The Curious Clinton Development in the Case Against Igor Danchenko

AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File

Special Counsel John Durham obtained an indictment against Igor Danchenko about a month and a half ago.

Danchenko is a Russian national who worked for the Brookings Institution and was the main source for the Steele dossier making the false claim of Russia collusion. The indictment against Danchenko claims that he lied to them when they interviewed him in 2017 when they were investigating the dossier.


Mostly [sic] notably, the Russian hid the extent that he was working with a Democratic public-relations executive with ties to Hillary Clinton. Press reports have identified the executive as Charles Dolan, a Clinton associate who in 2016 was actively working to make Hillary the President. The indictment suggests Mr. Dolan was behind several of the salacious and derogatory claims about Mr. Trump that Mr. Danchenko fed to Mr. Steele. Mr. Dolan’s attorney told the New York Times that his client could not comment on an ongoing case.

The purpose was to present the FBI with oppo-research that masqueraded as “intelligence,” and it worked. Mrs. Clinton lost the election, but the Russia tale sabotaged an incoming President with relentless media assaults and a special counsel investigation. The country spent years obsessing over the Trump conspiracy that didn’t exist—rather than the Clinton conspiracy that did.

At least one ‘source’ allegedly expected to get rewarded for the effort.

As we noted, Danchenko had some very interesting connections.


But with all this now finally being investigated, one might think that there could be other targets that Durham might be looking into, since there are a lot of possibilities here — and that one might be thinking about working with Danchenko for some of that information.

But if they thought they might do so, now comes the curious development that Danchenko is now represented by Clinton-related attorneys. John Durham is making a motion to the court about a potential conflict of interest in the case because of this. Danchenko is represented by Danny Onorato and Stuart Sears of the firm Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears.

According to Durham,

[A] separate lawyer at the firm is currently representing the 2016 “Hillary for America” presidential campaign (the “Clinton Campaign”), as well as multiple former employees of that campaign, in matters before the Special Counsel. As discussed more fully below, the Clinton Campaign financed the opposition research reports, colloquially known as the “Dossier,” that are central to the Indictment against the defendant. Accordingly, for the reasons set forth below, the government respectfully requests that the Court inquire into the potential conflict issues set forth herein.

Durham points out that obviously, the interests of Danchenko could diverge from those of the Clinton Campaign.

Thus, the interests of the Clinton Campaign and the defendant could potentially diverge in connection with any plea discussions, pre-trial proceedings, hearings, trial, and sentencing proceedings. Areas of inquiry that may become relevant to defense counsel’s representation of the defendant, and which also may become issues at trial or sentencing, include topics such as (1) the Clinton Campaign’s knowledge or lack of knowledge concerning the veracity of information in the Company Reports sourced by the defendant, (2) the Clinton Campaign’s awareness or lack of awareness of the defendant’s collection methods and sub-sources, (3) meetings or communications between and among the Clinton Campaign, U.S. Investigative Firm-1, and/or U.K. Person-1 regarding or involving the defendant, (4) the defendant’s knowledge or lack of knowledge regarding the Clinton Campaign’s role in and activities surrounding the Company Reports, and (5) the extent to which the Clinton Campaign and/or its representatives directed, solicited, or controlled the defendant’s activities. On each of these issues, the interests of the Clinton Campaign and the defendant might diverge. For example, the Clinton Campaign and the defendant each might have an incentive to shift blame and/or responsibility to the other party for any allegedly false information that was contained within the Company Reports and/or provided to the FBI. Moreover, it is possible that one of these parties might also seek to advance claims that they were harmed or defrauded by the other’s actions, statements, or representations. In addition, in the event that one or more former representatives of the Clinton Campaign (who are represented by defense counsel’s firm) are called to testify at any trial or other court proceeding, the defendant and any such witness would be represented by the same law firm, resulting in a potential conflict. Finally, it is also likely that defense counsel’s firm already has obtained privileged information from the Clinton Campaign regarding matters involving or relating to the defendant, the Company Reports, and the conduct alleged in the Indictment.


Durham is asking the court to inquire into the potential conflicts there, noting that Danchenko and the Clinton campaign might have cause to try to blame each other for what went down.

So, one has to ask: how does this guy who might have some very significant information suddenly get Clinton-related attorneys? And what does that say about the Clinton involvement?


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