Special counsel John Durham filed a pre-trial motion in limine on Sept. 13 in his false statements case against Igor Danchenko, the primary sub-source of Christopher Steele’s dossier on Donald Trump. Danchenko, who is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI about his sources for the dossier, had earlier filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him.
Motions in limine are routine motions that are used to determine what evidence may and may not be used at trial. Danchenko’s trial is scheduled to begin next month.
However, Durham’s motion is anything but routine and contains a series of stunning revelations about Danchenko.
Perhaps the most stunning disclosure is that Danchenko was given confidential human source (CHS) status by the FBI in March 2017. Notably, this was after Danchenko had disowned the Steele dossier in a January 2017 FBI interview, having admitted that it was based on gossip and rumors. Given the admission, there was no legitimate reason to extend the protections of CHS status to Danchenko, who no longer had any bona fide value to the FBI’s investigation into alleged Trump–Russia collusion.
In fact, the FBI’s investigation ought to have ended as soon as Danchenko disclosed the true provenance of Steele’s reporting.
The FBI’s goal in giving Danchenko the highly coveted CHS status appears to have been to take Danchenko off the grid. As a CHS, Danchenko enjoyed special protections and privileges. Crucially, the FBI was able to use his status to conceal Danchenko and his disclosures from congressional inquiries, such as the investigation by then-Rep. Devin Nunes led by Kash Patel. Other inquiries, such as Freedom of Information Act requests, could similarly be stonewalled by reference to the “sources and methods” justification for concealing the identity, and even the existence, of a CHS.
By Hans Mahncke