John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax went hot recently with the indictment of Igor Danchenko, the chief source of the infamous Steele Dossier. As RedState reported, Danchenko was charged with multiple counts of lying to the FBI, representing the biggest escalation yet in Durham’s quest.
But the revelation that Danchenko had lied to the FBI goes past just implicating him. It also implicates the FBI and DOJ as corrupt entities that chose to weaponize a known liar to target political enemies, Donald Trump chief among them. With Durham’s indictment, it is now confirmed that the DOJ assigned false credibility to Danchenko in a desperate attempt to validate the dossier.
As the Washington Examiner notes, John Demers, then an Assistant Attorney General to Jeff Sessions, proclaimed Danchenko was “truthful and cooperative” while pursuing what we now know was an illegal FISA warrant on Carter Page.
The efforts by the DOJ and the FBI to defend the credibility of Steele’s dossier and his source were notable in 2018, the year after Danchenko allegedly lied to the bureau, and in the midst of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Then-Assistant Attorney General John Demers told Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Rosemary Collyer in a July 2018 letter that Danchenko had been “truthful and cooperative” with the FBI. The DOJ official also defended the flawed FISA applications against Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Demers told the FISA court: “The Government submits that the applications, read in light go this additional information, contain sufficient predication for the Court to have found probable cause that the target was an agent of a foreign power.”
But Durham’s indictment makes clear that Danchenko was not “truthful and cooperative,” and the DOJ was aware of that fact while they continued to use the Russian as a credible source to pursue FISA warrants on Trump associates. Worse, it appears likely that the DOJ and FBI were also aware of the Clinton campaign’s connections to the dossier and Danchenko.
You put all that together and what you have is a Jeff Sessions-led DOJ that was knowingly using someone who had lied to them in order to pursue the political goal of taking down Donald Trump. There is no other way to spin what happened. To this day, Sessions has yet to answer for the behavior of the department he led during that period. Perhaps someone should bother asking him about it?
While it is encouraging that Christopher Steele’s primary source (who was being fed fake stories by a Hillary Clinton operative) is now going to face charges for his role, it is clear that the DOJ and FBI were knee-deep in the corruption as well. The individuals who helped perpetuate this hoax from within the confines of the federal government, up to and including ignoring criminal activity to keep a political narrative going, should also face justice. If they don’t, the indictments Durham has made will simply serve as a surface-level slap on the wrist. This thing has to be ripped out at the root or the lack of trust in our core institutions will remain.