October 13, 2022 – Danchenko Trial Day 3: Charles Dolan and Danchenko handling agent, Kevin Helson testimonies; FBI paid Danchenko $200,000

In Email/Dossier Investigations, Featured Timeline Entries by Katie Weddington

Charles Dolan (Credit: public domain)

Charles Dolan Jr. is the first witness on the stand. Kielty will be examining for the government.

Dolan goes through his background. Involved in the 1980 presidential campaign for President Jimmy Carter.

Dolan also worked as a political consultant for Congressional campaigns and the Democratic Governors Association. He has joined a government relations firm and served as a liaison between lobbying operations and public affairs communications operations.

He reportedly worked for DC-based PR unit Powell Tate as well as Ketchum Inc. in early 2000s for 4-5 years. Beyond Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, Dolan says that he has worked as a paid advisor or a volunteer for every DNC campaign since Carter’s besides Obama campaign.

While working for Ketchum, Dolan worked closely with Russia because Ketchum represented the Russian federation. His role at Ketchum was to attract foreign investment. Dolan had regular conference calls with Dmitry Peskov, who is the press secretary for Russian President Putin.

Dolan had meetings with Russian ambassadors and people at embassy as well as various ministers. As far as Dolan’s personal interactions with Peskov, the 2 men met 1-2x per year. When Kielty asks what Dolan talked about w Peskov, Dolan stutters & says: “Things we were working on.”

While working with Ketchum, Dolan traveled to Russia 1-2 times per year, and through this work with the Russian Federation he was also involved in the G20 summit. Dolan also worked with Walt Disney in Russia helping to get their cable TV network and broadcast underway.

Around 2015 Dolan was employed at KGlobal, a PR firm in D.C. Danchenko met Dolan through Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institute who, per the Brookings Institute website: “[is] a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings.

She recently served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019.

From 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council.” Fiona Hill had previously been appointed by Trump as deputy assistant to the president and senior director…for European and Russian affairs on his National Security Council staff. Hill left the White House on July 15, 2019.

Back to how Dolan and Danchenko met.

Olga Galkina (Credit: The Daily Mail)

Danchenko was trying to help his former schoolmate Olga Galkina find a PR firm. During March or April of 2016, she met with Dolan in the company of Danchenko. Dolan says he met with Galkina to discuss KGlobal doing business with the company she worked for.

Dolan also mentioned Gregg Hartley, a Republican lobbyist. Dolan said that his communications with Danchenko occurred over email and phone, plus having breakfast and lunch together at times.

Dolan said that he would communicate with Danchenko to check on Olga Galkina. Dolan understood that Danchenko was working as a political risk operative in London, where Orbis is based.

Dolan learned of Christopher Steele and Christopher Borrows of Orbis through Danchenko, who said in an email that Dolan would meet Steele and Borrows at some point if he was in London or if Steele and Borrows came to Washington, D.C.

Government Exhibit 702 is an email from Danchenko to Dolan dated April 29, 2016. Danchenko thanks Dolan for lunch and says he forwarded Dolan’s letter to Steele and Borrows.

He makes the point that he’ll introduce the 3 men if they ever are in London or D.C., respectively.
Danchenko says he didn’t get his new passport this month so he would be available for breakfast on May 20 or 13; he also said he’d be in Russia the first half of June. Mentions the Hotel Peter across the street from the Central Bank…

Dolan says he never met Christopher Steele in person and didn’t work with Orbis Business Intelligence which is Steele’s company.

Keilty* brings up Government Exhibit 703, an email dated April 29, 2016, from Danchenko to Dolan with an attachment and subject line is: Business Intelligence.

The email roughly read: “FYI, sample byproduct of my due diligence practice. Confidential: We don’t post these projects online.” The attachment is an Orbis document prepared by Danchenko; Dolan says he didn’t know what the document was about.

Note mentioned in the middle of this information: In May of 2016, Dolan finalized a trip to Cyprus to meet with Olga Galkina and make a presentation to her boss. Dolan’s PR firm, KGlobal, signed a contract with Galkina’s company.

Dolan says he kept communicating with Danchenko, and was approached by the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) to set up a conference in Moscow. Dolan felt that Danchenko would be useful.

YPO, according to Dolan, is an organization that sets up networking events to connect CEOs of various companies. Dolan mentions his relations with Steven Kupka, a D.C. attorney who was involved in YPO. Kupka wanted to organize a visit to Moscow.

