A top FBI intelligence official testified Wednesday that a top source for the anti-Trump “Steele dossier” did not divulge to agents that a key ally of Hillary and Bill Clinton was the source for some of the allegations against the former president that found that their way into the dossier.
That FBI official, supervisory agent Brian Auten, told jurors in an Alexandria, Virginia federal court that the name of Democratic operative Charles Dolan never came up during the days of interviews with Igor Danchenko, a Russian-born analyst now living the U.S. on trial for his role in the Steele dossier and the FBI investigation of Mr. Trump.
“If [Mr. Dolan’s name] had come up during the three days of interviews, we would have documented it,” Mr. Auten said.
Mr. Danchenko is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI in interviews as agents sought to corroborate charges contained the Steele dossier, a collection of salacious and unverified allegations supposedly tying Mr. Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign to Russia.
Prosecutors led by special counsel John Durham say Mr. Danchenko misled the FBI by saying he hadn’t talked with Mr. Dolan, who had ties to Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Special counsel John Durham, who is overseeing the case against Mr. Danchenko, showed jurors emails the two had exchanged discussing “a very important project” that prosecutors say was an effort to compile anti-Trump dirt for the Steele dossier.
In an email from August 2016, Mr. Danchenko tells Mr. Dolan that their “goals clearly align.”
Mr. Auten said that that information would have been critical to FBI investigators trying to judge the reliability of the allegations in the dossier, which was compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
“If there was anything in the dossier that Mr. Dolan provided, it would have been important to know that his goals and Mr. Danchenko’s goals coincided,” he said, adding that Mr. Danchenko knew Mr. Dolan was Democratic operative for a lengthy period.
Defense attorneys argued in opening statements on Tuesday that Mr. Danchenko did not lie to the FBI because he did not have an oral conversation with Mr. Dolan. They say he was only asked if he “talked” with Mr. Dolan, and their client truthfully said, “no,” because they had exchanged emails.