Judge Narrows Trial of analyst who took Steele dossier allegations about Trump

But the FBI did not open the investigation based on the record, and the final report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III cited nothing as evidence. The FBI cited some allegations from the filing when asking the court for permission to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser with ties to Russia.

The dossier grew out of opposition research funded indirectly by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Their law firm, Perkins Coie, contracted research firm Fusion GPS, which outsourced research into Trump’s business dealings in Russia to a company headed by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence operative. .

Mr. Steele in turn subcontracted to Mr. Danchenko, a Russian-born analyst living in the United States, who approached people he knew, particularly in Europe and Russia. Mr. Danchenko verbally passed what the analyst later called “raw intelligence” — essentially unsubstantiated gossip — to Mr. Steele, who compiled the dossier.

An analyst with the Counterintelligence Bureau determined Mr Danchenko’s identity and the FBI spoke to him for the first time in early 2017, during which he said he had not seen the file until until BuzzFeed publishes it. Its tenor was more conclusive than warranted, he said, and he described the blackmail tape story as mere rumor and speculation.

Mr. Danchenko spoke to the FBI for hours about what he had gathered, and Mr. Durham’s court documents revealed that the bureau officially considered him a confidential human source.

An inspector general’s report in late 2019 found that Mr Danchenko’s interview had raised doubts about the credibility of the case and faulted the office for not telling a court in renewal applications. wiretap who kept quoting him. The report essentially portrayed Mr. Danchenko, whom it did not name, as a truth-teller, and the FBI as a deceiver.

But after further investigation, Mr Durham accused Mr Danchenko of misleading the FBI, including hiding that a PR official with ties to Democrats, Charles Dolan, had been his source for a minor complaint involving office politics in the Trump campaign. This assertion made its way into the file.