The YPO conference scheduled for October 2016 was to be called “Inside the Kremlin.” Dolan was to be involved due to his extensive experience in Russia. The conference purpose was to introduce business people to Russian government officials.

Dolan approached Danchenko because he’s fluent in Russian and knows English well. At one point, they scouted hotels and venues in Moscow for the attendees to gather.

Dolan recalls meeting with Danchenko in Moscow in June 2016 and having lunch together. He reiterates their communications involved emails, phone calls, lunch, and breakfast, and would both attend the YPO conference. In fact, Danchenko was a speaker there.

In July 2016, when Dolan went to Cyprus for 3-5 days to meet w Danchenko’s friend Galkina for purported business with her company, Dolan confirms to Keilty he did “superficially” discuss upcoming US Presidential election with Galkina. Dolan specifically says they spoke about HRC.

After his visit in Cyprus, Dolan returned to the U.S., continuing to be in contact with Danchenko and planning the YPO conference.

Government Exhibit 712A is an email dated August 19, 2016 at 1:08 PM from Danchenko to Dolan. Danchenko says:

“Hi Chuck,

“Here are the bios of two of four. Who were the others?” This is referring to the people speaking at the YPO conference.

Danchenko then writes: “Could you please ask someone to comment on Paul Manafort’s resignation and anything on the Trump campaign? Off the record of course! Any thought, rumor, allegation. I am working on a related project against Trump.

I asked Gregg three months ago but he didn’t say much although shared a couple insights.

Thanks a lot!

Best,

Igor”

Gregg Hartley (Credit: public domain)

The “Gregg” that Danchenko is referring to is the aforementioned Gregg Hartley, Republican D.C. lobbyist.

Next, Keilty shares Dolan’s response. It roughly says: “Let me dig around on Manafort. Pretty sure the new team wanted him gone asap and used the recent NYT story to drive a stake in his heart.”

There an add’l reply after from Dolan to Danchenko that includes:

“Hi Igor,

I had a drink w a GOP friend of mine who knows [some things]. . . Corey Lewandowski who hates Manafort and still speaks to Trump & regularly played a role. He is said to be doing a happy dance for it.”
There was also a following paragraph that said “a number of people wanted Manafort out.”

At the end of the email, Dolan attached a Politico article about Paul Manafort.

On the stand, Dolan testifies under oath to Keilty that he actually never met this “GOP friend,” but got his story from cable news.

Dolan says he felt like embellishing the story because he knew Danchenko was working in political risk and inferred that Danchenko had helped him before so he was trying to return the favor.

Government Exhibit 713B is Danchenko’s response email to Dolan regarding the Manafort information.

Dated August 20, 2016, Danchenko wrote: “Our goals clearly coincide.” He adds that any additional insights from Dolan would be greatly appreciated.

Dolan’s ultimate response to Danchenko asking for more information was, “Thanks, I’ll let you know if I hear anything else.” Dolan testifies that he did not provide more insights on Manafort.

Dolan says that he probably would’ve been involved in the Clinton campaign but at that time was not.

Despite Danchenko writing to Dolan that he was working on an important project, Dolan did not know if Danchenko was working for anyone in particular.

Dolan makes it a point to note that this email exchange was one of 50 emails he had received from various people and didn’t put too much thought into it.

Dolan met with the Special Counsel on numerous occasions. He claims that he knew about the Steele dossier because his client at the time of its publishing, Galkina’s company, was named in the report.

Government Exhibit 112, a page from the dossier, dated August 22, 2016, Paragraph 3 reads: “Speaking separately, also in late July 2016, an American political figure associated with Trump and his campaign outlined the reason behind Manafort’s recent demise. . .”

The paragraph cites nearly verbatim what Charles Dolan wrote in his email to Danchenko about Paul Manafort. Coincidentally, Dolan’s email with the Manafort information was sent to Danchenko on August 20, 2016. So two days later, the information ended up in the Steele dossier.

There’s more discussion of Dolan describing his relationship with Danchenko. Dolan mentions a time that he saw Danchenko was at a park near his house with his daughter, so he went to go meet with him. Note: Dolan casually mentions picking up over the counter drugs for Danchenko.

Keilty brings up Government Exhibit 1202, the January 10, 2017, Buzzfeed article all about Trump’s “alleged” ties to Russia with the Steele dossier attached to it.

Conversation under seal.

