development has recently emerged in the Durham probe, as federal authorities have recently arrested one of the key figures in compiling the Steele dossier. The dossier, which suggested that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government, has now been widely discredited since it was primarily based on rumors and allegations.
Igor Danchenko, a U.S.-based Russian analyst, was the “primary researcher” on the dossier, according to the New York Times. However, Danchenko was recently arrested on Thursday, including for five counts of lying according to the FBI.
The recent arrest emerged in response to special counsel Josh Durham’s probe regarding the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. Trump had appointed Durham to be special counsel in the past year by the Trump administration, which would enable Durham to continue investigating into the “Crossfire Hurricane” probe without any major interference from Joe Biden.
In a recently unsealed document, the office of Durham argues that Danchenko made several false statements to the FBI in 2017, including false statements to federal investigators regarding discussions he allegedly had with “sub-sources.”
Danchenko allegedly made false statements while the FBI was conducting interviews with him regarding his role in collecting information for Christopher Steele, an ex-British spy. Steele had been paid handsomely by the Democrats in order to investigate potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Axios also reported that a portion of the “false information” originating from Danchenko and present in the Steele dossier had been “used to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.”
Moreover, the Associated Press also notes that Danchenko had “misled the FBI by denying a relationship with a … longtime Democratic operative and supporter of Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.”
Moreover, Danchenko also stands “accused of fabricating details of a phone conversation” regarding the supposed collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
Michael Horowitz, who serves as the Department of Justice Inspector General, also released a report in December 2019, which revealed that Steele’s dossier had been a “central and essential” factor in the FBI ultimately obtaining a FISA order for wiretapping Cater Page, a former Trump campaign advisor.
Horowitz has subsequently criticized the FBI for making at least 17 “significant errors” in the procedures that ostensibly guide the process to obtaining a FISA warrant.
The recent arrest of Danchenko represents the third major action brought about by the Durham probe.
Cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann was arrested in September for making false statements in a 2016 meeting. In addition, FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was also arrested for document falsification, which in turn was used to acquire a surveillance warrant against Page.
In August 2020, Clinesmith pled guilty to the charge.