Special counsel John Durham, assigned to review the misbehavior under the Barack Obama administration that created the now-discredited “Russia collusion” conspiracy theory, has used a subpoena to gather information about a source for the debunked Steele dossier, according to a report.
Durham used a subpoena to get documents about Igor Danchecko from the left-leaning Brookings Institution, which employed him, the Washington Examiner reported.
Former British agent Christopher Steele created his dossier attacking Donald Trump while getting paid by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Allegedly, some of the wild claims, now proven false, came from Danchenko.
People familiar with the investigation said Durham “has keyed in on the FBI’s handling of a notorious dossier of political opposition research both before and after the bureau started using it to obtain court permission to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser,” according to the New York Times.
Danchenko worked at the institution from 2005 to 2010.
The accusations eventually were used by the Obama administration – even though they were known to be false – to support applications by the FBI to spy on the Trump campaign.
This was done by withholding from judges critical information about the statements and witnesses that were used by the Obama administration to pursue its Russia collusion investigation.
The Times report said Durham, several weeks ago, obtained personnel files and other documents concerning Danchenko from Brookings.
“Michael Cavadel, the general counsel at Brookings, said the subpoena was received on New Year’s Eve and the think tank took until February to produce the documents to Durham in part because of coronavirus-related delays. Cavadel told the New York Times that ‘Brookings provided the responsive documents, none of which contained information associated with the reports known as the Steele dossier,'” the Examiner said.
The report also noted Durham was seeking answers “that suggested a focus on skepticism about how the FBI approached issues that might have undermined the dossier’s credibility.”
Further, he wondered why the FBI did not tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Danchenko was “the subject of a counterintelligence investigation,” information that would have impacted the credibility of the FBI’s application to spy on the Trump campaign.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the Department of Justice, concluded the fake Steele dossier was a “central and essential” part of the Russia-collusion probe.
Further, Horowitz cited at least 17 “errors and omissions” by the FBI in its effort obtain the spy warrants.
William Barr, attorney general under President Trump, unsealed documents that show Danchenko had been investigated by the FBI as a potential “threat” to national security, before he served as Steele’s informant. Barr also bluntly told a congressional committee that the intel agencies had, in fact, spied on the Trump campaign.
The Examiner reported that as least three employees at Brookings had some connection with spreading the information contained in the dossier.
Steele had written to Strobe Talbott, then president of Brookings, about what to do with the dossier, which Steele earlier had delivered to Talbot.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported Trump several times has questioned Durham’s investigation.
“Where’s Durham? Is he a living, breathing human being? Will there ever be a Durham report?” Trump asked in a statement March 26.
The Daily Caller noted that the FBI did not reveal to the FISA court that investigators failed to verify Steele’s claims or that Danchenko’s statements conflicted with Steele’s.
Special counsel Robert Mueller spent more than two years of Trump’s term investigating the president and concluded there was insufficient evidence to back the Russia-collusion claim.
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