The notorious ‘pee-pee tapes hoax’ is back in the news again, as Special counsel John Durham requested a federal court to issue 30 subpoenas for testimony in the October trial against Igor Danchenko, the British ex-spy who was Christopher Steele’s alleged main source for the discredited dossier.
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The fantasy report authored by Danchenko, known as the ‘Steele dossier, was a favorite weapon of the left, used to discredit Trump and his associates.
Danchenko was charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI about the discredited dossier.
Durham said FBI interviews with Danchenko “raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting” and concluded Danchenko “contradicted the allegations of a ‘well-developed conspiracy’ in” Steele’s dossier.
Durham’s brief court filing on Wednesday requested the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to issue “thirty subpoenas” for an “appearance before said Court at Alexandria, Virginia,” starting on Oct. 11 “to testify on behalf of the United States.” The potential witnesses are not named, but a copy of the blank subpoena reads that “YOU ARE COMMANDED to appear.”
“Danchenko, a Russian-born lawyer and researcher who has lived and worked in the Washington, D.C., area for many years, was indicted in November on a charge of lying to the bureau. The trial against him is Durham’s next big test,” the Washington Examiner reported.
The Steele Dossier was a terrible hoax from the beginning and showed how willing the US Media was to push fake stories about Trump. After Danchenko was charged, even NPR had to admit that the lapdog media was in error to have posted the fake news.
From NPR Nov. 2021 report:
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Right. So the dossier included a lot of accusations about Trump, a lot of salacious accusations about Trump’s sex life.
It was put together by a former British intelligence official for a consulting firm hired by Democrats. And it claimed that Russia had cultivated Trump as a target for years and that the Russians were likely blackmailing him.
The dossier alleged the Trump campaign was also conspiring with Russia in the 2016 election to damage Hillary Clinton. This dossier was misused by FBI agents to surveil a U.S. citizen. And a lot of the specific accusations in the dossier were even denied at the time. They looked shaky as time moved forward and have since been discredited, yet they echoed for several years.
MARTINEZ: Now, the Justice Department has charged that key source for the dossier, Russian analyst Igor Danchenko, with lying the FBI. What does this mean for news stories that relied on his claims?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News and The Washington Post had explicitly based some reporting on Danchenko’s claims in the dossier. Each identified a Russian business figure with ties to Trump as the main source for Danchenko, seemingly giving the dossier greater credibility.
Federal prosecutors now say that Danchenko never spoke to that Russian figure and that he also relied on a PR consultant with ties to the Clintons who was spreading gossip.
The Post, ABC News and The Journal are revisiting those past stories. And The Post’s new executive editor, Sally Buzbee, acknowledges it contradicts some of the previous reports.
MARTINEZ: And that’s far from the only example of flawed reporting, David. What are some of the others?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, look, there are examples of specific stories, and then there’s just the sheer volume of it.
In 2016, the question of the Steele dossier was bouncing around journalistic and national security circles.
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In January 2017, then-BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith posted the entire document. He said it was in the public’s interest to know what federal officials were worried about, even while noting that its allegations hadn’t been verified. Think of McClatchy, which – the owner of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and other major metro newspapers, that news organization hasn’t retracted two separate stories claiming Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin agents in Prague. He didn’t.
MSNBC and CNN gave a ton of airtime to former intelligence officials they had hired as pundits who gave it credence, while NPR stayed away from specifics because it couldn’t verify them. But let’s be fair, this network also invited on lawmakers and others who invoked its themes. All of which plays into Trump’s claims that the press was out to get him. The Steele report drove a lot of coverage, and I don’t think you’ve seen news organizations sufficiently wrestle with that.
“Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in December 2019 that the Steele dossier played a “central and essential” role in the FBI’s effort to obtain wiretap orders against former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The dossier was created after Steele was hired by Fusion GPS, which was itself hired by Perkins Coie and Marc Elias, the general counsel for Clinton’s campaign. Sussmann worked for Perkins at the time too, and both he and Elias met with Steele in 2016,” The Washington Examiner reported, proving the October trial is likely to be quite revealing about the players in the massive hoax against Trump and his associates.