Igor Danchenko Would Have Been a Crucial Witness to Understanding the Disinformation in the Dossier

Igor Danchenko claims that a Supervisory Special Agent involved in the Russian investigation described his cooperation with the FBI as a confidential source as one of the upsides of that investigation.

As one supervisory special agent has agreed, “one of the upshots [of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation] has been a relationship with [Mr. Danchenko] which has provided the FBI insights into individuals and to areas that it otherwise was lacking [ ] because of the difficulty with which the FBI has in recruiting people from that part of the world.” The agent further agreed that the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Danchenko was “one thing that in terms of usefulness really did result from this [investigation].”

Danchenko cited it as part of his successful effort to limit how much detail about the 2010 counterintelligence into him John Durham could present at trial, which starts today.

It’s an odd statement, insofar as he doesn’t cite the source (I was wondering if it comes from a pre-trial interview of a witness he plans to call, the precise details of which he’s withholding until the trial). Plus, there are FBI agents who seemed happy to have participated in the investigation, notwithstanding the way Trump found a way to ruin the career of virtually every FBI person involved in it (besides the two guys who botched the Alfa Bank investigation). This person, with the reference to “usefulness,” sounds like one of the skeptics.

Imagine if one of the FBI agents the frothers have been celebrating as a Mueller skeptic for years had good things to say about the (hopefully last) target in Durham’s witch hunt?

Whoever it is, the frothers’ continued obsession with Danchenko’s role as an FBI source — now joined by Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson — and their certainty there was impropriety about it is a testament to how deep within a bubble they all are, in which Trump matters but US security does not.

Start with what we know or can infer about his vetting. First, he was brought on as a source in March 2017, before the FBI stopped including FISA material among the databases it used to vet potential informants. So they likely checked collections of communications from known Russian spies before they formalized the relationship, including those they knew he had contact with years earlier. If that’s right, they knew a lot about what ties he had with Russians.

Then, at least if we can believe Danchenko, every time there was a discrepancy between what he said and others said, they were resolved in his favor.

To the contrary, not only did investigators and government officials repeatedly represent that Mr. Danchenko had been honest and forthcoming in his interviews, but also resolved discrepancies between his recollection of events and that of others in Mr. Danchenko’s favor.

Frothers blew over the implications of this just like they blew over Danchenko’s reference, in this same filing that, “The government had unfettered access to Mr. Danchenko for approximately four years following his first interview in January 2017” (a presumed allusion to his relationship with the FBI).

This statement about “discrepancies” between Danchenko’s versions and those of others would have to include the interview with Christopher Steele that Durham attempted (unsuccessfully) to introduce as evidence.

On September 18 and 19, 2017, FBI personnel from the Robert Mueller Special Counsel team interviewed Christopher Steele. Steele informed the FBI personnel, in part, that the defendant had collected election-related material in the United States for Orbis. As part of that undertaking, the defendant informed Steele that he met in person with Sergei Millian on two or three occasions – in New York and once in Charleston, South Carolina. The defendant subsequently informed the FBI that he had not in fact met with Millian on any occasion. On November 2, 2017, the defendant further stated to the FBI that Steele incorrectly believed the defendant had met in-person with Millian, and that he (the defendant) did not correct Steele in that misimpression.

Danchenko makes this even more explicitly clear later.

[W]hile the facts alleged in the indictment may show that [Steele] provided the FBI with an inaccurate statement about a meeting between Mr. Danchenko and [Millian] in New York, the facts also clearly show that Mr. Danchenko corrected the record for the FBI by unequivocally stating, on multiple occasions, that he had never met with [Millian] in New York and did not know whether he ever spoke on the phone with [Millian].

Most Republicans claim that Steele’s dossier was garbage. Danchenko maintains he had no role in writing it and Durham doesn’t seem to have any evidence to the contrary. Everything in Danchenko’s prosecution (and the entire DOJ IG Report on Carter Page) is consistent with the FBI believing Danchenko over Steele. And yet the frothers are sure that one of the first guys to raise questions about Steele (Bruce Ohr was actually the first, though he never gets credit for that) is suspect.

