Monday, July 20, 2020

Two Questions Re Danchenko's FBI/DoJ Interview

As we've recently learned, Christopher Steele claims that he got the "information" in his reports (which were compiled into a "dossier" that was behind so much of the Russia Hoax) from a "Primary Subsource", Igor Danchenko. Danchenko was interviewed by a team of FBI and DoJ investigators, analysts, and lawyers in January, 2017. The interview took place in Washington, DC, over at least three days, and in the interview Danchenko basically debunked any notion that there was a solid basis in fact for anything Steele claimed in his "dossier". In fact, Danchenko specifically disclaimed all knowledge of certain "information" that Steele passed on to his employers, the Clinton campaign, and the FBI. In spite of what Danchenko told the interviewers, the FBI and DoJ proceeded to allow the Carter Page FISA (based virtually 100% on the Steele "dossier") to remain up and running then obtained two additional renewals of the same FISA on the basis of the Steele "dossier" that Danchenko had debunked!

Two pseudonymous lawyers and Twitter commenters have raised questions about that interview.

First, noting that Danchenko had a lawyer present, Undercover Huber asks:

Who was paying for the Primary Sub Source’s attorney to sit in for *a full week* of high level FBI/DOJ interviews? 
That time likely cost tens of thousands of dollars 
It wasn’t the PSS, and it wasn’t Orbis, who didn’t know he was talking to the feds. So who was it?

It's an interesting question for which I certainly have no answer. However, Undercover Huber is obviously suggesting that interested parties may have provided Danchenko with a lawyer. Knowing Danchenko's connection to Deep State operatives like former NSC staffer Fiona Hill, and knowing the connection of various DoJ lawyers to the Clinton campaign, the question of who Danchenko's lawyer was and who paid the lawyer is of more than passing interest. The people paying had to have had strong motives to fork out that kind of money, and those motives will be of great interest to the Barr/Durham investigators. Again, this goes to the nature of what AG Barr has described as John Durham's "sprawling" investigation. Since this all occurred after Trump was inaugurated, the presumption must be that it could possibly tie into the fake impeachment at some point.

Second, Shipwreckedcrew responds to former FBI agent and NSC staffer Jim Casey and asks:

I want to know who the DOJ NSD lawyer was who was in the room during the interview.
Quote Tweet

Jim Casey
Replying to @MZHemingway
A number of people are going to have to explain how two FISA renewals were allowed to move forward, once the FBI knew this information from the PSS. The Page FSIA and renewals were almost 100% based on the dossier. Somebody swore to the FISC it was true and accurate.

Casey, the former FBI agent, naturally focuses on the role of the FBI--and his observation is very much on the money. The PSS's information not only should have prevented the next two renewals of the Carter Page FISA but should have caused the FISA that was then running to be shut down immediately.

Shipwreckedcrew, a former AUSA, equally naturally focuses on the role of DoJ-NSD in the interview. His question is as apt as were Casey's observations. Basically, he's asking: How is it possible that a high DoJ National Security lawyer could have listened to what the PSS said and not gone back to DoJ and informed the relevant lawyers in Office of Intelligence (OI). Of course, as it happens, the relevant lawyer was Stu Evans, who had already expressed strong reservations about the Carter Page FISA and thus made himself a pain in the ass to people like Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Andy McCabe.

Here I can answer Shipwreckedcrew's question. The DoJ-NSD lawyer was David Laufman, who was forced to resign (a fact Laufman vigorously denies). Since then he has come totally out of the closet as a hard Left Dem activist.

The Horowitz OIG FISA report has 7 pages of discussion of the PSS interview (241-247), and I have to say that most of what the FBI and DoJ officials had to tell Horowitz's investigators fails to pass the laugh test. Like most commentators, I refuse to believe that the results of the interview were not made known to the key plotters against Trump. Here's what Laufman had to say to OIG--read it and ask yourself, If that's true, what was he doing at the interview? But, all the more reason to have run the results past Stu Evans at OI--except, of course, Laufman was fully aware of the implications of what PSS had said over those three days:

The NSD's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) representatives who attended the Primary Sub-source's January 2017 interview--Section Chief David Laufman and his Deputy Section Chief--told us that they did not recall discussing the interview with OI officials afterward. They told us that they did not have knowledge of the information in the Carter Page FISA applications at the time, and that they were not sufficiently familiar with the Steele reports to have understood that there were inconsistencies between the Primary Sub-source and Steele. We did not find any information to the contrary. They told us that they attended the interview because CES had helped negotiate the terms of the interview with the Primary Sub-source's attorney, and, as noted previously, their role during the interview was primarily to address any issues or concerns raised by the attorney during the interview.
The OI Attorney told the OIG that if had he known about the inconsistencies between the Primary Sub-source and Steele on the facts asserted in the FISA applications, he would have wanted an opportunity to ask questions and gather more information. In particular, after we asked the OI Attorney to read the written summary of the Primary Sub-source's interview regarding the telephone call with Person 1, the OI Attorney was surprised, agreed it was not consistent with the information in the FISA applications concerning Report 95, and said "it doesn't seem like the same story." Evans told us that OI would have sought to determine how the new information impacted the FISA applications, including obtaining the FBI's own assessment of how to reconcile the apparent inconsistencies. Evans said that at a minimum, OI would have advised the court of the inconsistencies and the FBI's assessment of those inconsistences. He further stated that, depending on the information from the FBI, 0I may have decided to delay or abandon the filing of the next renewal application altogether. 

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that nobody wanted Evans to find out about what the PSS had to say.

Well, Evans is said to have cooperated extensively with Durham, and it's likely that Strzok, too, has cooperated--along with others whose names haven't figured as prominently. OIG doesn't have GJ power, but Durham does. I'm sure Durham will be questioning those involved closely--including regarding their earlier testimony to OIG.


  1. Laufman employed the "Sgt. Schultz" when answering OIG questions about this interview.

  2. I don't want you to think that I am hijacking this thread with argumentative comments.

    However, I think you might be wrong in our assertion that the Carter Page FISA application was based virtually 100% on Christopher Steele's Dossier.

    Much of the FISA application is still secret.

    Yes, I know that Andrew McCabe testified that the Dossier was necessary to get the FISA application approved. That does not mean, however, that the application was based virtually 100% on the Dossier.

    McCabe's statement might mean that the Dossier was marginally or crucially necessary. The Dossier was needed to get the FISA application approved, but there was much more in the application than the Dossier.

    One reason why it's important to be careful in this discussion is that the FBI surely will insist that the initial Crossfire Hurricane investigation -- in particular, the investigation of Carter Page -- was valid.

    I myself do not think that the initial investigation was sufficiently predicated, but I acknowledge that that argument is reasonable.

    Essentially, that argument is that Papadopoulos seemed to indicate that Russian Intelligence was dealing with at least one person on Trump's campaign staff, and the most likely suspect was Page. This initial suspicion against Page was not caused by the Dossier.

    I expect that will be the defense of the FBI, which will deny any malicious intent or action against Trump and his supporters. That defense certainly can be criticized, but it's plausible enough that successful prosecutions of FBI officials (except Clinesmith) might be impossible.

    1. "However, I think you might be wrong in our assertion that the Carter Page FISA application was based virtually 100% on Christopher Steele's Dossier."

      He's not wrong. You are. You went too far into the weeds and got lost.

    2. Yeah, Mike, it really is crucial, not to fall into questionable claims, e.g. that the application was based virtually 100% on the Dossier.
      But, while the FBI may deny any malicious intent or action in the *start* of CH, the stuff about Danchenko's interview should still give Durham plenty of ammo, to attack the extensions of CH.

    3. And, had the redacted stuff been *really* helpful to the predicate of CH, it likely would’ve long ago been leaked by Team Mueller.

    4. Except Devon Nunes read the whole thing. He stated it was based only on the Steele dossier.

      Rob S

    5. Here's the simple truth. Mike says "Much of the FISA application is still secret." But that's a highly misleading statement. As far as the "dossier" is concerned and relevant, the only part of the Page FISA that matters is pp. 10-28, which contains the supposed "probable cause" in re Page. Very little of that is redacted, and the small portions that have been are mostly in footnotes. That's why it's apparent that the FISA is based virtually if not entirely on the "dossier."

