Federal authorities arrested Russian analyst Igor Danchenko on Thursday. Danchenko was the “primary researcher behind the Steele Dossier, a collection of unsubstantiated opposition research linking the 2016 Trump campaign to the Kremlin” reports National Review.
Danchenko was hired by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele who put together opposition research against the Trump campaign, paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
According to the indictment, Danchenko is charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI. The Daily Beast reports:
Danchenko lied about the sources of “certain information” he provided to Steele, which was then passed along to the feds. One count alleges that Danchenko denied speaking with “a particular individual” about material that wound up in the dossier “when [Danchenko] knew that was untrue.” Another count stems from statements Danchenko allegedly made 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 anonymous caller claimed 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.”
Danchenko was outed in July 2020 by an anonymous blog as the dossier’s “primary sub source.” Danchenko then denied he was a Russian agent, saying, “even raw intelligence from credible sources, I take it with a grain of salt…Who knows, what if it’s not particularly accurate? Is it just a rumor or is there more to it?” He also insisted he did not know who was funding the dossier and that his work was completely “nonpartisan” in nature.
A review by the DOJ’s Inspector General in 2019 revealed Danchenko was under suspicion for being a Russian agent while he worked for the Brookings Institution 10 years earlier. He denied the accusation, calling it “slander.”
Perkins Coie also employed Clinton’s campaign lawyer and former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann, who has also been indicted for allegedly knowingly lying to the FBI. Sussmann was charged just two months ago for making a false statement to the FBI about the Trump Organization’s use of a secret server to communicate with the Kremlin-connected Russian bank Alfa Bank.
The FBI “ultimately determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.” The Steele dossier began the Russia collusion hoax that claimed Trump “accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.” Just months following the 2016 presidential election, it was determined that Steele and Danchenko’s “research” was either unverified or erroneous.