Day 1 of the Igor Danchenko Trial

by Techno Fog, The Reactionary:

We have the transcripts from day 1 of the Igor Danchenko trial. Pretrial matters and jury selection took up all of yesterday morning; openings and the prosecution’s case-in-chief, led by Special Counsel Durham, started in the afternoon.

Let’s dig in and start with the opening statements.

Special Counsel Prosecutor Michael Keilty opened with explanations of Danchenko’s lies to the FBI and discussed some FBI misconduct:

In fact, he went so far as to accuse the FBI of engaging in “troubling conduct” based on the Steele dossier and, as an extension, Danchenko’s misrepresentations:

Special Counsel Keilty also provided context as to why Danchenko was opened as a confidential human source:

How will the government prove part of its case against Danchenko? Keilty lays it out:

  1. Danchenko’s e-mails “The defendant’s very own words will show that there was never a call to say nothing of a meeting in New York which Millian supposedly skipped out on.”
  2. “The defendant’s own phone records will make it abundantly clear to you that he never received a call from somebody he claimed to believe was Sergei Millian.”

Being a false statement case, the Special Counsel must prove that the lies were material. The Special Counsel provides insight into how it will meet that burden:

  • “You will learn that lies can cause the FBI to wield their powers too aggressively, and you will also learn that lies can cause the FBI to not act aggressively enough. And you will see examples of both — both of those situations here in this trial.”
  • If Danchenko had been truthful, the FBI would have been under an obligation to correct its own misrepresentations to the FISA court.

Danchenko’s Opening

Opening statements also provided insight into Danchenko’s defenses. To summarize, they will argue Danchenko was being truthful and that his purported lies – if they were lies – were immaterial.

In doing so, they provided some new information on FBI malfeasance:

Steven Somma (who was “primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions in the FISA applications”) told Agent Auten “not to probe or ask a lot of follow-up questions with Mr. Danchenko” in order to get him to cooperate.

They also stated that Danchenko provided “critical intelligence to the Russian government’s efforts to conduct influence operations in the U.S. . . He provided the FBI [] insight into individuals, into areas it was otherwise lacking.” (We suspect this might have to do with Maria Butina.)

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