Morning after Buzzfeed article published, on Jan 11, 2017, Dolan testifies he received many calls from # of people. Keilty asked if Dolan spoke with Danchenko that day. Dolan, stuttering on the stand, says he called Danchenko because he, “Was curious where the article came from.”

Keilty asked if Galkina was involved in the Steele dossier, to which Dolan responds that he isn’t sure but, “heard she was.”

In the January 11, 2017 phone call between Dolan and Danchenko, Dolan says that Danchenko told him that he would find out where the Steele dossier came from, but never got back to Dolan.

No further questions.

Fiona Hill (Credit: public domain)

Sears begins cross-examining Dolan. Sears asks, “Besides Fiona Hill, how did you meet Danchenko?” Dolan says maybe through the Brookings Institute.

Regarding Dolan’s relationship with Olga Galkina, Dolan says he spoke to Galkina without Danchenko for most of their relationship, which began in D.C. in March 2016.

Sears probes that the YPO October 2016 conference was not always held in Russia? Dolan confirms that the conference was regularly held in various capitals around the world; just so happened to occur in Moscow at that time.

Dolan says that he and Danchenko were together at the October 2016 conference in Moscow and that Danchenko was a speaker there.

During cross examination, Dolan claims that the first time he ever saw the Steele dossier was in the January 10, 2017 Buzzfeed article, and that he was unaware Danchenko was working on the project.

Regarding Dolan’s October 31, 2021 meeting with the Special Counsel, Dolan says he doesn’t recall if he told the Special Counsel at the time that he didn’t think anything in the Steele dossier was from him.

Defense Exhibit 250 is shown. In August of 2021, Dolan still didn’t see anything in the Steele dossier that was from him.

On September 7, 2021, Dolan brought emails he had to the Special Counsel interview. Sears asks if they pressured Dolan to say that information in the dossier came from him? Dolan agreed that the information in the dossier was “very similar.”

Dolan doesn’t recall that he was being told by the Special Counsel that he was the subject of this investigation. Sears suggests that Dolan was upset upon finding out; Dolan still seems confused and says he’s not familiar with these terms, but hesitantly says, “Yes.”

Dolan says that the government reminded him that he needed to tell the truth. Dolan agreed that he had zero insider knowledge about Paul Manafort; he simply read articles and consumed news.

Dolan says that he had “no phone calls” about specific issues [related to the Steele dossier) or anything about the Trump campaign’s alleged connections to Russia.

Sears asks: “Wasn’t it your understanding Danchenko was writing a book?”

Dolan doesn’t agree and clarified that his understanding was that Danchenko was a political risk analyst and simply responded, and per Sears’ rhetoric, “threw [Danchenko] a bone” with the Manafort story.

Dolan reiterates that the specific email exchange with Danchenko was “1 of 50 that he had” with various individuals that day.

Sears asks Dolan if he’s aware that the government issued subpoenas for most of Dolan’s communications. Dolan testifies under oath that he never communicated with Danchenko about anything that was in the Steele dossier.

[END OF CROSS-EXAMINATION]

Keilty begins his redirect of Dolan and brings up the August 20, 2016 email where Dolan talked about “having a drink with his GOP friend” who Dolan alleged had dirt that could be useful for Danchenko, followed by the Manafort story.

Keilty makes it a point to tell Dolan that he said nothing about cable news in that email, only the GOP friend. This email was a response to Danchenko’s August 19, 2016 email asking Dolan for any “truth, rumor, etc.” about Manafort.

Keilty: “You think Danchenko was after you for open source research?”

The government retracts question just as the defense objects.

A few short reiterations of previously stated queries.

No further questions.

Kevin Helson, Danchenko’s handling agent, is called to the stand.

Helson has worked for the FBI for 20 years. He has a bachelors degree in chemistry and microbiology. He worked at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation until 2002 before signing on to the FBI.

“Russia” is Helson’s assigned area within the FBI. Helson says his job is to identify individuals who are in U.S. under false pretenses or are acting against U.S.

In 2016, Helson worked in Washington, D.C. field office. He was asked to join Crossfire Hurricane, Helson declined.

Durham asks if Helson was aware in mid-September 2016, there was a Yahoo News article that the FBI was investigating Carter Page, or anything about Christopher Steele. Helson says that he was later aware but not part of the project.

At the end of January 2017, Helson was approached by people from Crossfire Hurricane (Steve Somma* and supervisory intelligence analyst Crossfire Hurricane). For context, Helson confirms to Durham that Auten worked out of headquarters but that Helson worked in the D.C. field office.