If Danchenko’s claim (made after reviewing discovery) is true — something I expect we’ll learn more about during the trial — Mueller, at least, came away from a series of interviews in fall 2017 crediting Danchenko’s claims about the construction of the Steele dossier over Steele’s own. I think the record is somewhat more equivocal than that. For example, Danchenko’s claim that he, “did not view his/her contacts as a network of sources, but rather as friends with whom he/she has conversations about current events and government relations,” is not credible; he knew he was getting paid for this information. But Danchenko showed proof of some of his other claims (for example, in texts with his friend Olga Galkina), and I assume whatever vetting FBI did — including the FISA 702 collection targeting Galkina — held up as well.

If you think Steele fucked over Trump, that should matter to you.

But Danchenko (and that anonymous FBI agent) make it clear Steele was not the only person who Danchenko helped the FBI to understand. Danchenko describes that the investigation into the dossier ended in November 2017.

The investigation into the Reports was ultimately completed by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, in or about November 2017

But he remained an approved source until October 2020. A Danchenko filing describes being interviewed “dozens of times,” of which roughly eight are included in the scope of the indictment against him (three in January, and one each in March, May, June, October, and November 2017), which therefore must be the only ones that pertain to the dossier. Durham’s project, with his conspiracy theory driven prosecution, is to claim that Danchenko lied at least once in every interview about the dossier.

That Danchenko was interviewed some 16 more times is news: it would suggest Danchenko’s was asked to explain more than just Steele’s reporting methods. It’s not even clear Durham would have reviewed all that reporting before he charged Danchenko; he’s not known to have investigated past the beginnings of the Mueller investigation, and Durham only produced a December 2017 draft opening memo for an investigation into Charles Dolan in the last month.

[W]hen agents drafted a December 2017 communication in support of opening an investigation into Dolan, they included the information Mr. Danchenko provided them as support for opening the investigation. 3

3 The December communication is highly exculpatory with regard to the essential element of materiality and it is not clear why it was only produced 30 days from the start of trial. It was produced as Jencks material (also late by the terms of the Court’s Order requiring all Jencks to be produced by September 1) but is obviously Brady evidence. 

Durham certainly didn’t bother learning all of Rodney Joffe’s contributions to the FBI before he made wild insinuations about him and got him discontinued as an FBI source, so it’s possible he did not for Danchenko either.

And that’s interesting given what is in the public record about related events.

Try to look at the Russian investigation not as an attempt to sink Trump (much of what we know about matters Danchenko may have cooperated on comes from before the investigation was predicated on Trump), and not as the precursor to the prosecutions we know happened. Try to consider the Russian investigation as an investigation in the wake of a hostile attack from a foreign power. And consider what the DOJ IG Report on Carter Page — a document most frothers treat with near biblical reverence and ignorance, the declassified footnotes to the report, the Bruce Ohr 302s, and details revealed in the Danchenko filings disclose about where the investigation into the dossier and related topics developed between December 2016 and September 2000.

In the period when Danchenko was brought on as an informant (and before the time Steele was interviewed) the FBI learned that Steele had problematic ties with Oleg Deripaska and his (and Danchenko’s) source network had been compromised by Russian spooks.

  • December 2016: As much as Steele was trying to push the dossier to the FBI, he was also trying to push Oleg Deripaska’s complaints that Manafort had stolen money from him
  • January 12, 2017: Another intelligence service relayed an inaccuracy about the Michael Cohen claims in the Steele Report, claims Danchenko sourced to his friend Galkina, who had gotten close to Dmitry Peskov via Dolan
  • January 24, 2017: Danchenko didn’t know that Deripaska was the one who paid Steele to investigate Manafort in spring 2016
  • February 14, 2017: Steele was working for certain attorneys, including the attorney for Oleg Deripaska
  • February 27, 2017: An individual with ties to Trump and Russia said the pee tape was the product of Russia infiltrating a source into the Steele network
  • March 2017: The Crossfire Hurricane considers the full import of the open counterintelligence investigation on Millian
  • June 2017: Someone affiliated with Oleg Deripaska learned of Steele’s project by early July 2016 — so before all but the first report
  • Early June 2017: Russian spooks became aware of Steele’s election investigation in early 2016 [this date is probably wrong but still an indication that Russia learned about the project from the start]
  • Early June 2017: FBI targeted Olga Galkina under Section 702 (and discovered her ties to Chuck Dolan and both their ties to Dmitry Peskov)
  • December 2017: FBI at least considered opening an investigation into Dolan
  • February 2018: The reason Manafort shared campaign information in August 2016 was in an effort to get “whole” with Deripaska; Kilimnik shared a clever plot to defeat Hillary
  • April 2018: Treasury sanctions Deripaska, among others
  • May 2018: More on how Kilimnik’s August meeting pertained to a plan to beat Hillary
  • September 2000: Deripaska’s US associate, Olga Shriki, appears before grand jury

