New documents give more information on Steele Dossier source

The arrest of Igor Danchenko stems from a broad investigation led by special counsel John Durham into the origins of the FBI’s probe of Mr. Trump’s alleged links to the Kremlin. The New York Times was first to report Danchenko was taken into custody. It’s unknown what Danchenko is charged with.

Danchenko, employed by Steele, was the primary researcher for what came to be known as the Steele dossier, according to the New York Times. The document was a collection of opposition research notes that contained unproven claims about Mr. Trump and his 2016 campaign, some of which have since been shown to be false. The dossier came under scrutiny after some of the accusations contained in it were cited by FBI investigators in an application to secure a warrants to surveil a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

Steele was hired around June 2016 by a Washington-based investigative firm, Fusion GPS, to examine possible personal or business ties between Mr. Trump, who was then a Republican running for president, and Russia, as well as any links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Fusion GPS, in turn, was retained by a law firm representing the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie.

Durham, the former top federal prosecutor in Connecticut, was selected by former Attorney General William Barr in May 2019 to scrutinize the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” Barr then appointed Durham as special counsel in late 2020.

His probe transitioned into a criminal investigation in the fall of 2019 and, before Danchenko’s arrest, led to to two criminal prosecutions: former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty to a single count of making a false statement, and former Perkins Coie attorney Michael Sussman, for making a false statement to the FBI.

Sussman was accused in September of requesting a meeting with the FBI in September 2016 to provide information that allegedly showed covert communications between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank, Alfa Bank. The Justice Department alleged Sussman lied about who he was working for when he brought the information to federal authorities, claiming he was doing so as a concerned citizen, when the information was assembled on behalf of his clients, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and a tech executive. Sussman pleaded not guilty.

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