Helson’s supervisor gave him a task to meet with Igor Danchenko and eventually bring him on as a confidential human source (CHS). Auten and others related to Crossfire Hurricane were reportedly concerned about follow-up questions from the Steele dossier…

…that merged with Helson’s own projects out of the D.C. office, since Helson’s assigned focus area is matters of intelligence related to Russia.

In late Feb or early March 2017, Kevin Helson, Steve Somma, and Jason Ruehle (Danchenko’s co-handling agent to Helson) had initial meeting with Danchenko to set stage for future meetings & discuss questions regarding the Steele dossier. Helson says this lasted less than an hour.

Durham asks Helson if he had any trouble understanding Danchenko, to which Helson says that Danchenko spoke fluent English and that he had no difficulty communicating with him.
Helson says he didn’t know much about the Steele dossier, and if he wanted to know anything, other people involved in the project had to provide him with the information. Helson makes it a point to note that Crossfire Hurricane later became known as the Mueller investigation.

In conversing with Durham during the examination, Helson discusses his own methods of assessing whether a subject is lying or not based on the idea that, “It’s harder to keep a lie straight during multiple times of telling the same story.”

Sergei Millian (Credit: Twitter)

Durham asks how Helson first became familiar with the names Sergei Milian and Chuck Dolan. Helson somehow found out about them and needed to look it up.

Helson says during his working relationship with Danchenko, his goal was to obtain any new information that could corroborate the Steele dossier. Helson says Danchenko didn’t provide corroborating information.

Durham asks Helson if he’s aware how much of the Steele dossier was attributed to Danchenko. Off the top of his head, Helson says 80%.

Special Counsel John Durham pulls Government Exhibit 1502, which is the LinkedIn message from Igor Danchenko to Anastasia Gnezditskaia where he says he was responsible for 80% of the raw intelligence & 50% of the analysis. Helson says he had no reason to doubt that this is true.

Durham: “Do you recall if Danchenko was to be a paid CHS or not?”

Helson: “[That was dependent upon] what information he gave.” Helson said he probably would become paid over time.

Helson recalls that Danchenko was not paid during their initial meeting in the Alexandria, Virginia, field office, and that when Danchenko was paid for the first time it was less than $3,000.

Helson expected, given that he was eventually paid, that Danchenko would be giving full disclosure, truthful, and as forthright as possible.

Durham shows Government Exhibit 118 paragraph #1. Which reads: “Your client agrees to supply complete and truthful info and testimony to all persons in this matter, as well as other proceedings, etc. …
and that the client must not withhold any info or attempt to protect any person or entity through false info or false implication.”

Helson discusses with Durham his process of collecting information during meetings with Danchenko—by getting record of what was being said and for nuanced things, needed a recording. Helson tells Durham that Danchenko was unaware he was being recorded.

Government Exhibit 151 is a recording; G.E. 151T is the transcript. There was some information in the recording related to the Steele dossier, Helson says, but not all of it.

Government Exhibit 118-11 is a stipulation for the aforementioned recording and translation, wherein both parties agreed that both were a true and accurate copy of a meeting between Danchenko, Helson, and Ruehle. This is one recording among numerous.

Trenga instructs the jury that if there’s any discrepancy while looking at the transcript and the recording to go by the recording.

Durham asks if Danchenko had a copy of the dossier in front of him in each instance that the Steele dossier was discussed. Helson says yes.

Per the FBI recording of the meeting recorded in G.E. 151 and G.E. 151T, Durham asks Helson if it’s relevant that Danchenko said he himself would “record things when speaking with people in case he ever needed them.” Helson concurs this is relevant and [odd].

Durham asks Helson if or when Sergei Milian came up. Helson says that Milian came up at one of his first meetings with Danchenko. Durham asks if Helson is familiar with Report 2016/95; Helson says he looked at this during trial prep.

Helson adds that in March of 2017, Brian Auten raised an issue about Milian, saying there were discrepancies in the information about him.

Government Exhibit 152 and 152T are a recording and transcript.

Durham: “Was there any record that could corroborate that Danchenko received [the] anonymous phone call?”

Helson: “That would have requiring looking at phone records.” Helson says that they had asked Danchenko to provide any phone communication records, which he says would include apps, but Danchenko produced nothing.

Durham: “Was it then your job to get the records?”

