A Russian-born analyst who provided the bulk of the information for a flawed dossier about former President Donald Trump was acquitted on Tuesday in a federal court.
Igor Danchenko was accused of lying to the FBI about his own sources for the information he passed on to British spy Christopher Steele.
The “Steele dossier” contained numerous allegations about connections between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and the Kremlin, and also included allegations of salacious sexual activity that Trump supposedly engaged in at a Moscow hotel.
Prosecutors say Danchenko should have been more forthcoming about his own sources and that if he had done so, the FBI would not have treated the dossier as credulously as it did. As it turned out, the FBI used the allegations in the dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign staffer, Carter Page.
Danchenko is being prosecuted by Special Counsel John Durham, who was appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr to investigate any misconduct in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and its alleged ties to Russia. Danchenko is the third person to be prosecuted by Durham. It is the first of Durham’s cases that delves deeply into the origins of the dossier, which Trump derided as fake news and a political witch hunt.
Durham’s other two cases resulted in an acquittal and a guilty plea with a sentence of probation.
In the Danchenko trial, prosecutors say he lied when he told the FBI he obtained some of his information during an anonymous phone call from a man he believed to be Millian, a former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
They say Danchenko lied when he told the FBI he never “talked” with a man named Charles Dolan about the allegations contained in the dossier.