In the case against Igor Danchenko, the alleged main source for the debunked Steele dossier, special counsel John Durham requested that a federal court issue 30 subpoenas for unknown witnesses, the Washington Examiner reports.
Charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI, Durham said Danchenko's interviews with the bureau "raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting." Danchenko's trial is scheduled for October and he has pleaded not guilty, according to the Examiner.
Durham's Wednesday court filing requested that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issue "thirty subpoenas" for unnamed witnesses to appear "before said Court at Alexandria, Virginia," beginning Oct. 11.
Nominated to the federal judicial service by President George W. Bush in 2008, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, who is handling the case, has also been a member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court since 2020.
Born in Russia, Washington, D.C.-based lawyer and researcher Danchenko was indicted in November for lying to the FBI.
The Examiner reports that Danchenko allegedly relied on a network of Russian contacts for his information, but undermined important collusion claims when he was interviewed by the bureau.
According to the special counsel's false statements charges, Danchenko allegedly anonymously sourced a false claim about Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to Hillary Clinton ally Chuck Dolan. Dolan did work for the Kremlin and Russian businesses for a number of years, according to the Examiner.
Cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann was charged in September by Durham after he reportedly failed to disclose his clients – Neustar Chief Technology Officer Rodney Joffe and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign – to FBI General Counsel James Baker when he offered allegations of a secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia's Alfa Bank during a meeting in September 2016. He was found not guilty in May.
Known for his discredited dossier on Donald Trump, Christopher Steele was hired by Fusion GPS, which was hired by Perkins Coie law firm and Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign's general counsel. In December 2019, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the Steele dossier played a "central and essential" role in the FBI's effort to obtain wiretap orders against former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Sussmann was also working for Perkins Coie then and he and Elias met with Steele in 2016.
The Examiner reports that while he was working for Fusion GPS, Steele was also working for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During his time as special counsel, Durham has secured one guilty plea from former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who confessed that he falsified a document when the bureau was trying to renew surveillance authority against Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
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