With stunning Republican victories across the country Tuesday, including Glenn Youngkin’s electorate-shifting win in Virginia, I wasn’t sure this week could get more based. But never doubt a news cycle that just won’t quit, and our current one just keeps delivering.
News broke a short time ago that Igor Danchenko has been arrested. If you’ve followed my reporting, streiff’s reporting, and others here at the site, you’ve heard that name before. Danchenko was the chief source of the garbage, unverified Steele Dossier which sought to take down Donald Trump in 2016 and beyond.
Now, he’s in the hands of the authorities as a target of John Durham’s rejuvenated investigation. The New York Times managed to do a fairly balanced write-up of the event.
Igor Danschenko arrested! "Authorities Arrest Analyst Who Contributed to Steele Dossier" https://t.co/5EUG2dyAcg— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) November 4, 2021
Federal authorities on Thursday arrested an analyst who in 2016 gathered leads about possible links between Donald J. Trump and Russia for what turned out to be Democratic-funded opposition research, according to people familiar with the matter.
The arrest of the analyst, Igor Danchenko, is part of the special counsel inquiry led by John H. Durham, who was appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation for any wrongdoing, the people said.
Mr. Danchenko, was the primary researcher of the so-called Steele dossier, a compendium of rumors and unproven assertions suggesting that Mr. Trump and his 2016 campaign were compromised by and conspiring with Russian intelligence officials in Moscow’s covert operation to help him defeat Hillary Clinton.
We do not yet know what the charges are in the case, but they could be everything from FARA violations to lying to government authorities. Danchenko met with the FBI in 2017 when then Dir. James Comey was attempting to corroborate the dossier. The infamous “pee tape” allegation originated with Danchenko, for example.
In the aftermath, essentially none of the highly salacious claims by Steele and his source were proven and we’ve also definitively learned that Hillary Clinton played a role in funding the work. Yet, as recently as just a couple of weeks ago, Steele did an interview defending his product, claiming that more could come out in the future.
It’s likely that the entire PR push by Steele with that interview was meant to preempt Danchenko’s arrest and spin what was going to be revealed. If so, he didn’t do a very good job. It is apparent that Durham is no longer just looking for things on the margins. Rather, he is going right at the entire conspiracy to take down Donald Trump with false allegations of “Russian collusion.” That’s heartening to see as it was an open question whether current AG Merrick Garland would allow that to happen.
I can now confidently state that I do not think this is the end of it. Michael Sussmann, who was behind the Alfa Bank fake story, has been charged. Now Steele’s primary source is behind bars. Given that, Marc Elias and Steele himself better be lawyering up if they haven’t already.