On Tuesday, Igor Danchenko was charged with lying about the FBI’s investigation into the Russian collusion hoax. His trial is part of the investigation by John Durham, special counsel, into the origins and operation of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane.
“Crossfire Hurricane” was launched in 2016 to investigate and promote now-debunked claims about former President Trump and elements of his campaign team colluding with Russia in order to win the 2016 presidential election.
New testimony suggests that the FBI spied on Trump’s administration based on uncorroborated claims made by a foreign agent, who, like his sources had alleged connections with top Democrats.
There is no proof? No problem
Brian Auten, a counterintelligence supervisor at the FBI, was the first witness to be called Tuesday.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley pointed out in his July 25, 2022 letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, that Auten was named by an FBI whistleblower as having been part of an FBI campaign to “discredit negative Hunter Biden info as disinformation” and cause investigative activity to stop.
While the FBI worked in 2020 to help bury “derogatory info linked to Hunter Biden and James Biden and their foreign business relations,” Auten testified Tuesday that the FBI was still trying in October 2021 to support discredit allegations directed at Trump.
Auten claimed that he met with Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer. He offered $1 million to Steele if he could confirm the allegations in Steele’s dossier. Auten claims that Steele could not do so.
Steele was initially commissioned by opposition research company Fusion GPS’ Peter Fritsch, and Glenn Simpson, and paid for by both the Clinton campaign (and the Democratic National Committee via Perkins Coie).
Much of the discredited information in the dossier was sourced by Danchenko, who is currently on trial at the Brookings Institution. According to FBI reports, Danchenko lied about his sources.
Although Danchenko claims that Sergei Millian was one of his sources, a former president of the U.S. Russia Chamber of Commerce, Millian denies ever speaking to Steele’s Russian agent.
Durham stated that the majority of the information about the Russian agent came from Charles Dolan Jr., a Clinton acolyte, and Democrat operative.
Dolan worked for both John Kerry and the Clintons. He was also senior vice president for public relations at Ketchum PR, which in 2006 signed a deal with the Kremlin. Dolan was in constant communication with Danchenko, according to 2016.
According to The Daily Mail, Danchenko wrote Dolan in August 2016 about his “project against Trump” and asked about any “rumor, allegation, or thought” regarding Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort.
Spies, lies, and Democrat Ties
Auten claims that Steele’s reports were received by the FBI on September 19, 2016. The FBI stole the report and used it to insinuate Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide, into its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant application (FISA), on October 21, 2016.
Durham asked Auten Tuesday: “On October 21, 2016, did any information exist to confirm that information?”
Auten answered, “No.”
Fox News reported that Michael Sussmann, a former campaign lawyer for Donald Trump, brought white papers to an FBI meeting and met with James Baker, then-FBI general counsel. These papers rumored that there were no ties between Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
Sussmann claimed that he worked for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for 3.3 hours, “for work and communications concerning the confidential project.” Sussmann allegedly claimed to have told the FBI that he wasn’t working for any client but was simply concerned about citizens. The FBI found him not guilty of lying.
Auten claimed that years before he offered $1 million to foreign agents to verify his claims, the FBI sought assistance from other intelligence agencies to support the allegations in Steele’s dossier.
Although the FBI was unable to verify the allegations in Steele’s dossier, even with assistance from other intelligence agencies, it was Steele’s dossier that secured the FBI its FISA warrants against Carter Page. In 2019, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz attested to that fact.
The Justice Department admitted in early 2020 that Page was not likely to be spied upon in at least two of the four warrant applications.
Senator Grassley said at the time that “for years, the American people received false allegations of Russian collusion based upon the FBI’s detective FISA warrants.” The Justice Department began to correct these errors only after the inspector general exposed the failures.
“Time will show if the department will continue to work to fix its mistakes and restore the trust that they won’t disregard American’s civil liberties,” Grassley said.
Although Sussmann was released in May, Durham was convicted in his investigation.
Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer, pleaded guilty to making a false statement. He was sentenced to one-year probation and 400 hours of community service in January 2021. Clinesmith altered Page’s June 15, 2017 email to renew his wiretap.
Clinesmith lied when he was asked by his supervisor if Page ever had been a source of intelligence for the CIA. This would have helped to make sense of the Russian intelligence Page had sent to the American agency.
Clinesmith was expelled from the Russia probe, despite claiming that his politically expedient lie wasn’t politically motivated. However, his partisan messages were discovered. Clinesmith had written to another FBI agent about the 2016 election results, saying “The crazies won”. This is the Tea Party on steroids. The GOP will be defeated.”
Clinesmith also wrote, “Viva la resistance.”
Trump stated that Clinesmith was guilty of spying on his campaign and was therefore guilty. It should never have happened. It is a horrible thing.”
Carter Page was not charged with any crime.