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The Russian links to the figures behind Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier have come into clearer focus following special counsel John Durham’s indictments.
Steele was working for Vladimir Putin-linked oligarch Oleg Deripaska before, during, and after his time targeting then-candidate Donald Trump, and the former MI6 agent was hired to put the dossier together by an opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, which was simultaneously working for Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya of the now-infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. The Clinton campaign hired Fusion.
Steele’s main source, U.S.-based Russian national Igor Danchenko, allegedly relied upon a network of Russian contacts, undermined key collusion claims when interviewed by the FBI, and had previously been investigated as a possible threat to national security due to potential Russian intelligence contacts. And, according to Durham’s false statements charges, he anonymously sourced a claim about Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to longtime Hillary Clinton ally Chuck Dolan, who spent many years, including 2016, doing work for Russian businesses and the Russian government.
Durham's investigation appears to be painting the picture that many of the biggest Trump-Russia collusion claims can be traced back to the Clinton campaign and Democratic operatives.
Chuck Ross on May 16, 2019
Christopher Steele told a State Department official a former Russian spy chief and a top Kremlin adviser were involved in an operation to collect compromising information on Donald Trump.
The State Department official’s notes also indicate Steele claimed the Russians, Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Vladislav Surkov, were “sources” for the dossier.
There is no evidence the compromising material mentioned in the dossier actually exists, raising questions about whether Steele was given disinformation.
Trubnikov, the former head of the SVR, also has links to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who had contact with the Trump campaign.