FBI handler: Danchenko didn't know his report would end up in Steele dossier
Danchenko faces five federal counts of lying to the FBI in its investigation into possible Russia-Trump campaign collusion.
During the third day of Special Counsel John Durham's trial of Russian intelligence analyst Igor Danchenko, the defendant's former FBI handler said that Danchenko didn't know the rumors he compiled into reports for Christopher Steele would be presented as factual.
As defense attorney Stuart Sears cross-examined FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson, the former handler of Danchenko said that the Russian analyst told him that he wasn't aware Steele would take his reports based on rumors and turn them into the dossier. Danchenko wasn't even aware of the dossier until it was published by Buzzfeed in January 2017, Helson said.
Helson also testified that Danchenko was "shocked" that Steele presented his reports in the manner that he did.
The FBI agent also said that he had told Danchenko that he should scrub his phone to prevent anyone from finding out about his relationships with both Steele and the FBI.
The trial was also dominated by witness testimony from Democrat operative Charles Dolan.
Helson and Dolan are the second and third of four scheduled witnesses to testify in the trial, which is now expected to conclude Monday.
Danchenko faces five federal counts of lying to the FBI in its investigation into possible Russia-Trump campaign collusion, which included the compilation of the dossier.
Helson was not part of the official FBI investigation of the alleged collusion – code-named Crossfire Hurricane – but was given questions by part of the investigative team to ask Danchenko about the dossier.
His job was to keep Danchenko talking about the dossier and get more information. However, Helson never got corroborative evidence for the dossier nor its sub-source information.
Helson also testified that Danchenko said he discussed "nothing specific" with Dolan regarding the dossier. The special counsel is prosecuting Danchenko for allegedly lying to the FBI about claiming he didn't talk with Dolan regarding the dossier.
Durham and his legal team in opening arguments disputed what exactly Dolan had said to Danchenko and what if any part of the conversation was material to the case.
Dolan suggested that what he told Danchenko was already published news. He also said he wanted to make it look like he was helping Danchenko because Danchenko was helping him.
When cross-examined by criminal defense lawyer Stuart Sears, Dolan testified that information in the dossier that appeared similar to what was in an email between him and Danchenko was in fact not from him – because it (again) had already been reported.