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Sworn testimony in the trial of a Russian operative said to be the primary source behind former British spy Christopher Steele’s “dossier” on then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was laced with a bombshell revelation.
Under questioning from special counsel John Durham in the trial of Igor Danchenko, FBI analyst Brian Auten testified that the bureau offered Steele $1 million if he could provide evidence that the explosive claims against Trump contained in the dossier were true, but the former MI6 spy could not do so, the Daily Wire reported on Tuesday.
Auten testified that he and a group of FBI agents met with Steele in October 2021, years after he presented his dossier to handlers, and offered him the million-dollar stipend if he could provide factual evidence backing up the salacious allegations contained in the dossier, according to Fox News. The offer came years after Director James Comey’s FBI used the dossier to obtain warrants from the FISA court to spy on a member of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“On October 21, 2016, did you have any information to corroborate that information?” special counsel John Durham asked Auten, in reference to the date of the first FISA application filed to put former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page under surveillance. Auten responded: “No,” according to Fox News.
Danchenko has been charged with five counts of lying to the FBI.
The Daily Wire adds:
Auten testified that the FBI offered Steele “up to $1 million” for proof substantiating allegations made in a series of reports to the bureau over the course of several months in 2016. The analyst said Steele never received any money because he could not “prove the allegations,” according to CNN. Steel’s reports were eventually compiled into the dossier first published by BuzzFeed News in January 2017.
Danchenko has pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI. His trial is the last scheduled as part of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax before Durham issues his final report.
“Sept. 19, 2016, was also the day that then-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann brought white papers to a meeting at FBI headquarters with then-FBI General Counsel James Baker that alleged the Trump Organization was using a secret back channel to communicate with Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank in the weeks leading up to the presidential election,” Fox News reported, adding that Sussmann was found not guilty by a DC jury in June of making false statements to the FBI.
“Auten also said the FBI reached out to other intelligence agencies to see if they could corroborate information relating to dossier, which was commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie,” the network’s report continued. “Auten repeatedly admitted under questioning from Durham that the FBI never received corroboration of the information in the Steele dossier, but he stressed that it was used in the initial FISA application and in the three subsequent renewals.”
A subsequent investigation into the entire FBI counterintelligence probe into Trump and his campaign by Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, found that the dossier was the primary source for the investigation. During Trump’s term, majority Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee — then led by California’s Devin Nunes, now serving as CEO of Trump’s budding new media company — were the first to discover that the dossier was used to trigger the investigation into Trump.
Fox News added:
Auten also testified Tuesday that the FBI considered submitting FISA applications against Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos but said the FBI ultimately did not do so.
In March 2016, as an aide to the Trump campaign focusing on foreign policy, Papadopoulos met with Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud in London who told him that the Russians had dirt in the form of emails that could damage Clinton’s presidential campaign. …
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.