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FBI Analyst Explains Why the Agency Offered Christopher Steele $1 Million

The FBI offered to pay ex-British spy Christopher Steele “up to $1 million” to prove allegations in his dossier about former President Trump, a senior FBI analyst testified Tuesday.


The cash offer came shortly before the 2016 presidential election during an overseas meeting between Steele and FBI agents, FBI supervisory analyst Brian Auten said during questioning by Special Counsel John Durham, noting that the money never came because the allegations could not be proven.

Still, the allegations were included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.

Auten’s testimony came during the trial of Igor Danchenko, a primary source for the dossier, who has pleaded not guilty to five counts of making false statements to the FBI.


Auten also said the FBI reached out to other intelligence agencies to see if they could corroborate information relating to dossier, which was commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie.

Auten repeatedly admitted under questioning from Durham that the FBI never received corroboration of the information in the Steele dossier, but he stressed that it was used in the initial FISA application and in the three subsequent renewals.

The special master currently reviewing records seized by the FBI in its unprecedented raid of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, Judge Raymond Dearie, who at the time sat on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, signed off on the final warrant to surveil Page.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in 2019, said that the dossier served as the basis for the FISA warrants against Page.


Danchenko's trial is the last one expected in Durham's probe before the special counsel finishes his final report in the coming months. Attorney General Merrick Garland has pledged to release "as much as possible" to the public. 

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