Analyst arrested with lying to FBI about Christopher Steele’s Trump-Russia dossier in Durham probe

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NBC’s Tom Winter joins Shep Smith to report on the arrest of an analyst for the Steele Dossier, who was arrested for lying to the FBI. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

A Russia analyst who contributed key research to the so-called Steele dossier that detailed alleged ties between ex-President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 election was arrested Thursday as part of a probe by special counsel John Durham.

Igor Danchenko, the analyst, was charged in a grand jury indictment with five counts of making false statements to FBI agents during several interviews with agents in 2017 about his work providing information to former British spy Christopher Steele for the dossier.

Steele’s controversial dossier on Trump became the basis for the application of an FBI warrant to tap the phone of former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page a month before Election Day in 2016

Steele’s inquiry was funded by the firm Fusion GPS, which itself had been hired by the Democratic National Committee to conduct opposition research on the then-Republican candidate Trump.

Danchenko, 43, is the third person criminally charged in Durham’s investigation, which is focused on the origins of the federal probe into the Trump campaign’s suspected coordination with Russian agents to influence the outcome of the 2016 race for the White House.

The Department of Justice said that Danchenko, a Russian national who lives in Virginia, was taken into custody Thursday morning. He later appeared in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where he reportedly was released on a $100,000 bond.

The indictment charges that Danchenko lied when he told FBI agents he had never communicated with a public relations executive who was active in Democratic politics about allegations in Steele’s reports, when in fact Danchenko had sourced at least one of those allegations to the executive.

That public relations executive is not identified by name in the indictment, but a lawyer for him confirmed to CNBC that he is Charles Dolan Jr., who most recently has worked at KGlobal in Washington. Dolan has worked on issues related to Russia.

Dolan also served as state chairman of the Virginia presidential campaigns of President Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and is a former executive director of the Democratic Governors’ Association. An online biography shows he also was on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy at the State Department.

“Chuck understands and appreciates your interest,” Dolan’s lawyer Ralph Martin told CNBC. “I can confirm that he is PR Executive-1 in the indictment. As he is a witness in an ongoing case, it would not be appropriate for Chuck to comment further on the allegations in the indictment at this time.”

Danchenko also is accused of falsely telling agents that he received an anonymous phone call in July 2016 from a person he believed to be the then-president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce about information that later was described by Steele as a “conspiracy of cooperation” between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

“The information purportedly conveyed by the anonymous caller included the allegation 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,” Durham’s office said in a press release.

The indictment says that Danchenko “never received such a phone call or such information” from that person and that he never arranged to meet that person in New York, as he has claimed to FBI agents.

The indictment charges that Danchenko’s lies had a major impact on the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

It notes that the FBI’s applications for warrants related to Page heavily relied on Steele’s reports to Fusion GPS, which were based on information Danchenko had collected.

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