Last week, the US Senate Judiciary Committee chairman released newly declassified documents on the FBI’s interview with ex-UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s “primary sub-source” claiming that the Steele dossier about the alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump was “unsubstantiated and unreliable”.
Mark Schamel, a lawyer for Igor Danchenko, has confirmed that his client provided former MI6 agent Christopher Steele with information pertaining to alleged ties between US President Donald Trump and Russia, The New York Times (NYT) reports.
The newspaper cited Schamel as saying he admits that “Igor Danchenko has been identified as one of the sources who provided data and analysis” to Steele.
The NYT described Danchenko’s identity as “noteworthy” given that “it further calls into question the credibility of the [Steele] dossier” about the alleged collusion between Russia and Trump.
“By turning to Mr Danchenko as his primary source to gather possible dirt on Mr Trump involving Russia, Mr Steele was relying not on someone with a history of working with Russian intelligence operatives or bringing to light their covert activities but instead a researcher focused on analysing business and political risks in Russia”, the news outlet pointed out.
It referred to LinkedIn, which identified the 42-year-old as a Russian-trained lawyer who earned degrees at the University of Louisville and Georgetown University.
According to the NYT, he agreed to collaborate with the FBI in 2017 on the condition the agency would keep his identity secret so he could protect himself.
The newspaper’s report came after several sources were quoted by RT as saying they had ostensibly figured out that the Steele dossier-related source was former Brookings Institution researcher Igor Danchenko.
This followed Chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham releasing recently declassified documents indicating that the FBI knew about the unreliability of the Steele dossier and that The New York Times published false information about the “Russiagate” probe in 2017.
One of the documents included the FBI’s interview with Steele’s “primary sub-source” which revealed that the Steele dossier on the alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia was “unsubstantiated and unreliable”. The document revealed that the information the source gave to Steele was “second and third-hand information and rumours at best”.
The Steele dossier was published a week before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, alleging that Russian intelligence had compromising information on the US president and that Moscow and POTUS had “extensive” secret backchannels.
The document, which was discredited almost immediately after being leaked, became part of the Democrats’ efforts to tarnish Trump’s political image by notably accusing him of colluding with Russia, something that has been repeatedly rejected by the US president as a “witch hunt”.
In April 2019, then-US Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced that his probe found insufficient evidence of Russia-Trump collusion.