Igor Danchenko, a Russian analyst who contributed to the so-called Steele dossier, has been arrested as part of the probe by special counsel John Durham. According to the indictment released on Thursday, Danchenko was charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI.
Former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele had hired Danchenko as his primary researcher in compiling his famed dossier. Steele’s dossier broadly alleged that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, but many of the specifics were unconfirmed and some were later debunked.
Danchenko’s arrest comes several months after Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the origins of the FBI’s 2016 Russia probe, secured an indictment of cybersecurity attorney Michael Sussmann, whose firm has represented the Democratic National Committee. Sussman was indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI about not working for anyone when he told the feds about allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
The new indictment alleges that Danchenko made false statements to the FBI in five separate interviews in 2017.
In Count 1, the indictment alleged that Danchenko was not truthful in an interview with the FBI on or about June 15, 2017 when he denied speaking to a person identified as “PR Executive-1” about the material in the dossier. PR Executive-1, who is not named in the indictment, had a long and ongoing involvement in Democratic politics which made their involvement in the dossier highly relevant and material, the indictment alleged.
Counts 2-5 allege that Danchenko lied to the FBI in four separate interviews – on March 16, May 18, Oct. 24 and Nov 16, 2017 – when he claimed to have had communications from ”Chamber President-1.” The indictment doesn’t name ”Chamber President-1,” but the Washington Post identified him as Sergei Millian, who was then the president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
Durham’s probe has long been controversial, seen as Barr’s politically motivated response to the repeated claims by President Donald Trump and his allies that the FBI’s Russia investigation was a politically motivated hit job to sabotage his campaign and his presidency.
Read the indictment below: