POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Primary source for Trump-Russia dossier acquitted

Oct 18, 2022, 2:48 PM
Dossier Trump...
FILE: Russian analyst Igor Danchenko walks to the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse during a lunch break in his trial on October 11, 2022 in Alexandria, Virginia. Danchenko was acquitted on four counts of lying to the FBI over his sources as to claims made in the Christopher Steele Dossier as part of the investigation of Special Counsel John Durham into the origins of the FBI probe of alleged collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Originally Published: 18 OCT 22 16:25 ET
Updated: 18 OCT 22 16:35 ET

(CNN) — Igor Danchenko, the primary source for the infamous Trump-Russia dossier, was acquitted Tuesday of four counts of lying to the FBI in an embarrassing defeat for special counsel John Durham.

Durham has taken two cases to trial, and both have ended in acquittals. After more than three years looking for misconduct in the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, Durham has only secured one conviction: the guilty plea of a low-level FBI lawyer, who got probation.

The jury returned not-guilty verdicts on all charges against Danchenko, a Russian expat and think tank analyst who provided the bulk of the material for the anti-Trump dossier. Durham initially charged Danchenko with five counts of lying to the FBI, but a judge threw out one of the charges on Friday.

The verdict means jurors weren’t persuaded by Durham’s allegations that Danchenko lied to the FBI about his contacts with a Belarusian-American businessman who was a possible source for the dossier. The largely discredited dossier was a collection of unverified and salacious allegations compiled by retired British spy Christopher Steele, whose dirt-digging was indirectly funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.

In many ways, the verdict is a direct blow to Durham, who personally handled most of the arguments and witness questioning. The proceedings were rocky at times for the special counsel, who lashed out at some of his own witnesses after they ended up providing testimony that helped Danchenko’s defense.

The week-long trial against Danchenko resurrected many of the 2016 election dramas.

FBI agents described their efforts to corroborate the Steele dossier, which ultimately came up empty. Jurors were shown portions of Steele’s memos, which he has previously said weren’t ever meant to become public. The dossier’s primary allegation — that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Donald Trump and the Russians — repeatedly came up throughout the proceedings.

Durham also used the case to put the FBI on trial, in what could be a preview of his upcoming final report. He zeroed in on the shortcomings and errors of the early Trump-Russia probe — specifically the bureau’s overreliance on the dossier to propel forward some key parts of their burgeoning inquiry.

Danchenko is a Russian citizen but has lived in the US for years with his family. The FBI once scrutinized him as a possible counterintelligence threat, but later paid him as an informant. Durham pressed Danchenko’s FBI handler about the possibility that he was a Russian spy. To the contrary, the witness said Danchenko was a treasured FBI informant and suggested that Durham hurt US national security by indicting him.

This story has been updated with additional details.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

...
Jeff Zeleny, Eva McKend and Gregory Krieg, CNN

Georgia voters once again have the last word during election season

During a campaign rally for Warnock in Atlanta last week, former President Barack Obama stressed the immediate impact of Democrats potentially winning a 51st Senate seat.
18 hours ago
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries becomes the first Black lawmaker to lead a political party in the U.S. Congres...
Daniella Diaz

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to succeed Pelosi, the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress

At 52, Jeffries represents a generational change from the current House Democratic leaders, who are three decades older than him.
7 days ago
quilts...
Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

Senate passes bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in landmark vote

The bill does not set a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage. Instead, it requires states to recognize another state's legal marriage.
8 days ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen here with audience members after appearing at at CNN town ...
Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ for dinner with Holocaust denier

Former Vice President Mike Pence says former President Donald Trump was wrong for having dinner with a Holocaust denier and should apologize for it.
8 days ago
A ballot drop box is pictured. Those wanting to vote in the utah primary election can still vote in...
Sydnee Gonzalez

Analysis shows ‘sizable’ gap in Salt Lake’s west side/east side voter turnout

Voters on Salt Lake City's west side turned out for the 2022 midterms at a much lower rate than their east-side counterparts.
14 days ago
The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the Internal Revenue Service to release former Pre...
Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

Supreme Court clears way for House to get Trump’s taxes

The court's move is a loss for Trump, who has sought to shield the release of his tax returns and is currently under multiple investigations.
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Primary source for Trump-Russia dossier acquitted