By 2019, the IG Report makes clear, there were abundant reasons to suspect that Deripaska had played a key role in injecting disinformation into the dossier. In the earlier days of the investigation, key people on the Crossfire Hurricane team didn’t know of Steele’s ties to Deripaska, something that, “could have indicated that Steele was being used in a Russian ‘controlled operation’ to influence perceptions (i.e., a disinformation campaign).” Until the way Deripaska was working both sides — increasing Manafort’s legal jeopardy while using his desperation to get his cooperation with the election operation — became clear, Deripaska’s ties to the dossier didn’t make sense, as Bill Priestap explained.

[I]f that’s the theory [that Russian Oligarch 1 ran a disinformation campaign through [Steele] to the FBI], then I’m struggling with what the goal was. So, because, obviously, what [Steele] reported was not helpful, you could argue, to then [candidate] Trump. And if you guys recall, nobody thought then candidate Trump was going to win the election. Why the Russians, and [Russian Oligarch 1] is supposed to be close, very close to the Kremlin, why the Russians would try to denigrate an opponent that the intel community later said they were in favor of who didn’t really have a chance at winning, I’m struggling, with, when you know the Russians, and this I know from my Intelligence Community work: they favored Trump, they’re trying to denigrate Clinton, and they wanted to sow chaos. I don’t know why you’d run a disinformation campaign to denigrate Trump on the side.

But as the Manafort side of the equation became clear, it all made more sense. And the implication is that by 2019, that’s what the FBI understood to have happened.

Chuck Grassley was the first person to start raising public questions about Deripaska’s role in the dossier. Similarly, he was among the first to raise concerns about disinformation and the dossier.

The more likely explanation for Danchenko’s CHS status is one he and other Republicans should welcome: that the FBI investigated how the dossier was used as disinformation. Danchenko was fed a lot of shit, from people (like Galkina) he trusted implicitly; that shit happened to be tailored to sow maximal dissension in US politics. And then Steele, unbeknownst to Danchenko, packaged it up inside exaggerations.

If it bothers you that the dossier was larded with disinformation — and it should bother people on both sides of the aisle — then you should welcome FBI’s effort to understand how that happened. And one crucial step in that process is to understand how the network behind it tied right back to the Russians who played central roles in the 2016 attack on US democracy. Danchenko would have been a key guide to that information.

38 replies
  1. Zirc says:

    EW, you have always expressed doubts about Steele’s dossier. This post highlights issues with it. Is there anything it you consider reliable?


    • BobCon says:

      One thing that makes that question complicated is that pieces of it were true in isolation but deeply misleading in context. Thinking in terms of simple reliability misses the bigger questions of how it played out.

      This is a good post on one example — Michael Cohen was in fact hiding communications with the Kremlin, but not at the time and place conveyed by Steele.


    • Jeffrey Gallup says:

      1. I’m interested in whether the Dolan count against Danchenko requires a not guilty verdict because Danchenko was asked by the FBI whether he had “talked” to Dolan about dossier content when it seems provable only that they “exchanged emails” on material (or related issues) that apparently ended up in the dossier.

      2. Re the Sergei Millian “anonymous call” allegations, I can accept that the statements that Danchenko “believed that the call was from Millian, but was not sure” (D’s consistent position with the FBI – are contradicted by the flat assertion in Danchenko’s subsequent email that “Sergei doesn’t respond”. The question is which one is true.

      If the email is taken as absolutely true, then a case can be made that the statements to the FBI were false. If there was no call from Millian, per Danchenko’s email, then it can be argued that Danchenko never believed there was and was never unsure about the matter. He could have varied in his belief over time, of course, but there’s no clear evidence of that and I bet Danchenko would now say he always thought the call was from Millian and always was unsure about it.

