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FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million to prove dossier claims, senior FBI analyst testifies


By Marshall Cohen

Shortly before the 2016 election, the FBI offered retired British spy Christopher Steele “up to $1 million” to prove the explosive allegations in his dossier about Donald Trump, a senior FBI analyst testified Tuesday.

The cash offer was made during an October 2016 meeting between Steele and several top FBI officials who were trying to corroborate Steele’s claims that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to win the election.

FBI supervisory analyst Brian Auten testified that Steele never got the money because he could not “prove the allegations.”

Auten also said Steele refused to provide the names of any of his sources during that meeting, and that Steele didn’t give the FBI anything during that meeting that corroborated the claims in his explosive dossier.

Auten was testifying at the criminal trial of Igor Danchenko, a primary source for Steele’s dossier, who is being prosecuted by special counsel John Durham. Danchenko has pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI.

CNN previously reported that the FBI reimbursed some expenses for Steele, who had been an FBI informant.

Durham, a Trump-era prosecutor who is looking for misconduct in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, has used some of the proceedings Tuesday to criticize the FBI’s handling of some of the early steps in the Russia probe. Durham handled many of the in-court arguments on Tuesday and personally questioned Auten on the witness stand — a rare move for a special counsel and former US attorney.

The dossier contained unverified allegations about Trump’s connections to Russia, including his alleged business dealings, rumors of lurid trysts in Moscow and claims that his campaign collaborated with the Kremlin in 2016. Trump vehemently denied the claims, and Steele’s work has lost a significant amount of credibility over the years. Today, the dossier is largely seen as an unproven collection of rumors and gossip.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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