Durham Shocker: Steele Dossier Primary Source Was Paid FBI informant
Today, Special Counsel John Durham moved to unseal this motion in limine in the false statements case against Igor Danchenko.
This motion provides new information on the details of Danchenko’s lies to the FBI, further information on how Special Counsel Mueller ignored Danchenko’s false statements, expected testimony from Clinton-connected executive Charles Dolan, and one crazy development.
But we’ll start with the the most damning development: Danchenko [ZH: introduced to Steele in 2010 by none other than Russiagate impeachment witness Fiona Hill] was on the FBI payroll as a confidential human source from March 2017 through October 2020.
For background purposes, here’s our discussion on the Danchenko indictment and what the FBI knew about Danchenko’s Clinton connections. Recall that Danchenko was indicted for multiple false statements given to federal officials during the Trump/Russia investigation. There were a series of interviews, from January 2017 through the fall of 2017. (His interviews took place pre-Mueller and post-Mueller.) He has been charged with:
Falsely stating to FBI agents on June 15, 2017 that he had never “spoken with PR Executive-1” (Dolan) about the dossier allegations.
On March 16, 2017, falsely stating to FBI agents that “he received a late July 2016 telephone call from an individual who Danchenko believed was ‘probably’ [Millian”], when in truth and in fact, and as the defendant well knew, [Millian] never called Danchenko.”
On May 18, 2017, falsely stating to FBI agents that he “‘was under the impression’ that a late July 2016 telephone call he received was from [Millian’]” when in fact Millian never called Danchenko.
Falsely stating to FBI agents on October 24, 2017 that he had spoken to Millian “on the telephone on more than one occasion.”
On November 16, 2017, falsely stating to the FBI that “he had spoken to [Millian] on the telephone” when he knew he never did.
The Motion in Limine
When the Steele Reports were released, the media picked-up on the most salacious rumors, one that was utterly unbelievable: that Russian intelligence had a video of Trump involved with prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Also known as the “pee tape.”
The allegation came from Danchenko, who attributed it to his sources – one from the Ritz-Carlton, and another being Sergei Millian. Durham will refute it, as it expects to call at trial “Bernd Kuhlen,” the then-general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, who will deny speaking with or ever meeting Danchenko “in June 20165, or at any time.”
As to Sergei Millian (more on him later), Durham will show that Danchenko falsely stated to the FBI that this information from Millian “came from a single ten, or fifteen minute anonymous phone call that allegedly took place in late-July 2016.” That timing is of particular importance, as explained by Durham:
Then there are Danchenko’s false statements about Charles Dolan, an influential Democrat executive with ties to the Clintons. Interestingly, it was Dolan who was given a tour of the Ritz-Carlton Presidential Suite, which was the supposed location of “Trump’s alleged lurid sexual activities.”
In fact, Dolan is expected to testify at trial. According to Durham:
the Government anticipates that Mr. Dolan will testify that (1) it was he and Mr. Kupka who attended a lunch with the Ritz-Carlton general manager and other hotel staff during the June 2016 Moscow trip and that [Danchenko] was not present, and (2) neither Donald Trump nor his purported sexual practices were ever discussed at that lunch. Further, the Government also anticipates that Mr. Dolan will testify that Ritz-Carlton hotel staff did, in fact, provide the aforementioned tour of the presidential suite as part of the June 2016 trip and that, again, Donald Trump and his purported sexual practices were not discussed during that tour.
What is Durham’s theory on Danchenko’s motive for lying about the Ritz-Carlton allegations? Because it reflects “a deliberate effort to conceal from the FBI Charles Dolan’s role as a source for the Steele Reports and to deceive the FBI regarding Millian’s role (or lack thereof).”
In support of the theory that Danchenko engaged in an “over-arching ‘plan’ to deceive the FBI” about his work for Orbis (the company who collected the information contained in the Steele Reports), Durham also plans to introduce:
Evidence that Danchenko “on multiple occasions communicated and emailed with, among others, Charles Dolan regarding his work for Steele and Orbis.”
“Evidence that proves Dolan was aware of [Danchenko’s] reporting was part of a ‘related project against Trump’ and that this work was being done on behalf of Steele and Orbis.”
There’s more. Back in February 2016, nearly a year before his FBI interview and months before he started collecting information for Christopher Steele, Danchenko told a former employer how to fabricate sources:
The relevance of that e-mail? Danchenko’s advice to “attach multiple sources to information and obscure one’s own role as a source for information is consistent with [Danchenko’s] alleged false statements in which he denied or fabricated the roles of these individuals.”
The E-Mails and Steele’s Representations to the FBI
Also expected at trial, if allowed by the judge, are e-mails to/from Danchenko where he discusses his unsuccessful efforts to reach Millian.
Additionally, there’s an email where Christopher Steele informed the FBI that Danchenko “had met with Sergei Millian on two or three occasions – at least once in New York and once in Charleston, South Carolina.”
We brought up Mueller back at the introduction, and here’s why. Steele relayed information to the Mueller Special Counsel about the Millian/Danchenko meetings that they knew was false. What did Team Mueller do with that information? They buried it from the FISA Court and from the public. After all, Danchenko was now paid by the FBI.
Sergei Millian Will Not Testify at Trial.
Sergei Millian, a key witness for Durham, will not testify at trial. Millian is currently abroad. He has voiced his concerns for his safety, stating he does not trust the FBI. Can’t really blame him at this point. At this point, Durham can’t compel Millian’s attendance.
Certainly Millian is a key witness. But key doesn’t mean necessarily mean essential. The Danchenko e-mails and inconsistent claims are damning enough, and he can be convicted in Millian’s absence. It hurts – but isn’t fatal to – Durham’s case.
The FBI’s prior counterintelligence investigation of Danchenko.
When reports surfaced of Danchenko’s imminent indictment, we made an educated guess that he would be charged for giving false statements relating to his prior contacts with Russian intelligence.
Tue, 09/13/2022 – 15:40