Russian source for Steele’s Trump dossier arrested by US authorities

A Russian analyst who was the main source for Christopher Steele’s dossier on Donald Trump and Moscow has been arrested by US authorities, the justice department said on Thursday.

Igor Danchenko now faces charges as part of the investigation by John Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to examine the origins of the FBI’s investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Danchenko collected much of the intelligence behind Steele’s dossier during three trips to Russia in summer and autumn 2016. He was the chief source behind its most incendiary allegation: that Trump was compromised during a trip to Moscow in November 2013 for the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

Trump has vehemently denied the claim. Last summer, however, a report by the Senate intelligence committee said that the FSB spy agency presided over a network of secret cameras inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel where Trump stayed, including in guest bedrooms. An FSB intelligence officer was permanently on site, it said.

The five-page indictment released on Thursday accuses Danchenko of lying repeatedly to the FBI when interviewed in 2017 – a criminal offense. These include over his dealings with an unnamed US PR executive with close links to the Democrats. The executive’s information found its way into some of the dossier’s memos, a fact Danchenko allegedly concealed.

The FBI further accuses Danchenko of making up a conversation with Sergei Millian, a Russian American property broker with links to Trump, who appears in the dossier as “source D” . He appears to have been credited by Danchenko with the claim that Trump watched sex workers perform “golden showers” by urinating on each other at the hotel.

In 2019, the special counsel Robert Mueller said no criminal wrongdoing had taken place between the Trump campaign and Moscow. But Mueller noted that there were multiple contacts in 2016 between Russian spies and Trump aides. The Kremlin had run a “sweeping and systemic” operation to help Trump win, Mueller said.

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