By the time you read this, a verdict might already be in for the Igor Danchenko case. Witness testimony has concluded, and essentially all that’s left are closing statements and jury deliberations. But this verdict is almost inconsequential compared to what we’ve learned about how the FBI was handling its investigation into Trump’s alleged –- no, fabricated –- “collusion” with Russia. It was thoroughly shameful, and they obviously did it to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. When that, to their shock, didn’t defeat him, they continued the sham, to tie the President’s hands with endless accusations and investigations.
Why else would the top echelon at the FBI and other intel agencies spend so much of their time, energy and resources on this? They were ready to hand Christopher Steele $1 million –- hey, it’s just taxpayer money –- if he could provide...something, anything...to verify the dossier, but he couldn’t, even with that amazing financial inducement, because it was fake and he knew it. So, what then?? They used it anyway in their warrant applications to the FISA Court, swearing it was verified when they knew it wasn’t. In doing this, they also were working in collaboration with the Clinton campaign, which had funded Steele’s dossier. Unbelievable.
Of course, we also know that the FBI interfered in 2020 as well, by enlisting social media and major news outlets to suppress the very real Hunter Biden laptop story. That’s separate from the Danchenko case, but still shameful. By the way, network executives are still pathetically trying to defend their decision not to cover the laptop story. For when you have time, Jonathan Turley has a great column on that.
And today, the FBI is at it again, after being weaponized by the DOJ to target law-abiding parents and grandmothers as “domestic terrorists.” Gregg Jarrett, speaking on Sunday with Steve Hilton on FOX NEWS’ “The Next Revolution,” said, “When the law enforcers become the law breakers, reverence for the rule of law is lost, and it breeds contempt in a democracy. I agree wholeheartedly: the FBI needs to be abandoned –- it needs to be torn up top to bottom and reconstituted into something that actually abides by the original principles of neutrality in upholding the rule of law.”
Which leads us back to the Danchenko trial and what it reveals. Legal analyst Margot Cleveland has flagged something that, to her, is even more serious than the use of an uncorroborated dossier: the DOJ’s deceptive framing of Christopher Steele’s network of sources as connected to his prior work with British intelligence. This, she said, is because “the higher-ups who authorized the inclusion of this detail in the final revision of the application knew a FISA warrant would likely be denied without the misrepresentation.”
Cleveland offers a clear summary of the testimony of FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten, who led the analysts working on Crossfire Hurricane. Readers of this newsletter will know most of the details, but relative to the charges against Danchenko, Auten testified that Danchenko told the FBI multiple times that he’d received a phone call from someone he believed to be Sergei Millian that provided supposed intel about the Trump campaign’s Russia connections. (This is where Danchenko allegedly lied; more on that later.) Information supposedly from that call-that-didn’t-happen was provided by Danchenko to Steele and ended up in the dossier.
“With Danchenko being the main source for Steele’s dossier,” Cleveland writes, “that testimony strengthened the government’s case that Danchenko’s alleged lies naturally affected the FBI’s investigation.”
But she goes on to explain why the FBI’s effort to mislead the FISA court about the quality of Steele’s network was, believe it or not, even worse than the use of unverified material. (They’re both so serious, I’d call it a tie.) This was a last-minute addition to the first FISA application that lent Steele’s work credibility by falsely implying that he and his sources were with British spy agency MI6. Agents got their FISA approval the very next day. In reality, no one in Steele’s source network was connected to British intelligence, and the Crossfire Hurricane team knew that. Steele was a former spook who had his own private company, Orbis. Danchenko and Dolan were connected to the Brookings Institution, headed by Clinton crony Strobe Talbott. (All roads lead back to Hillary.)
Auten also testified that Danchenko had denied “talking” with (Democrat operative and Clinton family friend) Charles Dolan about anything in the dossier. That was the basis for one of the five charges against Danchenko, because Dolan was Danchenko’s source for material Steele put in the dossier.. How could they NOT have talked?
Well, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga –- who, interestingly, is also a FISA Court judge –- dropped that one charge on Friday, saying it was “too weak” to send to the jury. Get ready, and I’ll quote the NEW YORK POST as it explains the problem with this particular count of lying to the FBI: “Judge Trenga agreed with Danchenko’s defense team that the defendant did not ‘literally’ talk to Dolan about anything in the dossier, but that he rather COMMUNICATED OVER EMAIL [emphasis ours] about claims that ended up in the Democrat-funded anti-Trump report. Because the email exchange was written, it did not meet the standard of the word “talked,” the judge ruled. “That the FBI wanted to obtain as much information as possible doesn’t change the meaning of the words used. Here, the government has not presented any evidence that Mr. Danchenko understood the word ‘talk’ to mean more than the standard accepted meaning.”
I am not kidding. TECHNICALLY, it wasn’t a lie, the judge is saying, because Danchenko did not, in fact, TALK with Dolan. He communicated through EMAIL. As far as this trial is concerned,, Danchenko was telling the truth when he denied talking with Dolan!
We decided to look up the word “talk,” first in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The first definition is “to express or exchange ideas by means of spoken words.” Okay, but the second definition, still very commonly used, is “to convey information or communicate in any way (as with signs or sounds).” Or, I would assume, keystrokes. We talk to each online all the time, and we all very typically describe it that way. I’m talking to you right now.
Another definition, kind of funny in this context, is “to reveal secret or confidential information.” Oh, like gossipy stuff about a presidential candidate? In that sense, they certainly did “talk.”
Judge Trenga saying “emailing” is not “talking” is uncomfortably like Bill Clinton splitting hairs about what the meaning of the word “is” is. I was going to joke about them perhaps going to the same law school, but it turns out they didn’t.