Helson said that he wasn’t allowed to legally obtain the phone records of Danchenko since Danchenko was voluntarily providing the FBI information. Helson said to obtain the records legally, they would have needed a predicated investigation and they didn’t have that.

Back to Government Exhibit 152 and 152T; in the recording, Danchenko mentions that he uses WhatsApp.

In this recording, it’s also the first time that Helson says he inquired about Milian’s part of the dossier.
Durham asks if Helson ever recorded Danchenko in conversations outdoors. Helson says it’s difficult to record outdoors because of picking up outside noise but also because the FBI seeks to limit outdoor communications [with brevity].

Durham asks Helson about the electronic Dropbox where Danchenko was supposed to provide documents to the FBI. Helson says that Danchenko provided a “wide depth” of information, and that himself and Ruehle were in “receive mode” during their meetings with Danchenko.

Helson says they allowed the intelligence team to analyze the information.

Durham asks if Danchenko provided corroborating info for the Steele dossier. Helson says no.

Helson says that the information he received depended upon what was received from the Crossfire Hurricane team and later the Mueller investigation. Helson says that eventually the Steele dossier talk “faded off” as a topic they discussed.

Durham asks Helson if Danchenko ever provided supporting documents about the alleged anonymous call from Milian or communications.

Durham pulls Government Exhibit 164 and 164T. In this recording, Helson asks Danchenko about his relationship with Milian. Helson: “There was an email and I think there was a call with a guy up in New York who you thought was Milian?”

Danchenko responds that he doesn’t have Milian’s number; doesn’t remember. Danchenko says, “He never showed up in NY.”

Danchenko provides the email to Helson: “sergio@russianamericanchamber.com”

Durham asks Helson if he ever found out how Danchenko obtained these email addresses. Helson says: “No.”

Back to the recording. Danchenko provides Helson with a phone number that he says is one of Milian’s with a Georgia area code.

It’s very evident in this recording that Danchenko was avoiding having a conversation.

Durham: “It would’ve been helpful to know how Danchenko got Milian’s email addresses and for the dossier, right?”

Helson agrees.

Prior to dealing with Danchenko, Helson says he was unaware of Milian’s prior history with FBI.

Durham shows G.E. 204; it’s an email from Danchenko to MilianGroup July 21, 2016. The subject is “Question about Trump + China”.

Helson says Danchenko never provided him this email.

Durham: “Seeing this email would’ve been important to the investigation, yes?” Since Milian is an alleged sub source of the Steele dossier.

Helson agrees with Durham.

Durham then shows Government Exhibit 205 and 205T; the translation is there because this email was originally written in Russian. It’s from Sergei Milian to Dmitri Zlodorev. Dated July 26, 2016. Milian is asking Zlodorev “Who is Igor?” After receiving an email from him.

Helson does not know if Crossfire Hurricane team ever had a record of whether Milian was in fact even in the U.S. during July 2016. This is relevant because of the allegations that Danchenko said he was supposed to meet with Milian toward the end of July and he “never showed up.”

Government Exhibit 206 and 206T is Zlodorev’s response to Sergei.

Government Exhibit 207 and 207T is an email from Danchenko to MilianGroup dated August 18, 2016.

It opens with:

“Hello Sergey,

I wrote to you several weeks ago. We are contacts on LinkedIn.”

Later in the email Danchenko wrote: “If there’s any opportunity let’s meet.” Zero reference to phone app or anything that Milian never showed up to a meeting.

Helson says that any communications between Danchenko and Sergei would’ve been relevant.

Durham asks if Helson had these communications, would it have changed the investigation? Helson says yes.

On July 21, 2016, Danchenko wrote an email asking Milian about a construction company from Switzerland. To Helson’s knowledge, Danchenko was not in business with this construction company.

Durham asks Helson if he has knowledge of the communications between Danchenko and Milian between July 21, 2016 and August 18, 2016.

Helson says he expected he would’ve been provided those but he was not.

Helson believed documents Danchenko provided that he would say how he was communicating (either thru regular phone calls or thru phone apps).

Durham brings up Government Exhibit 610 & 610T. It’s a Facebook exchange that was originally in Russian between Galkina and Danchenko.

Galkina: “Call me in exactly 15 minutes. It’s regarding Chuck and me.”

Danchenko: “I will try. If I can get thru directly. Possibly Viber or WhatsApp.”

