Special Counsel John Durham was dealt a setback last week after a federal judge threw out one of the charges he had brought against Russian national Igor Danchenko.
Danchenko was accused of lying about talking with long-time Clinton ally
According to the Washington Examiner, Danchenko stands accused of lying to the FBI about sources used to compile the Steele dossier.
Compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, the dossier is a piece of since discredited opposition research against Donald Trump which was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Durham indicted Danchenko late last year, alleging that the Russian citizen lied when he claimed to “never communicated with” Charles Dolan concerning “any allegations” found in the dossier.
However, Danchenko’s indictment asserted that “in truth and in fact, and as Danchenko well knew, Danchenko sourced one or more specific allegations” to Dolan.
The New York Post noted in a piece last November that Dolan is a long-time Clinton ally who “cut his teeth in the rough-and-tumble world of Bay State Democratic politics before moving to Washington to work on Capitol Hill as a legislative director.”
The indictment pointed to an interview that Danchenko had with FBI handler Kevin Helson during which he was specifically asked about communication with Dolan.
“But you had never talked to [Dolan] about anything that showed up in the dossier right?” Helson was quoted as asking Danchenko.
When Danchenko said he had not, Helson asked if he was certain, saying, “You don’t think so?” Danchenko replied, “No. We talked about, you know, related issues perhaps but no, no, no, nothing specific.”
The judge agrees that Danchenko’s words were “literally” true
Danchenko’s attorneys argued in court that their client’s words were “literally” true as he had only communicated with Dolan via writing and thus he had not actually “talked” with Dolan.
On Friday U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga said he agreed with that argument, stating, “That the FBI wanted to obtain as much information as possible doesn’t change the meaning of the words used.”
“Here the government has not presented any evidence that Mr. Danchenko understood the word ‘talk’ to mean more than the standard accepted meaning.”