      Which lie is more likely: to the FBI when prison could result, or to an intermediary as a tactical necessity to promote a further discussion with Millian (and more paydays). Danchenko had to pretend there had been no contact in the email in order to ask the intermediary to intervene with Millian again. To say there might have been contact with Millian would be to betray his source’s desire for anonymity and probably turn off the intermediary as well. Similarly, Danchenko would not want to mention the phone call in his direct follow-up email to Millian, as that would out Millian and likely mean no further contact. The defense has already said much of this.

    • bidrec says:

      I would ignore the substance of the Steele Dossier simply because Paul Singer walked away from it. He is not one for half measures.

  2. brian gister says:

    As possible typos, in the last sentence of the paragraph beginning, “Try to look at the Russian investigation not as an attempt to sink Trump (much of what…,” you write, “the investigation into the dossier and related topics developed between December 2016 and September 2000.”
    Should that date be 2020?
    The same problematic date appears in the last of the listed bullet points: “September 2000: Deripaska’s US associate, Olga Shriki, appears before grand jury.”

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; it’s been quite a while since you commented as far as I can tell, you may have forgotten you originally commented here as “bcgister.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

  3. matt fischer says:

    Typo: “January 24, 2017: Danchenko didn’t know that Manafort [Oleg Deripaska] was the one who paid Steele to investigate Manafort in spring 2016″

  4. joel fisher says:

    Seems to me that if you want to help Trump and get away with it, you have some easily detectable–but partially accurate–BS showing your guilt. Then you allow the RW press to run with the “If one thing is BS, it’s all BS” ball and keep running. After all, logic tells us if Michael Cohen didn’t go to Prague, there was no collusion. Meanwhile, the cowardly “both sides” press doesn’t pay any, or little, attention to the fact that the central part of the BS Steele dossier–Russia was helping Trump and Trump cooperated–was true, just not appropriately sourced.

  5. Ginevra diBenci says:

    ” … and they wanted to sow chaos.” Priestap’s words sum up why Trump’s “Russia Hoax” crusade is enduringly dangerous. By making the Crossfire Hurricane investigation about himself in the public’s mind, Trump managed to elide Putin’s much larger goal, and significant success that continues to this day. Putin set out to exacerbate tensions in this country; a Hillary victory, contested and assailed by Trump, might have accomplished that just as well.

    I hope people heed your important injunction, Dr. Wheeler, to see Crossfire Hurricane not as an attack on Trump but rather a scrambling attempt to understand a much larger disinformation campaign. That campaign is ongoing, and handmaidens like Ron Johnson and Tucker Carlson continue to feed it. When Tommy Tuberville issues his racist altar calls, he is doing Putin’s work: bringing America to its foul knees.

    • Frank Anon says:

      Very true words, and every day there seem to be crumbs of data to show something profoundly bad is occurring, hidden in plain sight. Whether its Viktor Orban positing that only Trump can fix it in Ukraine, North Korea’s seemingly relentless nuclear escalation, far-right political gains and the dissipation of the “rules” in our polity, it just feels like some kind of gambit is underway internationally, fed and supported by the kind of propaganda that Crossfire Hurricane was confronting. I know I’m deep enough in this mentally to think that Tulsi Gabbard’s announcement meant something (it likely did not, but who knows today). But the propaganda, and the minds collapsing to it, means everything

      • Rayne says:

        It’s an ongoing stream of attacks on democracy and its form of governance which requires transparency and oversight.

        The far right wants to retain autocratic power in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world where its exclusionary revanchism is a reflexive response to a modern-to-postmodern world.

        The plutonomy/plutarchy supports the regression because it can’t calculate for the future and make a profit on it; it made its fortunes based on the system it bought and built in the past. Its dark twin element the oligarchic organized crime syndicates simply want a world in which they can smash and grab unfettered, with the gloss of normality above it all.

        Gabbard’s announcement is of a piece with that narcissist Musk’s representation of Putin’s interests. They’re both useful idiots who are aiding the plutonarchy and the organized crime syndicate masquerading as a state.

        We should not pin this all on Russia, either. KSA has seized the opportunity to use Russia as a front for its own kind of thievery and violence. Other nations are under the sway of this anti-democratic movement, like Brazil, and can’t be trusted.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          You’re right, Rayne, it’s not just Russia. The Saudis seem to be taking their best shot at tipping the midterms right now. And the forces of authoritarian autocracy are unifying worldwide, under a banner of “faith” and “values.” But when it comes to undermining the US via disinformation, the Russians started something that now seems unstoppable.

