Main Steele Dossier Source Pleads Not Guilty to Lying to FBI
Igor Danchenko, a primary contributor to the Steele dossier on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five counts of making false statements to the FBI.
The Russian national was charged as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s probe of the Trump-Russia investigation; he is accused of lying to the FBI regarding his sources for some claims in the Steele dossier. The charges focus on statements Danchenko made related to the sources he used in providing information to an investigative firm in the United Kingdom.
Danchenko entered the plea before Judge Anthony John Trenga in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The judge ordered that he remain free on bond and set a preliminary trial date of April 18, 2022, according to Fox News.
Danchenko is accused of having made false statements regarding the sources of some information that he provided to a U.K. investigative firm in 2017 that was later passed to the FBI.
He allegedly denied that he had spoken with a particular individual about material information contained in one of the “Company Reports,” knowing that was untrue, on June 15, 2017.
Four other counts involve statements made to FBI agents on March 16, 2017, May 18, 2017, October 24, 2017 and November 16, 2017 about 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,” Durham’s office said.
“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,” Durham’s office said in a statement.
The allegation that Trump colluded with Russia and “accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals,” stemmed from the dossier by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. After the 2016 election, the dossier was found to have included a number of unverified or erroneous claims and Steele was accused of peddling the Russian election interference hoax to undermine Trump’s campaign with his dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign through its law firm Perkins Coie.
During an interview with the FBI, Danchenko suggested that even he was skeptical of some of the contents included in the dossier.
“Even raw intelligence from credible sources, I take it with a grain of salt,” Danchenko said. “Who knows, what if it’s not particularly accurate? Is it just a rumor or is there more to it?”
However, the FBI reportedly did not share Danchenko’s concerns with the Justice Department. The DOJ inspector general found in 2019 that the FBI had relied on information from the dossier despite Danchenko casting doubt on its contents.
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Published at Wed, 10 Nov 2021 15:17:23 +0000