A new report issued by Special Counsel John Durham has revealed some bombshell pieces of information, including that the FBI offered to pay Christopher Steele – who penned the infamous “Steele Dossier” – as much as $1 million for any evidence that would link Russia and Donald Trump together.
The report further pointed out that the FBI paid the primary subsource that Steele had hundreds of thousands of dollars, even though the source wasn’t able to provide any evidence to back up the claims he was making.
In October of 2016, Brian Auten, an FBI agent, met with Steele in Rome to make him that offer, even though he knew that the dossier he was putting together relied almost exclusively on a “subsource,” or just one person.
The FBI then gave $220,000 to Igor Danchenko, who was that “subsource,” even after he couldn’t provide evidence for even one of the claims that he was making.
Durham’s report also showed that the FBI had a lot of legitimate evidence that Danchenko was directly tied to intelligence sources in Russia himself. In 2011, the bureau closed a counterintelligence investigation it was doing into Danchenko, but only because some of the agents involved mistakenly thought that he left the country.
Between 2009 and 2011, Danchenko was under investigation by the FBI because they believed he was potentially a spy for Russia.
The investigation began after one of his colleagues at where he worked at the time, the Brookings Institution, said that Danchenko raised an idea that he be paid to provide classified information if that colleague decided to join former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Another employee at the Brookings Institute testified to the FBI that he thought Danchenko was “connected to Russian intelligence.”
The FBI initiated a full investigation into Danchenko once they realized he was a known associate of two other people suspected of espionage. He also had contacts with people who were known to be in the intelligence offices in Russia, and also that he said at one point he wanted to join diplomatic services in Russia.
Five years after the investigation into Danchenko was ended by the FBI, the bureau tried to make him the central piece of its investigation into Trump being connected to Russia in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Even though all of this information was available on a ready basis for any agent at the FBI at the time, they still decided that, in Trump’s first week as president, they gave Danchenko immunity and then interviewed him for three days.
The Durham report points out:
“Danchenko was not able to provide any corroborative evidence related to any substantive allegation contained in the Steele Reports – and critically – was unable to corroborate any of the FBI’s assertions contained in the Carter Page FISA applications. Nevertheless, following the January 2017 interviews, Crossfire Hurricane leadership reached out to WFO to begin the recruitment of Danchenko” as a source who was paid.