The FBI offered payment for a lie
The FBI offered payment for corroboration of a lie, to the very person who had run with that lie, all to discredit Donald Trump.
Over the past two days another scandal has struck the FBI, a scandal that relates directly to the Trump Raid. We now learn that the FBI offered a million dollars to the very author of the Trump-Russia Dossier, for “further clarification.” This is wrong on many levels, not least because the FBI is now on record taking a political side.
Latest evidence against the FBI
Reportage on this incident comes from Fox News, Just the News, and the newsletter Red Right Patriot. (Don’t ever expect comparable reportage from any legacy media source, unless you count Fox News as one. Remember that The New York Times reported on Donald J. Trump being a Russian asset as if it were true. And they have never retracted that or admitted their error.)
The latest revelations came at the trial of United States v. Igor Danchenko, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Anthony M. Trenga presiding. Official transcripts will not be available for some time, but a Fox News reporter did attend. The trial opened on Tuesday (October 11), with opening statements and the testimony of Brian Auten, an FBI supervisory counterintelligence analyst. Igor Danchenko is under indictment, and standing trial, on five charges of lying to the FBI. The lies were about whether Donald Trump was regularly acting in Russia’s interest during his 2016 campaign.
Fox reported two key revelations from Auten’s testimony. First, he and several other FBI agents went overseas in October 2021, to talk to Christopher Steele, the ex-MI-6 agent who composed the Dossier that bears his name. Evidently Steele never told them that Danchenko was one of his sources. In that ignorance, the FBI offered Steele a million dollars if he could corroborate further the allegations in the Dossier he himself had written. Steele, perhaps developing “cold feet,” turned the FBI down.
The FBI had no corroboration back when they applied for a FISA warrant
Almost as bad as that, Mr. Auten had to admit the FBI had no corroboration of the Steele Dossier on October 21, 2016. On that date the FBI applied for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Special Prosecutor John Durham questioned Auten on that point:
Q. On October 21, 2016, did you have any information to corroborate that information?
In that same session, Auten admitted that the FBI first received Steele material on September 19, 2016. On that same day, Michael Sussman, who was working for the Clinton campaign at the time, brought his own evidence of back-channel communications between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. Sussman said then that he was not working for any client when he came to the FBI.
Nor did the revelations stop there. Auten said the FBI tried to get corroboration from other alphabet-soup agencies. Results: negative. And still the FBI ran with this, to get a FISA warrant against an opposition campaign aide. (Opposition because a Democratic administration, i.e. the Obama administration, was then in charge.)
What all this means
First, Christopher Steele had a chance to double-dip. He wrote the Dossier that bears his name, from information Danchenko gave him. That the FBI did not know in October of 2021 that Steele had used Danchenko as a source, strains credulity. In any case, if anyone could have fabricated “corroborating” evidence for that Dossier, who better than its original author? So why didn’t Steele take the chance to double-dip? Did he exhaust his imagination when he composed the Dossier to begin with? Or did Danchenko exhaust his imagination, and Steele knew he could never match that level of imagination?
Why imagination? Because the indictment against Danchenko specifically accuses him of making of “facts” and events out of the whole cloth. One can read the indictment here.
From Paragraph 12 of the indictment:
DANCHENKO stated falsely during the Interviews, that, in or about late July 2016, he received an anonymous phone call from an individual who DANCHENKO believed to be a particular U.S. citizen and who was then president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber President-1”). DANCHENKO also falsely stated that, during this phone call,
(I) the person he believed to be Chamber President-1 informed him,in part, about information that the Company Reports later described as demonstrating a well-developed “conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump Campaign and Russian officials, and
(ii) DANCHENKO and the aforementioned person agreed to meet in New York.
In truth and fact, and as DANCHENKO well knew, DANCHENKO never received such a phone call or such information from any person he believed to be Chamber President-1, and DANCHENKO never made any arrangements to meet Chamber President-1 in New York. Rather, DANCHENKO fabricated these facts regarding Chamber President-1.US v. Danchenko, True Bill of Indictment
For “Chamber President-1” read Sergei Millian, President of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce at the time.
Danchenko’s lies formed the basis of the FISA warrant
Again from the indictment:
As alleged in further detail below, all of DANCHENKO’s lies were material to the FBI because, among other reasons,
(1) the FBI’s investigation of the Trump Campaign relied in large part on the Company Reports to obtain FISA warrants on Advisor-1,
(2) the FBI ultimately devoted substantial resources attempting to investigate and corroborate the allegations contained in the Company Reports, including the reliability of DANCHENKO’s sub-sources; and
(3) the Company Reports, as well as information collected for the Reports by DANCHENKO,played a role in the FBI’s investigative decisions and in sworn representations that the FBI made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court throughout the relevant time period.
For “Company Reports,” read the Steele Dossier. For “Advisor-1,” read Carter Page.
The defense insisted that Millian did call Danchenko, on an “untraceable phone app.” Which of several available apps fitting that description Millian could have used, CNAV will not speculate.
The indictment also alleges that Danchenko lied about having “never communicated” with Charles Dolan, former Vice-President of Ketchum Public Relations Worldwide and a known Clinton insider. Mr. Aaron Maté made the identification:
Today the defense disputed that, too. As well they might. All five counts of the indictment relate to Danchenko’s claims that:
He never spoke to Mr. Dolan (Count One says he did), and
Mr. Millian called him repeatedly (Counts Two through Five say Mr. Millian never once did).
Whom is the FBI kidding?
CNAV must issue this disclaimer. The indictment does mention Dolan and Ketchum, though not by name. (This indictment never mentions names, other than that of Danchenko.) But Dolan left Ketchum in 2005, and the indictment alleges no connection between Ketchum and the Steele Dossier.
According to Aaron Maté, Dolan subsequently worked for another PR form, Kglobal. But on November 4, 2021, the day after the indictment, they abruptly deleted his biography.
Why the Wayback Machine never crawled it before the deletion, is impossible to determine.
Beyond that, why did the FBI offer a million dollars to Christopher Steele? How could they possibly have missed that they were going to the very person to whom Danchenko gave his information? Is the FBI really as incompetent as that?
If so, that’s yet another reason to disband the FBI and turn its investigative missions to the Pinkerton Detective Agency or, where appropriate, to other government agencies. But it’s not true, or hasn’t been historically. Far more likely, the FBI was trying, in any way it could, to knock Donald Trump out of the running. They failed in 2016, and then tried all during his administration to concoct evidence of treason. Now they’re trying to cover up; hence the Trump Raid. But they are also trying to stop him from running for President again. They know that, if he returns to office, they’re out of jobs. And some of them might be heading to prison.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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