• Fri. Sep 23rd, 2022

Durham’s latest ‘Russiagate’ bombs: FBI informant Danchenko made up key parts of Steele dossier

ByRandall B. Phelps

Sep 19, 2022

Russian-born Igor Danchenko invented the sources for two of the most sensational claims in the Steele dossier – that President Donald Trump once saw prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and engaged in a ” well-developed conspiracy” with the Kremlin.

The FBI could have ended Mr Danchenko’s career in Washington in 2010 after learning he wanted to buy classified information from Obama aides and pass it to Russia, but the agency botched the investigation .

When the dossier was leaked in January 2017, these two allegations caused the media to label Mr. Trump a voter cheat and a traitor.

Days later, Democrats at a House intelligence hearing tried to get witnesses such as FBI Director James Comey to testify that Russian intelligence services routinely orchestrate sex in the bedrooms of hotel in Moscow for the purpose of blackmail.

On September 13, a new filing from prosecutor John Durham said Mr Danchenko had no source for the allegations which he had passed on to his London client, file author Christopher Steele. It was funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party.

We also learned that Mr. Danchenko had coached a former client on how to fabricate sources in intelligence reports, advising that client to capitalize sources–––which Mr. Steele did in the next file from 2016.

Mr. Danchenko has pleaded not guilty to five charges of lying to the FBI.

Mr Durham’s legal file reveals how the upper echelon of the FBI kept Mr Trump under investigation for years while agents used the hoax dossier to prosecute him.

Mr Danchenko was on the FBI payroll as a Confidential Human Source (CHS) in March 2017 after a session of lying to agents, Mr Durham now reveals. Hiring explains why he sat down with them for repeated interviews.

What is not explained is why the FBI kept him on the payroll until October 2020 during the Trump presidency, and we don’t know what Mr. Danchenko said, once suspected by the United States to be a Russian agent.

But Mr. Durham provides more nuggets. While Mr. Danchenko was working at the liberal Brookings Institution in 2008, he approached two colleagues. He asked if they would provide classified information for money after appointments in the new Obama administration.

A Brookings employee turned himself in to the FBI, who launched a counterintelligence investigation and discovered that Mr. Danchenko had made contact with the Russian embassy and intelligence services.

The FBI, however, closed the investigation after mistakenly believing he had left the country.

It’s also inexplicable why the FBI would continue to pay the case’s top source as Democratic-funded claims crumbled before the bureau fired him.

What Mr. Durham presents in his evidentiary record for a trial due to begin next month is that Mr. Danchenko fabricated his sources when he spoke to the FBI and Mr. Steele.

Mr Danchenko said the assessment of the “well-developed plot” came from a phone call with a source he believed to be Sergei Millian. Mr Millian is a Belarusian-born US citizen who ran an organization called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.

Durham’s brief to the U.S. District Court in Alexandria says Mr. Danchenko never spoke to Mr. Millian and that Mr. Millian never provided any information about the case.

At one point, Mr. Danchenko told the FBI that he spoke in July for an item in the dossier that appeared in June 2016.

With this sentence, Mr. Durham implies that Mr. Danchenko fabricated his contributions to the record accepted by Mr. Steele:

“Flatly speaking, these facts demonstrate that the defendant could not keep his lies straight and engaged in a concerted effort to deceive the FBI as to the origin (or lack of origin) of the Steele reports,” says Durham.

For the Ritz Carlton fiction, according to the filing, Mr. Danchenko attributed the story to a source that matches the description of Bernd Kuhlen, the hotel manager.

But Mr. Kuhlen, listed as a prosecution witness, says he never spoke to Mr. Danchenko or heard Trump’s story.

That brings us to Charles Dolan, a Hillary Clinton-linked PR entrepreneur who worked for the Kremlin and mixed with hotel staff during a visit to Moscow in June.

Mr. Dolan became a source for Mr. Danchenko whom he used to network for foreign clients. Mr. Dolan told prosecutors that he had lunch with Mr. Kuhlen at the Ritz and that staff showed him the presidential suite at the hotel where Mr. Trump allegedly stayed. But Mr. Dolan says Mr. Trump was not mentioned and he will testify to that.

The Moscow story appeared in Mr. Steele’s first memo dated June 20, 2016, the month Mr. Dolan and Mr. Danchenko were in Moscow. Mr. Kuhlen, the hotel manager, is “Source E,” Durham’s filing says.

Mr. Danchenko told the FBI in May 2017 that “Source D” “may refer to Sergei Millian.”

Mr Durham said: ‘In short, the government intends to prove at trial that the defendant falsely sought to attribute the Ritz Carlton allegations to Mr Kuhlen.’

To show Mr. Danchenko’s pattern of devious behavior, Mr. Durham reproduced an email he sent in February 2016 to another client, Sidar Global, asking him to review an intelligence report from company.

Mr. Danchenko sent an e-mail:

“Focus on sources. Make them bold or UPPERCASE [sic]. The more sources, the better. If you run out of it, use yourself as a source (“Istanbul-Washington-based businessman” or whatever) to save the day and make it a little better.

As for Mr. Millian, he left the United States in March 2017 after inaccurate news reports said he was Mr. Steele’s source, which Mr. Danchenko told Mr. Steele. Mr. Millian has always denied this–––a claim confirmed by Mr. Durham.

Mr Durham has been trying for months to convince Mr Millian to return to the US to give evidence, but he refused, fearing his family could be harmed and arrested by the FBI.

“The government has repeatedly informed Millian that they will make every effort to ensure his safety,” Mr Durham wrote. “Millian’s attorney would not accept service of a subpoena and advised that he did not know Millian’s address in order to effect service overseas.”

Rowan Scarborough is a Washington Times columnist.