The key source of information used to compile a salacious 2016 dossier on former President Donald Trump has been arrested and charged with lying to the FBI as part of special counsel John Durham’s long-running inquiry into the Russia investigation.
Igor Danchenko, 43, an associate of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, was taken into custody in northern Virginia and is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday afternoon, a Durham spokesman said Thursday.
An indictment charges the former Russian citizen with five counts of making false statements to investigators regarding sources of information he provided to Steele. That information was later included in the dossier that was turned over to the FBI.
In one instance, according to federal prosecutors, Danchenko falsely claimed he obtained information from an anonymous caller who indicated that there were “communications ongoing between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and that the caller had indicated the Kremlin might be of help in getting Trump elected.”
Trump has long seized on the unverified dossier, authored by Steele, as part of a political attack to undermine his 2016 campaign and his presidency.
The dossier, first published by BuzzFeed just before Trump’s 2017 inauguration, suggested in part that Russia had obtained compromising information as part of a Kremlin effort to co-opt Trump.
Its explosive contents became part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and were used to help support a surveillance request for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In September, Durham, who has been examining abuses during the Russia investigation, secured an indictment against a Washington attorney accused of lying to the FBI.
The charge against Michael Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity attorney whose firm is closely tied with Democratic Party interests, is linked to a 2016 contact with the FBI when he raised concerns about a secret channel of communications between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization.
Prosecutors claim that Sussmann had requested the Sept. 19, 2016, meeting with then-FBI general counsel James Baker to provide “data files” and other evidence of the covert communications link involving the Moscow-based Alfa Bank and did not disclose that he was acting as an advocate for other interested parties.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.