Debunked anti-Trump dossier subsource who sought to traffic classified information remained on FBI payroll through end of 2020


WASHINGTON- Years before paying off the rumor monger at the center of the debunked anti-Trump dossier, the FBI viewed him as a counterintelligence threat. FBI payments to Igor Danchenko, the case’s main sub-source, continued from March 2017 to October 2020 despite his problematic history and ongoing congressional investigations into the FBI’s Russian investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane .

Since 2016, the senses. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and others have raised a number of concerns about Crossfire Hurricane given that it relies on unverified – and now debunked – claims from sources dodgy paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. This information was essential to obtaining a federal warrant to wiretap a member of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and 2017. By the time the FBI was paying Danchenko, they were aware of his story, including his interactions with the Russian intelligence services and its offer. to procure and sell US government secrets.

“This extraordinary pattern of facts requires additional information from the Justice Department and the FBI regarding why Danchenko was put on the payroll and paid by the taxpayer to assist in the federal government’s flawed investigation of the President. Trump,” Grassley and Johnson wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland. .

Revelations about the FBI’s reliance on Danchenko as a paid human source were made in a recent court filing by Special Counsel John Durham, who continues to investigate the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russia. Danchenko is accused of lying to federal authorities in this investigation.

Grassley and Johnson search all FBI and Justice Department records related to government payments to Danchenko, the counterintelligence issues he posed, and the FBI’s decision to rely on him.

September 21, 2022


The Honorable Merrick Garland

Attorney General

justice department

The Honorable Christopher Wray


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Dear Attorney General Garland and Director Wray:

On September 2, 2022, Special Counsel John Durham filed an in limine motion regarding the Department of Justice (DOJ) case against Igor Danchenko, Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source, for lying to federal investigators.[1] In that motion, Special Counsel Durham noted that, “[i]n March 2017, the [Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)] sign
[Danchenko] as a paid FBI confidential human source. The FBI terminated its source relationship with the accused in October 2020.”[2]
As you know, in May 2009, the FBI opened a preliminary investigation into Danchenko based on his reported attempts to facilitate payment for classified information. Specifically, a declassified summary of the investigation noted that Danchenko approached several people at a work-related event in 2008 and “indicated that if the two people at the table” had found government jobs and had access to classified information ‘and ‘wanted to make some extra money’,” Danchenko knew people to talk to.[3] The summary further stated that a person interviewed by the FBI had expressed the possibility that Danchenko could be “a Russian spy”.[4]
The preliminary investigation then proceeded to a full investigation because Danchenko was identified as an associate of two FBI counterintelligence subjects.[5] The FBI also determined that Danchenko had contact in 2006 with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence agents.[6] The FBI also learned that during Danchenko’s contacts with Russian intelligence agents, he appeared to be involved in passing Russian documents at the request of a Russian intelligence officer.[7]
In December 2016, the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team identified Danchenko as Steele’s primary sub-source and, according to the FBI, “became familiar with the 2009 investigation”.[8] The FBI, even in light of the extensive derogatory information attached to Danchenko, proceeded to pay him as a confidential human source three months later, from March 2017 to October 2020, as part of Crossfire Hurricane. Therefore, while we investigated Justice Department and FBI misconduct regarding Crossfire Hurricane, you kept him on the government payroll.

This extraordinary pattern of facts requires additional information from the Department of Justice and the FBI regarding why Danchenko was put on the payroll and paid by the taxpayer to assist in the federal government’s flawed investigation of President Trump. .

Accordingly, by October 22, 2022, please provide all records relating to government payments made to Danchenko, the counterintelligence investigation into him, and his subsequent hiring.[9]


Charles E. Grassley

Ranking Member

Judiciary Commission

Ron Johnson

Ranking Member

Standing Sub-Committee on Investigations

cc: The Honorable Richard Durbin


Judiciary Commission

The Honorable Jon Ossoff


Standing Sub-Committee on Investigations

The Honorable Michael Horowitz

Inspector General

Department of Justice


[1] Government motion In Lime at 3, United States v. Danchenko, No. 21-CR-245 (AJT) (ED Va. 2022), vaed.515692.78.0.pdf. Notably, on page 18, the motion confirms that Danchenko was Steele’s primary sub-source: “Specifically, Steele advised the FBI that his primary sub-source for the Steele reports (the defendant) had met with Sergei Millian at two or three times – at least once in New York and once in Charleston, South Carolina.
[3] FBI, Overview of the Counterintelligence Investigation of Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-source, September 23, 2020 at 1. [Attached.] The document, on page 1, confirms that the investigation involved “the main sub-source of Christopher Steele” whom Durham identified as Danchenko.

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