At this week’s trial, Igor Danchenko is the only named defendant and is accused of lying as an informant during the now-discredited Russia collusion inquiry. But Special Counsel John Durham has transformed the Russian researcher’s trial in the United States District courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, into an expose of astonishing FBI mistakes and omissions in its now-famous pursuit of Donald Trump for crimes that turned out to be nonexistent.
Durham has used his third and presumably final trial to drop bombshell after bombshell that other investigations failed to uncover, despite the fact that the Hillary Clinton-instigated Russian collusion narrative has been the focus of half a dozen in-depth investigations in the House, Senate, and Justice Department. Even those most familiar with the situation have been taken aback.
The initiative started during the pretrial motions.
Danchenko, the main informant for the now discredited Steele dossier, had a history of lying to FBI officers and unsettling connections to Russian intelligence. Durham, however, disclosed that the agency had strangely hired him as a paid confidential human source for three years despite his criminal history.
In a stunning move on the first day of the trial, Durham persuaded FBI senior analyst Brian Auten to admit that, despite the FBI’s inability to verify even one fact in the Steele dossier by mid-October 2016, it still took some of the most sensational claims it contained about Trump and inserted them into a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant that was marked “verified” and allowed for the surveillance of the Trump campaign and former adviser Carter Page.
“On October 21, 2016, did you have any information to corroborate that information?” In reference to the Carter Page FISA application that was submitted on that day, Durham questioned.
“No,” Auten answered.
The bureau offered former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele, a hired researcher for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, up to $1 million if he could confirm his dossier because it was so frantic to uncover evidence to support Steele’s claims. Auten informed the jury that Steele didn’t.
Even Devin Nunes, the first thorough investigation that disproved the dossier and revealed FBI malfeasance, who served as the previous chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was astonished by that revelation. Despite subpoenaing the FBI, Nunes claimed to Just the News on Thursday that he was never informed of the $1 million payment.
Nunes said of Durham’s work,”I hate to say this, but like a new shoe drops every day,” Nunes told the John Solomon Reports podcast in referring to Durham’s work. “And it’s like every day we find out something new. And I mean, look, I don’t know how you describe this $1 million payment or potential payment to Steele as anything other than what it is. It was a bounty program to get Donald Trump.”
The $1 million dangle was absolutely out of the ordinary for the bureau, according to Kevin Brock, a retired FBI chief of intelligence, who spoke to Just the News.
“The Crossfire Hurricane investigative team, managed by James Comey’s headquarters executives, offered a truly outrageous sum of money to Christopher Steele as an ‘incentive’ to corroborate his own information,” Brock said. “Paying money to incentivize a source risks a corrupt outcome. Paying a lot of money risks a lot of corruption. Incentive payments are not normal FBI policy.
“The FBI has specific required procedures for corroborating or vetting a source, especially when that source’s information is going to be used in any kind of affidavit. Having a source corroborate his own information is not one of those procedures. That’s the job of the investigator.”
Brock said that under the bureau’s own guidelines, Auten’s admission that the bureau provided the FISA court with uncorroborated evidence was even more damaging.
“If uncorroborated information is going to be used like this, FBI policy explicitly requires the swearing agent to clearly state that it is not known if the information is accurate or not,” he said. “This wasn’t done, and it can’t be considered a mere oversight. Too many eyes all the way up the chain were laid on this affidavit. We’re left with the disappointing conclusion that it was omitted on purpose.”
Even professionals with opposing views, like former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who attempted to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt that its failings in the investigation were errors rather than evidence of corrupt behavior, have been affected by these discoveries. McCarthy stated this week that Durham has now provided “complete proof the FBI framed Trump and protected Hunter Biden.”
This week, he wrote in a New York Post essay, “The trial is highlighting the FBI’s shocking malfeasance in the Trump-Russia ‘collusion’ probe,”
The information about FBI mistakes kept coming out. On the third day of the trial, Durham pressed FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson during a redirect Q&A about using Danchenko as a trusted source.
Durham pointed out that Helson’s claim that there was no negative information about Danchenko, which was untrue given that there had previously been an espionage case against him that had been resolved, was made when he was producing a report to enlist Danchenko as a source.
The FBI agent replied, “No,” when Durham questioned whether Helson had ever amended that report.
On Wednesday, Durham persuaded Auten to admit he had been suggested for suspension due to his part in the FBI’s refusal to fully cooperate with the FISA court during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Durham interrogated Auten about his lack of thorough investigation that is expected of an FBI analyst in a high-profile counterintelligence case.
“While working on Crossfire Hurricane, you were questioned as a witness in the Mueller investigation — you were in the middle of it,” he said. “Did you guys even bother to pull phone records? Travel records? You did none of these things.”
“Any particular reason why experienced FBI personnel could not request phone records?” Durham asked. “Ever run that number down to see phone records?”
Auten claimed he had forgotten.
Durham mocked the FBI at one point for not challenging Danchenko’s unfounded allegations that Russian businessman Sergei Millian was a source of damaging information about Trump with more vigor.
“Millian was a vocal Trump supporter,” Durham noted. “Would you find it peculiar that someone who was an avid Trump supporter would provide negative information about the Trump campaign? That is very peculiar, right? Almost unbelievable, wouldn’t you say?”
Auten mutely concurred.
More on this story via The Just The News:
Durham signaled his intention to treat the FBI team with suspicion in one of his last pretrial motions, declaring that in “any investigation of potential collusion between the Russian Government and a political campaign, it is appropriate and necessary for the FBI to consider whether information it receives via foreign nationals may be a product of Russian intelligence efforts or disinformation.” CONTINUE READING…