WASHINGTON, DC- According to the Epoch Times, special counsel John Durham filed a pre-trial motion on Sept. 13 in the matter of the false statements case against Igor Danchenko, the primary sub-source of disgraced former British spy Christopher Steele, author of the phony dossier which served as the basis for the bogus Crossfire Hurricane probe into former President Donald Trump.
Included in the motion is an allegation that the FBI employed Danchenko in order to conceal fabrication of the Steele dossier.
Danchenko, who is charged in five counts with lying to that FBI about his sources had earlier filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him.
The motion, called a “motion in limine” is an administrative motion which determines which evidence may or may not be used at trial. Danchenko’s trial is scheduled to begin next month.
While such motions are typically considered “routine,” that is not necessarily true in Danchenko’s case. In his motion, Durham reveals “a series of stunning revelations about Danchenko,” the Times noted.
One such disclosure is the revelation that Danchenko received confidential human source (CHS) status by the FBI in March 2017. This was after Danchenko disowned the Steele dossier in a 2017 FBI interview, admitting it was in fact based on “gossip and rumors.”
With that admission, there didn’t appear to be a legitimate reason for granting CHS protections to Danchenko, who lost any value he had to the FBI’s investigation into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The Times noted the FBI investigation should have ceased as soon as Danchenko admitted the source of the dossier was bogus. So why would the FBI continue to give him CHS status? It is believed it was done to take him “off the grid.”
A CHS enjoys special protections and privileges, the Times reported, and allowed the FBI to conceal him and his disclosures from congressional inquiries, such as the one being conducted by then Rep. Devin Nunes led by Kash Patel.
Similarly, FOIA requests could also be blocked by reference to the “sources and methods” tripe used to conceal the identity or even existence of such a CHS.
So why would the FBI want to secret Danchenko? Because basically Danchenko told the FBI the dossier was fake. By so admitting, that (should have) ended any semblance of a “legitimate” probe into the Trump-Russia collusion fairy tale.
His disavowal also meant that the FBI’s FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, issued based on the Steele dossier, were basically rendered invalid.
While the FBI was legally obligated to inform the FISA court about Danchenko’s admission, they failed to do so. Moreover they applied for two additional FISA warrants against Page based on the Steele dossier, which they knew was bogus.
The timing of Danchenko’s being granted CHS status came at the same time as two major developments. The first was on March 20, 2017, when then-FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that the Trump campaign was under investigation for alleged ties to Russia.
Despite already knowing that Danchenko had undermined the predicate of the case, Comey still pressed on.
The second development came in March 2017, when Nunes found out from a whistleblower in the intelligence community that the Trump transition team had been the victim of spying. Nunes protested that Congress had not been provided that information.
Nunes, then serving as head of the House Intelligence Committee, stepped up his investigation into the Trump-Russia affair. That probe resulted in the Nunes memo issued in February 2018, however no mention was made of Danchenko or the fact he had disowned the dossier.
After Danchenko was granted DHS status, he was removed from “the grid” and “any information about him was withheld from Congress under the ‘sources and methods’ justification.”
The move by the FBI to grant Danchenko CHS status worked like a charm for them. Neither Nunes nor anyone else was aware of Danchenko or his disavowal of the Steele dossier until December, 2019.
That was when DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued his scathing rebuke of the FBI’s FISA abuses. However Horowitz failed to mention Danchenko’s name, nor did he provide any substantial information other than the fact Steele had a primary sub-source whose story varied from the one told by Steele.
In July 2020, a number of investigative journalists were able to identify Danchenko by obtaining his name from a number of points contained in the Horowitz report, along with heavily redacted interview notes from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
After Danchenko was outed, the Steele dossier’s credibility…what was left of it…collapsed. While the FBI claimed Danchenko was a “Russia-based source” who had “access to Kremlin insiders,” he was in fact a DC insider who spent a number of years working at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, where never-Trumper Fiona Hill served as his mentor.
Despite all of that Danchenko remained on the FBI payroll until October 2020. That was some nineteen months into Durham’s probe and it isn’t known when exactly Durham discovered his CHS status.
However it is believed that then-AG Bill Barr discovered that Danchenko had been suspected of working for Russian intelligence. While the FBI knew that at least since 2009, it wasn’t until that fact was publicly disclosed by Barr that the FBI’s hand was forced.
