Special counsel John Durham clashed with a witness Wednesday at the trial of a key source for the Steele Dossier, a document used to push claims that former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Durham pressed FBI analyst Brian Auten after a cross-examination by lawyers for Igor Danchenko revealed Auten gave different answers to a Senate committee and the Justice Department’s inspector general than he did to Durham, CNN reported.
Danchenko faces charges of lying to FBI agents who were seeking to verify the dossier, which was used to justify an investigation into the Trump campaign over alleged ties with Russia.
During the cross-examination, Auten stood by his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the inspector general, in which he defended Danchenko’s reliability as a source for the FBI.
This prompted Durham to bring up the fact that Auten faced suspension for his involvement in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process that was used to secure warrants for surveillance on Trump associate Carter Page.
Durham also noted that Auten mischaracterized George Papadopoulos, who plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI in 2016, as a “high-level” advisor to Trump.
Auten testified Tuesday that the FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million if he could corroborate the claims in the dossier, but Steele never did.
The revelation prompted criticism from some conservatives.
“Why do you have to give an American $1 million to tell the truth and do what is right for the country?” Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner asked Thursday on “Outnumbered.”
Durham secured a guilty plea from Kevin Clinesmith in 2021 on charges relating to altering an email used in applications for surveillance warrants under the FISA process. A federal judge sentenced Clinesmith to probation and 400 hours of community service.
A jury acquitted Michael Sussman, an attorney for the Clinton campaign, in May on similar charges.
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