New details of the FBI’s shady role in the Russia collusion hoax have emerged as Special Counsel John Durham prosecutes Igor Danchenko, the main source of former spy Christopher Steele’s bogus Trump-Russia dossier.
An FBI official offered the damning testimony that the FBI was willing to pay Steele $1 million to corroborate the dossier, Fox News reported.
“Wanted it to be true”
The FBI’s credibility took a major hit when it was found to have relied on the dossier to spy on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, despite knowing it was unreliable. The dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton and contained wild, salacious claims about a “pee tape” depicting Trump with Russian prostitutes.
Durham accused FBI officials who took the stand this week of failing to rigorously vet Danchenko, whose alleged ties to Russian intelligence had been investigated by the FBI years before the bureau hired him to work as an informant between 2017 and 2020.
FBI witnesses portrayed Danchenko as a trusted partner of the agency, potentially undercutting Durham’s case that Danchenko misled the FBI. Nevertheless, the FBI’s testimony hasn’t been flattering to the bureau.
Danchenko’s handler, Kevin Helson, testified that Danchenko was transparent about the speculative nature of his information and that it bothered Danchenko that Steele portrayed it as more than rumor. Despite being told this, the FBI used Steele’s dossier anyway.
According to Helson, Steele “was really trying to prove it (the dossier), even during that time period, because he wanted it to be true.” But it wasn’t just Steele who felt that way. Apparently, the FBI “wanted it to be true” also, and they were willing to put a price on the truth.
FBI paid Steele $1 million bounty
Counterintelligence analyst Brian Auten testified that the FBI met overseas with Steele in October 2021 with a $1 million offer to back up the dossier, and that he couldn’t. The FBI never corroborated Steele’s claims before using them to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Trump’s campaign, Auten said.
“On October 21, 2016 [the date of the Carter Page FISA application], did you have any information to corroborate that information?” Durham asked.
“No,” Auten said.
The jury also heard from Charles Dolan, a Democrat operative and one of Danchenko’s main sources, who said that he lied about and “embellished” information he passed along to Danchenko.
Since it began in 2019, Durham’s investigation has traced the outlines of a conspiracy between crooked FBI officials, Democrats, and media partisans to smear Trump as a Russian agent and kneecap his presidency. The trial of Danchenko is expected to be the last from Durham’s probe.