In a filing for a case regarding Igor Danchenko, a Russia analyst behind much of the Steele dossier, Durham motioned for the court to adjourn the deadline for producing classified evidence, along with a few other matters, saying:
To adjourn the deadline for production of classified discovery, which is currently set for March 29, 2022. The government also respectfully requests that the Court reset the CIPA filing schedule in accordance with the proposed schedule set forth below. The government has consulted counsel with counsel for the defendant and they do not object to the adjournment and extension of filing deadlines. The proposed dates would not result in an adjournment of the October 11, 2022 trial date or any other associated deadlines.
Why’s that important? Because of what comes next. After describing what he wants from the motion, Durham said:
To date, the government has produced over 60,000 documents in unclassified discovery. A portion of these documents were originally marked “classified” and the government has worked with the appropriate declassification authorities to produce the documents in an unclassified format.
Durham then also describes why he needs the extension, saying:
However, recent world events in Ukraine have contributed to delays in the production of classified discovery. The officials preparing and reviewing the documents at the FBI and intelligence agencies are heavily engaged in matters related to Ukraine. Nevertheless, the government will produce a large volume of classified discovery this week and will continue its efforts to produce documents in classified discovery on a rolling basis…
60,000 documents, a veritable treasure trove of information about the goings on behind the Steele dossier. Though Durham is saying he needs more time to produce all the documents (no real surprise given the slow-moving nature of his investigation so far), the delay is reasonable given world events.
Describing the importance of the case and how it might connect to the Clinton Campaign, the Washington Examiner reports that:
The case revolves around Igor Danchenko, a Russian researcher based in the United States, who was charged in November with five counts of making false statements to the FBI in 2017 about the information he provided to Steele for his discredited dossier during the 2016 election. Danchenko, who has pleaded not guilty, signed a waiver in December agreeing to be defended by the same law firm representing members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign despite conflict of interest concerns raised by Durham.
Steele was working for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, before, during, and after his time targeting then-candidate Donald Trump. The former MI6 agent was hired to put his anti-Trump dossier together by an opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, which was simultaneously working for Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya of the now-infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. His research received funding from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
That funding claim is one that even CNN was willing to admit. In a 2021 report on the Steele dossier, that outlet noted that:
Mother Jones first revealed the existence of the dossier a few days before the 2016 election, and said the memos were part of an “opposition research project” underwritten by Democrats. Nearly a year passed before the full truth came out about the financing: The money flowed from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to law firm Perkins Coie, to the research company Fusion GPS, and then ultimately to Steele, who got $168,000.
(Anti-Trump Republicans initially funded Fusion GPS’ research during the 2016 GOP primaries, but the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee picked up the tab before Steele got involved.)
Similarly, the National Review, reporting on the tangled web of relationships tying the Steele Dossier personalities together, noted that:
These reports were crafted by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, in partnership with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the political research firm Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie, the sharp-elbowed Democratic law firm that represented the Clinton campaign, retained Simpson for the project. Simpson, in turn, recruited Steele, who brought in Danchenko, his business associate.
So we have a guy defended by the same law firm that’s represented the Clinton Campaign and whose anti-Trump research was not only partially funded by the Clinton Campaign. And now Durham is producing a large volume of classified documents along with a whopping 60,000 unclassified documents regarding that individual and his activities, activities that appear to have at least been somewhat funded by Team Clinton. Oh, and he’s at least tangentially tied to to the law firm that represented Clinton’s Campaign, provided connections for the dossier team, and is now defending him.
What remains to be seen is what Durham actually produces. Perhaps none of it implicated Clinton, though some of it surely could, particularly given the tangled web between Danchenko, the subject of the case, and the Clinton Campaign’s law firm. Time will tell.