Washington: A Russia analyst who provided information for a dossier of research used during the Trump-Russia investigation has been arrested by US authorities as part of an ongoing special counsel investigation, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Igor Danchenko is the third person, and second in a two-month span, to face charges in special counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation.
Danchenko functioned as a source for Christopher Steele, a former British spy who was paid by Democrats to examine ties between Russia and Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The research was used by the FBI as it applied for and received surveillance warrants targeting a former Trump campaign aide.
Both the dossier and the Durham probe are politically charged. Trump’s Justice Department appointed Durham as Trump claimed the investigation of campaign ties to Russia was a witch hunt and pointed to the dossier, some of which remains uncorroborated or has been discredited, as evidence of an unfair probe.
But the dossier had no role in the launching of the Trump-Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller ultimately found questionable ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, but not sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges. Democrats saw the Durham probe as politically motivated, but the Biden administration has not stopped it.
It was not immediately clear what charges Danchenko might face. But it would be the third criminal action brought by Durham, following the September indictment of a cybersecurity lawyer accused of making a false statement to the FBI and a guilty plea last year from an FBI lawyer who admitted altering an email.
Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle confirmed Danchenko’s arrest, first reported by The New York Times. A lawyer for Danchenko had no immediate comment.