      • MB says:

        “An elitist cabal of warmongers”

        Really Tulsi ??

        She’s been as much of a Democrat her entire career as Kyrsten Sinema has been since she became a senator, i.e. not much at all.

        ‘bye Tulsi !! [insert famous saying about doors and the way out here]

        • MB says:

          Hmmm…just learned that Tulsi was a substitute host on Tucker Carlson’s show recently.

          So she now joins GG (and others) in the Fox-friendly opinion/entertainment universe ?

        • Rayne says:

          I am shocked, SHOCKED that a horseshoe leftist* would join other horseshoe leftists on a right-wing network.

          *a.k.a. crypto-fascist

        • 808HL says:

          I would never consider our former H2 US Rep a leftist, horseshoe or otherwise. She is an opportunist, liar and hypocrite.

          “If the nesting doll fits” is the best current description of her.

        • Rayne says:

          Being an opportunist, liar, and hypocrite may be mutually compatible with being a crypto-fascist.

          Oh, and a nesting doll would make for a perfect model combining these features.

        • 808Hl says:

          Crypto-fascist is a perfect description of Tulsi Gabbard.

          She has never been a Leftist or even Progressive, it was all a lie that worked to get her elected and onto the bigger stage.

  6. HikaakiH says:

    Added tabloid detail: The UK business man in hot water for allegedly working around sanctions on behalf of Deripaska is Graham Bonham-Carter, who is a cousin of the noted actress Helena Bonham-Carter.

  7. William says:

    In Sussmann trial, you were able to get many exhibits and put them online. Are you going to be able to get exhibits in this trial and put them online?

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “William,” “Liam,” “Will,” “Bill,” “Billy,” and “BillyBob.” Your unique username should contain a minimum of 8 letters. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there. “William” is NOT going to work as a user name here. Check out Rayne’s advisories. Differentiate your name if you wish to continue.

      • P J Evans says:

        should I be fixing mine?

        [No, you should not at this time. You have +11K comments and have been here +10 years whereas a commenter like “William” arrived only today and has no comment history. This applies as well to a number of commenters like harpie and klynn as they have long comment histories which would be nearly impossible to spoof. If you have more questions please email me directly — you should still have my address. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  8. JTarrant says:

    When you consider that the greatest benefit of The Steele Dossier was as a distraction from the investigation into Russian interference and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians (Rosenstein’s task to Mueller), it makes sense that Russian intel would have wanted to feed disinformation to Steele that would create in advance a “hoax” narrative. The dossier itself was unknown to the public until after the election, but Russia’s hacking and social media activities were visible in real time damaging Hillary Clinton.

  9. Franktoo says:

    EW: I find it exceedingly unlikely that Russia would allow the goal of sowing dissension via Steele to potentially interfere with Russia’s goal of getting Trump elected president. Russian intelligence had been monitoring Trump for decades and their twisted minds likely understood his pathological nature far better than 99+% of Americans. If the Russians hadn’t already decided to help Trump, the foreign policy campaign advisors Trump picked in March 2016 would have made a decision to strongly support Trump a no-brainer.

    Of course, I and possibly many EW readers didn’t believe the US would ever elect someone like Trump, so confirmation bias made it impossible for me to retain polling data that showed how viable a candidate Trump really was. However, I have reviewed those polls and learned that Trump was tied with HRC in January, and late July (post-convention), and was only about 2% down in late September (with the Podesta email release coming in October). Thanks to Manafort, the Russians knew about Trump’s plan to win the Electoral College in the Rust Belt and had received supporting polling data.


    Danchenko made his first trip to Russia in June (very soon after Steele was hired by Fusion). Even if the Russians had a source inside Orbitz, it likely would have been impossible to get approval to launch a disinformation campaign, identify Danchenko’s sub-sources and plant disinformation on them in time for Danchenko’s first trip (and Steele’s June 20 reporting). Since we know that Cohen and Dolan and even Hope Hawkins (and probably Trump himself) had heard rumors about a sex tape before the Dossier was published, we know beyond any doubt that Danchenko COULD have heard the same rumors during his June trip, so this is not Russian disinformation IMO. Of course, rumors about a sex tape don’t prove one exists. (Trump’s past behavior and his uncharacteristic fawning deference towards Putin suggest those rumors are true.)