The FBI had good reason for making Danchenko a CHS…to hide their incompetence and malfeasance from Congress, as well as the FISA court and moreover from the American people.
According to the Times, that would seem to open up new areas of possible prosecution of FBI officials; some who might want to be retaining lawyers include Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former head of counterespionage Peter Strzok, and Agent Brian Auten, who led the Danchenko case.
Initially, it was believed it was too late to bring charges against the FBI agents who improperly (and illegally) engaged in actions involving Danchenko, since the statute of limitations is five years.
However, since the FBI continued employing Danchenko under false pretenses up until October 2020, that would appear to have extended the time limit. Should he decide to do so, it appears Durham has plenty of time to criminally charge those FBI officials.
In addition to the foregoing, Durham’s motion also looks at the incident mentioned by Barr, where he disclosed that while employed at Brookings, it’s alleged he approached two other employees and told them if they “had access to classified information” and “wanted to make a little extra money,” he knew “some people to whom they could speak.”
When that incident was reported to law enforcement in 2009, the FBI allegedly opened a “full investigation.”
This was based on he “(1) being identified as an associate of two FBI counterintelligence subjects, and (2) had previous contact with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers.”
Not surprisingly, the FBI closed that investigation into Danchenko in 2010, Durham revealed, because it “incorrectly believed” he had left the country. Incompetence or cover-up? You decide.
Still, Durham has yet to charge Danchenko with lying about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers. In a January 2017 interview, he claimed he didn’t know or had ever met with any such officers.
In addition, Durham has not yet charged Danchenko with lying about the so-called “pee pee” tape. The phony dossier claimed the story came from a senior Western employee at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow in June 2016. Durham revealed however that his office has only tracked one Western employee at the time, a German national.
Durham notes that individual will in fact testify at Danchenko’s trial that he had never met him, and never heard about the “pee pee” tape until media reported on it in 2017.
As with the Russian intelligence officers, it is unknown why Durham has yet to Charge Danchenko for lying about his alleged interactions with the German hotel manager. That would seem to be a path worthy of pursuing, especially because the hotel manager has shown a willingness to testify in court.
The manager’s insistence he had never met Danchenko seems to be supported by Charles Dolan, who is connected to the Clintons. Durham has indicated that Dolan will testify at Danchenko’s trial that he and Danchenko were indeed in Moscow in June 2016, however Danchenko did not stay at the Ritz Carlton, nor did he meet with the German hotel manager.
That appears to be something completely fabricated by Danchenko, who attempted to pin it on the German hotel manager.
One of Danchenko’s charges stems from lying about his interactions with Dolan. In seeking his testimony, Durham is apparently hoping to demonstrate Danchenko’s “efforts to fabricate and misattribute information reflected in the Steele Reports.”
Moreover in yet another blockbuster, Durham revealed that in February 2016, mere months before his work on the bogus dossier, Danchenko spoke to the managing partner of a business intelligence firm, coaching him on how to fabricate sources.
Durham said that Danchenko’s advice to the partner was that if there were no sources, one should “use oneself as a source.” He further said in continuing the ruse, one could obscure this fact by citing others “to save the situation.”
Durham hopes that Danchenko’s interactions with the business intelligence partner, while not tied directly to the phony dossier or Danchenko’s lying to the FBI, can be used to demonstrate Danchenko’s “modus operandi in fabricating sources,” the Times wrote.
Durham’s latest filings are certainly damning for Danchenko, but more so for the FBI, which purposefully used the designation of a CHS to “take Danchenko off the grid and bury the fact that he had disavowed the dossier.”
As Hans Mahncke writing for the Epoch Times writes:
“By doing so, FBI leadership deceived Congress, the courts, the DOJ’s inspector general and the public. Worst of all, they did it in order to be able to continue with their efforts to take down then-President Trump.”
He further noted that while “Danchenko’s chances of conviction have risen considerably with these latest revelations, Durham’s filing shows that the real prize is FBI leadership.”
He accurately states that whether or not Danchenko is convicted or not, “it is largely meaningless if FBI leadership isn’t held to account.”
One can only hope, especially given the direction the agency has turned in the past 19 months.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.