In a stunning move late Friday, The Washington Post corrected earlier reporting that relied on the discredited Steele dossier, removing large portions from the articles about former President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
The corrections come after special counsel John Durham this month indicted Igor Danchenko, one of the key subsources for British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, a collection of unverified and salacious claims that the Russian government had compromising information about Mr. Trump.
Mr. Danchenko had claimed businessman Sergei Millian was a source for the most outlandish allegations in the dossier. But Mr. Durham says Mr. Danchenko fabricated his conversations with Mr. Millian and that they never happened.
The indictment suggests that Mr. Danchenko instead got the information from Charles Dolan, a Democratic political operative with longtime ties to the Clintons.
Mr. Danchenko last week pleaded not guilty to five charges of lying to the FBI.
In response, the Post removed large swaths of two articles published in March 2017 and February 2019 that identified Mr. Millian as a key source for the Steele dossier, the paper announced.
The Post amended both reports by adding editor’s notes, altering headlines and removing large swaths of text identifying Mr. Millian as a Steele source. The Post also deleted a video summarizing one of the articles.
A dozen other stories referencing Mr. Millian as a source for the Steele dossier were also corrected, the paper said.
“The newspaper’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said The Post could no longer stand by the accuracy of those elements of the story,” Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi wrote in the paper on Friday.
Mr. Farhi wrote that the Post will not retract the stories.
Since Mr. Danchenko’s arrest several media outlets, including the Post, CNN and MSNBC, have come under fire for refusing to amend their reporting after a pair of indictments from Mr. Durham discredited most of the dossier’s claims.
The Post acknowledged that its actions were spurred by the Danchenko arrest, adding that it is rare for a paper to “make wholesale changes after publication,” especially for articles published more than four years.
Ms. Buzbee told the paper that the indictment “created doubts” about Mr. Millian’s purported involvement in the Steele dossier. She also said that one of the original sources in its 2017 article who identified Mr. Millian as a source is now uncertain that he was involved in the dossier.
“We feel we are taking the most transparent approach possible,” she told the paper.
The Steele dossier was compiled and disseminated by an opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign. It sparked years of media reports tying Mr. Trump to Russia, even though some of its allegations were already questionable.
It also served as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Application the FBI used to surveil former Trump campaign Carter Page.