    So, if you were Putin and had the opportunity to sow dissension and disinformation via the newly discovered Steele operation, what would you do? Disinformation discrediting Steele would help both of your objectives, but planting disinformation harming Trump could backfire if you thought Trump had a real chance of winning. The clearest sign of disinformation in Steele’s reports is the false story about Cohen’s trip to Prague dated October 20. However, that information discredited Steele and might have helped if Steele’s allegations received widespread publicity before the election.

    The Access Hollywood tape appeared on October 7, negating the release of Podesta’s email by WikiLeaks and HRC’s lead soon grew to about 5%. HRC also had a 5+% lead for most of August. Would Putin could have given up on Trump’s election at these times and sowed disinformation harmful to Trump? .

    In any case, your suspicions that the Russians planted negative information about Trump on Steele should be considered in light of: a) practicality, b) the relative importance of Putin’s two objectives, c) the polls at the time a decision was made, d) whether the disinformation helped or harmed Trump, and e) the limited window of opportunity to plant disinformation on Steele and influence the election. The knowledge that Deripasha learned about Steele’s activities and your (usually well reasoned and researched) assessment that the Dossier was loaded with disinformation would benefit from more context.

    Respectfully, Frank

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump has amply demonstrated that he needn’t be elected as dog catcher to wreak havoc in the US and the world, which is what Russia really wants.

      • viget says:

        I’d go further. What makes us think Deripaska was necessarily in lockstep with what was in the best interest of Russia (read: Putin)?

        I think Deripaska is best understood as an n-tuple agent…clearly Russia was one of the poles. But I’d wager so was China, so was criminal elements/oligarchs in Ukraine, and likely other world superpowers.

        In the end, Deripaska was trying to make himself most useful to as many players as possible, without the others knowing or being able to stop his treachery.

        He is the consummate Game of Thrones player…let us hope he meets the same end. I liken him to an evil Varys, who cares not for the realm, but for his own selfish desires.

  10. Zinsky123 says:

    The Danchenko trial will be interesting as an observation platform to observe Durham and his repulsive legal team. It’s obvious this trial is being staged not because of the compelling and egregious legal violations that Danchenko committed but to act as a national venue for Trump and his minion’s self-pitying, boo-hoo, non-stop victimization schtick. “Trump is so picked on”, they say. If Trump didn’t commit so many criminal and unConstitutional acts, he wouldn’t be so picked on. Let the pity party begin!

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Which “compelling and egregious legal violations” of Danchenko’s are you talking about? Have you read Durham’s shoddy excuse for an indictment, or are you talking about something else?

      • BirdGardener says:

        I read that in context as ‘not because of the compelling and egregious legal violations (that don’t exist).’

  11. Yargelsnogger says:

    When it comes to Deripaska’s motive to inject scandalous anti-Trump information into the dossier, one reason that seemed logical to me, but I haven’t seen discussed (even to debunk), would be the value in discrediting it.

    Perhaps this is a case of ‘hindsight is 20/20’, but if Deripaska learned about the dossier and knew that Steele had started to collect some information about Russia’s operations, wouldn’t he have had an incentive to throw crap in there to misdirect investigations or discredit the dossier by association? Like implicating Carter Page to throw investigators off the scent of Manafort, or outrageous stuff like the pee-tapes that won’t pan out…very publicly. I don’t know what pieces of the dossier came from Deripaska, and I don’t recall seeing those details here (and may only be available to the FBI for all I know), but I would want to know what specific items came from Deripaska or his creatures to better asses motives.

    Am I wildly off base here, or maybe missed some detailed analysis of the sourcing of Steele’s work, but couldn’t Deripaka’s motive been to orchestrate exactly what happened? IE: Inject some provably false stuff into the report that could be relatively easily refuted and cast doubt on the whole project.

    Also, if Deripaska wanted to influence the dossier, wouldn’t he have to have fed something newsworthy to Steele? If he (or his cutouts) say they don’t know anything, Steele keeps looking for information elsewhere and might uncover more reliable sources that point to the real interference activities. Apologies if I missed some analysis that touches on this over the last few years, but these were just a couple questions/doubts that have been nagging at me.

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