Durham probe: Analyst charged with lying to FBI about Christopher Steele's Trump-Russia dossier

Igor Danchenko was a Russia analyst who collected material for the Steele dossier. He said that although he believed his sources to be credible, he still took their information with a grain of salt.
According to the Department of Justice, Danchenko was taken into custody on Thursday morning. He is a Russian national living in Virginia. He will appear before a federal court in Virginia on Wednesday afternoon.

The third criminally charged person in Durham's investigation is 43-year-old Danchenko. This probe is focused on the origins and scope of the federal probe into Trump's possible coordination with Russian agents to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Steele's inquiry cost was paid for by Fusion GPS, which had been hired by Democratic National Committee to do opposition research on Trump.

Steele's controversial dossier about Trump was used as the basis for an FBI warrant to tap Carter Page's phone a month before Election Day 2016.

The analyst, Igor Danchenko was indicted by a grand jury on five counts of making false statements before FBI agents during multiple interviews in 2017. These were about his work in providing information to Christopher Steele, a former British spy, for the dossier.

A special counsel John Durham arrested Thursday a key analyst who provided research for the Steele dossier, which detailed the alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia during his 2016 election campaign.

According to the indictment, Danchenko told FBI agents that he never spoke with any public relations executive involved in Democratic politics about Steele's allegations. In fact, Danchenko had actually sourced at most one of those allegations for the executive.

Danchenko is also accused of lying to agents about receiving a phone call from an unknown person in July 2016. This was in relation to information later described by Steele, as a "conspiracy of collaboration" between Trump's campaign officials and Russian officials.

Durham's office released a press release saying that "the information purportedly transmitted by the anonymous caller included allegations that there were ongoing communications between the Trump campaign, Russian officials, and that the caller had indicated that the Kremlin might help in getting Trump elected."

According to the indictment, Danchenko "never received such an information or a phone call" from that person and that he never made arrangements to meet him in New York as he claimed to FBI agents.

The FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign was greatly influenced by the indictment charges against Danchenko.

It also notes that FBI warrant applications for Page related matters heavily relied upon Steele's Fusion GPS reports, which were based upon information Danchenko had gathered.

According to the indictment, the FBI "ultimately wasn't able to confirm and corroborate most substantive allegations."

According to the indictment, Danchenko's lies "deprived FBI agents of probative data" that would have allowed them to verify the reliability of reports they received.

Christopher Schafbuch was a lawyer who represented Danchenko during a 2017 civil case. He would not confirm or deny that Danchenko is his lawyer.

Durham was indicted by Michael Sussman, a Perkins Coie partner. He allegedly lied to the FBI in 2016 when he gave a tip about a possible secret electronic channel between Trump and a Russian bank. Sussman denied the allegation.

Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in January for falsifying a claim used to monitor Page.