      The large portions of the application that remain redacted are basically "administrative" in nature and have NOTHING to do with the supposed factual basis for the FISA application.

      Anyone who glances through the application will quickly realize the truth of what I'm saying.

    6. Well, now that these latest replies have posted, what I have is totally duplicative. But dangit, I wrote it - so here it is anyway ;^>

      @Mike. I agree all the way we don't know everything in the FISAs and so technically anything’s possible, but if there were meaningful amounts of other info in them to support their being granted, apart from the dossier stuff, don’t you think we’d have already heard at least something about that? Nunes and Gowdy have seen it all and have stressed that they were all almost completely dossier-driven. Horowitz has said, at least I think this, pretty much the same thing.

      I mean, I know you’re just saying that this other info - Papa’s supposed “dirt” or “emails” talk - may be weak but it still will be what these people hang their defense on, but even the ridiculously rubber-stampy FISC needs to see at least a thorough argument developed, however flimsy, and I just don’t see how such a thing could exist in the FISAs when Nunes, et al speak and act unmistakably like it does not. Nor why the hoaxers wouldn’t have let this out way earlier to get the narrative going that the FISAs were still strong without the dossier.

      My own purely speculative guess is that EZ has hit closer to the mark with his mention of the Sgt. Shulz defense. Like Mark shows above in the main post, “I knew nothing/so-and-so never told me,” etc is where most of these guys seem more likely to go (at least it seems that way to me).

      Anyway, I’ve no doubt you want to see the facts come out as badly as I and everyone else do. Hopefully that will be soon and we can all stop guessing. I for one am sick of having to guess - we should’ve known all this stuff years ago, in my not terribly humble opinion.

  3. My question about Danchenko is, what is his immigration status? Is he a US citizen or just a legal resident? Is he even a legal resident?

    He sure has caused a lot of trouble while living in the USA. Maybe he should be deported.

  4. I think that the FISA warrant continued to be renewed because Mueller and his gang of Trump-hating lawyers requested that it be renewed.

    The real purpose of the Mueller investigation was to catch President Trump into an obstruction-of-justice charge that could serve as the basis of an impeachment. Most of the DOJ leadership would have been happy with such an outcome.

    Therefore, nobody in the DOJ leadership ever did anything that might be construed as obstructing Mueller's gang. If the ultimate idea was to argue that any obstruction of Mueller was a criminal act, then the DOJ leadership likewise could not obstruct Mueller in any way.

    So, no reservations could be expressed and no questions could be asked by anyone in DOJ if Mueller asked for the FISA warrant to be renewed.


    My explanation of why Mueller's gang wanted to renew the FISA warrant was that Page and Manafort each had told the FBI that he had not communicated with the other.

    I speculate that Mueller hoped eventually to find some communication between Page and Manafort, thus enabling Mueller to threaten prosecution for lying to the FBI. Then Page or Manafort might be compelled to compose testimony against Trump.

  5. Great question by undercover Huber. At least $20K to the lawyer. Who paid, and for what?

  6. Sergei Millian:

    "I got two emails from this guy, one on July 21 & another one on August 18, 2016 where he asked for a meeting in DC or NYC. He was looking for my expertise on a real estate project in Russia. I ignored his approach & never met him. The fake call about @carterwpage, T, M is a lie."

    1. It increasing appears like Millian was used by Steele as a MacGuffin/patsy, attributing to him allegations in the Dossier that Millian claims he never made.

      Danchenko may also have been set up as a patsy as well, attributing to him adn his subsources allegations what, by Danchenko's responses in the interview, claims to have never told Steele.

      Steele's use of Danchenko, having made sure he was isolated from most of Orbis employees, and advised by Steele to not take notes or keep records, smells like a set up.

    2. Trump Tower, Flynn/Lokhova, Danchenko/Millian ... pattern of lured/arranged meetings for the purpose of creating contact which could then be portrayed as nefarious conspiring.

      I see what you did there, Russia hoaxers.

