EXCLUSIVE: Former President Trump’s team said Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe has become "one of the most critical efforts" to restore transparency in the U.S. government, telling Fox News that the "drip-drip" of "damning" information is exposing Democrat wrongdoing and corruption while encouraging all Americans to watch for "the next shoe to drop."
The comments come after Durham, in a filing unsealed this week, revealed that the FBI paid Igor Danchenko, the Russian national who has been identified as the primary sub-source for the infamous anti-Trump Steele dossier, to be a confidential human source for the bureau from January 2017 through October 2020.
Durham charged Danchenko last year with five counts of making false statements to the FBI. The charges stem from statements Danchenko made relating to the sources he used in providing information to an investigative firm in the United Kingdom.
"The drip-drip of damning information coming from Durham’s investigation is exposing an undeniable truth: the Democrats and the Democrat-controlled government was guilty of everything they accused President Trump of doing," Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich told Fox News Thursday. "It’s clear our government has been failing us, the institutions have become compromised by partisans and activists."
He added: "That’s exactly why the Durham investigation has become one of the most critical efforts to restore transparency, integrity and accountability to the process, and every American should be watching and waiting for the next shoe to drop."
Despite the FBI paying Danchenko to serve as a confidential human source during the Trump administration—and during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election—Danchenko was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011.
That FBI investigation into Danchenko focused on his contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers.
Meanwhile, Danchenko served as the primary source for the dossier, which was commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS. It contained allegations of purported coordination between Trump and the Russian government. It was authored by Christopher Steele, an ex-British intelligence officer.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the dossier through the law firm Perkins Coie.
The Justice Department's inspector general in 2019 revealed that the dossier helped serve as the basis for warrants obtained against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The Justice Department admitted in 2020 that the FISA warrants to surveil Page, when stripped of the FBI's misinformation, did not meet the necessary legal threshold and never should have been issued.
Durham is seeking to admit evidence in Danchenko’s trial, which is set to begin Oct. 11, that would discredit the "lurid" Ritz Carlton Moscow allegations against Trump contained in the salacious dossier.
Durham has argued that the government "should be permitted to present evidence of the defendant's false statement regarding his sourcing of the Ritz-Carlton Allegations as direct evidence of the charged crime."
Durham has indicted three people as part of his investigation: Danchenko in November 2021, Michael Sussmann in September 2021, and Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020.
Sussmann was found not guilty in June.
Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering an email about Carter Page to say that he was "not a source" for another government agency, even though Page has said he was a source for the CIA.
The Justice Department relied on Clinesmith’s assertion as it submitted its third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Clinesmith pleaded guilty and in 2021 was sentenced to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service.
Sources have told Fox News that Durham’s investigation is ongoing.