Danchenko trial, day 1: FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million to prove his allegations

by WorldTribune Staff, October 12, 2022

A witness at the trial of Igor Danchenko testified on Tuesday that the FBI, then under the direction of James Comey, offered Christopher Steele $1 million in October 2016 to “prove the allegations” in the Trump-Russia dossier that Steele authored.

He couldn’t.

Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele

As the prosecution opened its case against Danchenko on Tuesday, ​​Special Counsel John Durham questioned his first witness, FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten.

Auten testified that, in early October 2016, the FBI offered Steele “up to $1 million” to provide corroborating evidence for his dossier, but the former British spy didn’t provide any such information to the bureau and did not get the reward.

An application the FBI submitted to a FISA court on Oct. 21, 2016 for a warrant to initiate electronic surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page included uncorroborated information from the dossier. Auten testified that before the FBI received the dossier it didn’t have enough evidence to obtain a FISA warrant.

The special master currently reviewing records seized by the FBI in its unprecedented raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, Judge Raymond Dearie, who at the time sat on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, signed off on the final warrant to surveil Page.

Auten also testified that the FBI contacted other intelligence agencies regarding the specific allegations in the Steele dossier, but none were able to corroborate them.

Durham asked Auten: “On October 21, 2016 did you have any information to corroborate that information?”

“No,” Auten replied.

Danchenko, the primary source for the Steele dossier, is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI.

Trump White House intelligence adviser and former House Intelligence Committee investigator Kash Patel said Auten’s testimony proves the FBI knew it would not be able to verify the Trump-Russia collusion narrative and misled Congress.

“That means somebody obstructed a congressional investigation with congressional subpoenas,” Patel told Just the News.

This exposes “the depths that [the FBI] would go to to falsely corroborate the Steele dossier, which … shows they didn’t have it verified, which we’ve said the whole time,” Patel added. “And more importantly, they were willing to spend a million taxpayer dollars on shoveling political hot garbage through the federal court system just to surveil a political target that would have been totally baseless — it was baseless then.”

Referring to a group of senior FBI leaders during the Comey era as “government gangsters,” Patel said “this bombshell” shows that they “were so arrogant, that they said, ‘Nobody is going to catch us. We are going to break a constitutional republic’s 250-year tradition because we don’t like the guy in the White House, and we’re going to manufacture a crime on it.’ ”

Retired FBI supervisory special agent Bassem Youssef, one of the bureau’s most famous whistleblowers, said Tuesday’s revelation at the trial was unlike anything he ever saw in his three-decade FBI career.

“Never in my entire career have I heard of such an offer to pay a source to corroborate their own information,” Youssef told Just the News. “The FBI queries other sources in order to validate the original source of information. It is unheard of that the FBI would offer to pay Steele $1 million to corroborate his own information.

“Obviously, the FBI was unable to validate this information through any other source that they had to resort to ‘bribing’ Steele to lend credibility to his own information, which the FBI knew to be inaccurate and unreliable,” he added. “What a sad state of affairs in my beloved FBI.”

One of the reporters who first debunked the dossier, Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times, noted in a Facebook post on Monday:

“With dossier source Igor Danchenko’s trial starting tomorrow, I used the wayback button to my first story questioning Christopher Steele’s curation. The 35-pages of false claims were being used by Democrats and FBI to bring down Donald Trump.

“I wrote my first anti-dossier story in March 2017 after watching Democrats vouch for it at a hearing and give it credit for stuff you could find on the Internet. In fact, the CIA had dubbed the dossier “Internet rumor” I would later obtain a sealed affidavit by Steele in which he acknowledged he did not confirm allegations such as there was an extensive Trump-Kremlin conspiracy and Michael Cohen secretly went to Prague. Neither happened. I would write more dossier put-downs in ’17, ’18, and even to this day.”

(Scarborough’s March 21, 2017 report can be read here.)

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