    3. There's so much there. Check out the new post.

  7. Benjamin Wittes is a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is the Research Director in Public Law, and Co-Director of the Harvard Law School – Brookings Project on Law and Security. He works principally on issues related to American law and national security. (Wikipedia)

    Igor Danchenko is a Washington, D.C.-based analyst. A Russia-trained lawyer with U.S. advanced degrees in political science and regional studies - University of Louisville and Georgetown University, he has extensive oil and construction industry, academia, due diligence, research and analysis experience. His focus is on Russia and Eurasia. He has worked on some two hundred cases related to this region in the past seven years. Igor previously worked as an analyst and researcher at Sidar Global Advisors and the Brookings Institution.

    Fiona Hill, of impeachment infamy and former teacher of Danchenko at University of Lousville, is still at Brookings Institution- actively involved in giving programs, webinars, etc..

    1. Ben Wittes is founder of Lawfare, in case anyone doesn’t know that - and a BFF of James Comey, who came forward early on, before anyone else was mentioned, saying he had shared Comey’s memorand on his meetings with PDJT with a NYT reporter.

      Brookings sounds like a basket of vipers...

    2. "Brookings sounds like a basket of vipers..."

      And we all know how deplorable vipers are.

  8. Interesting sidelight on Danchenko. While at Brookings Institution, he claimed to have discovered Vladimir Putin’s plagiarism in his dissertation.

    The daughter of the rector of one of the St. Petersburg universities claims that Putin’s dissertation was written by her dad

    1. Yes, he claimed That John Deere is actually a Russian company Vlad Deeresky.

      Rob S

  9. I'm not the only one who thinks Steele used Danchenko as a patsy:

    >> <<

    1. @EZ, Just for laughs, I'll point out that the tweet you've linked here is a reply to me re the whole "patsy" thing. That's my tweet you see he included with his own.

      Small world :)

    2. Well done.

      Agree that Steele likely used Danchenko for the Dossier research because his circle of drinking buddies back in Russia could be spun as an "intelligence network" when peddling the Dossier hogwash to the FBI (and MSM.)

      I'll add one other intriguing observation: Danchenko says the Dossier research was sort of a side project until July 2016, at which point Steele began to push for more info. This coincides exactly with Steele having successfully baited the lure and sucked Gaeata (his FBI handler) into swallowing it hook, line, and sinker in early July, forwarding Steele info to NYFO.

      Once FBI had swallowed the bait, Steele ramped up and got Danchenko to move research to front burner in July/August.

    3. Sure looks that way. Will be nice when we all finally get to see what we've gotten right, and wrong, and what comes totally out of left field - of which you have to think there will be plenty.

  10. Sullivan/DOJ updates. Gov filed as opposed.

  11. The idea that the Page FISA warrant could honestly have been legitimately predicated because there was probative evidence that Carter Page was a Russian preposterous.

    At a minimum Page was well-known to the Intelligence Community, having cooperated with the FBI after a Russian agent, Evgeny Buryakov and others attempted to recruit Page.

    Moreover, its not unlikely, actually, that Page has spent his entire career working with and for the CIA and the FBI and was inserted into the Trump campaign by John Brennan and friends.

    Don't forget...the whole thing was a ... hoax.

  12. If two CP FISA renewals were based on, let's say, unfounded exaggerations--on what basis were the first two CP FISA warrants authorized?

    Aren't there six (3 FBI & DOJ each) signatories on the FISA warrant application? Is there a better example of corruption and malfeasance? Knowingly executed.

    1. They would argue incompetence not criminal intent for the first two. That's why Horowitz devoted 7 pages to the PSS interview, to show that at least the last two weren't just incompetence.

      The difference is that now Durham has GJ and prosecutorial powers to hold over the witnesses.

  13. @Forbes

    "on what basis were the first two CP FISA warrants authorized?"


    1. A web of fictions looks like criminal conspiracy to me.

  14. "Durham has GJ and prosecutorial powers..."
    Could Durham announce a guilty plea from one juicy perp, without having to thereby tip his hand, on any goods he has on others?
    If so, why not announce something like that very soon, e.g. to give heart to his allies, rattle more cages among perps, and test waters on public reaction?

    A vivid exercize of Federal prosecutorial powers sure could give a needed boost, to morale of DJT backers, esp. cops.
    (Recall days ago, Kunstlers' guess, that Durham's
    "stalling *damages* the national psyche.")