Gov Exhibit 611 is a Facebook message from Igor asking recipient if they have Signal after he referred to something as a “Delicate topic.” According to Helson, Signal is an “encrypted app in which parties can communicate back and forth. The conversations erase when you’re done.”

Government Exhibit 102. On October 24, 2017, there was an in-person meeting with Danchenko in Alexandria, Virginia. Helson raised questions about Danchenko’s communications with the alleged anonymous caller that Danchenko believed was Milian.

His reasoning for believing that the caller was Milian was because he listened to a YouTube video of Sergei Milian speech and in his opinion it sounded just like him. Danchenko said he has no in-person meeting with Milian.

The FBI confronted this because it didn’t line up with what Steele said. Danchenko refuted Steele’s take but never corrected him. Danchenko told FBI he never met with Milian in person. However, Danchenko claimed he spoke on the phone a few times with who he believed was Milian.

Durham: “How confident are you (Helson) that on October 24, 2017, Danchenko said he spoke to Milian on the phone a couple times?

Helson: “Very confident.”

G.E. 103 confirms on November 2, 2017, Helson and Danchenko had an in-person meeting and they discussed Milian again.

Durham: “Why did you have to go back to the Milian piece?”

Helson: “Brian Auten said there were inconsistencies between what Danchenko said regarding his contact with Milian versus what Steele said.”

Durham: “Going off of what Danchenko told Steele, right?”

Helson: “Steele thought Danchenko and Milian met in-person but Danchenko never corrected him.”

Durham: “Based on your interactions with Danchenko, was there ever any indication that there was other information besides what came from Steele? Did Charles Dolan ever come up?”

Helson: “Yes. I didn’t know of Dolan until I found out through Crossfire Hurricane.” Helson said that Danchenko never brought up Charles Dolan to him.

Durham probes: “Isn’t it the goal to corroborate what’s in the Steele dossier?”

Helson: “Yes, to identify the source.”

Durham: “Would it have been helpful to have a U.S. citizen whose info was in the dossier?”

Helson: “Yes. Much easier.”

Government Exhibit 171T. June 15, 2017. The third recorded conversation between Helson, Danchenko, and Ruehle.

Eventually after Helson was Danchenko’s handler, he learned of the emails between Danchenko and Dolan.

Durham shows email G.E. 712A August 19, 2016 from Danchenko to Dolan asking him about info on Paul Manafort and how Danchenko said he was working on a project on Trump. As well as Dolan’s reply to Danchenko G.E. 712B with the “Drink w GOP friend of mine & Paul Manafort” info.

Prior to June 15, 2017, Helson said he had not seen these emails; he said no one on Crossfire Hurricane gave this to him.

Durham: “With respect to his email, wouldn’t it have been good to know this during June of 2017 and prior?”

Helson: “Yes.”

Durham pulls up G.E. 714, the dossier report 216/105. Paragraph 3 is the paragraph that is nearly identical (with superfluous language to polish it up) language that was in Dolan’s email to Danchenko about Paul Manafort.

While looking at this, Durham is asking Helson questions about how he gathered information to corroborate the dossier. Helson, with the request of Mueller’s investigative team, obtained questions to ask Danchenko by Brian Auten and Amy Anderson.

G.E. 171 & 171T is recording & transcript from June 15, 2017 between Helson & Danchenko.

Helson: “For whatever reason, they’re either missing you? Or they’re not finding . . . We’re trying to figure out. . You said something to Steele. . . Do you know Chuck Dolan?”

(Long pause)

Danchenko: “Yes. I’ve known [of] Chuck for 12 years… a couple years [close].” Danchenko says Dolan was always in Russia,

Helson: “You never talked to him about anything shown in the dossier, right?”

Danchenko: “No.”

Helson asks when was last time Danchenko saw Dolan. He replies September of last year in Moscow, but then pulls an exact time.

Helson: “I wasn’t expecting an exact time!” He then asks if Dolan is close to the Kremlin.

Danchenko suggests Dolan is close to Putin professionally.

Durham asks Helson what Danchenko’s demeanor was during this interaction and Helson responds: “A bit of hesitation and a noticeable pause.”

Durham: “Did Danchenko ever mention immediately after the Steele dossier was published in Buzzfeed on January 10, 2017, that Dolan reached out to Danchenko on January 11, 2017?”

Helson: “No.”

Durham: “You would’ve wanted to know that, right?”

Helson: “Yes.”

Durham and Helson briefly talk about the FBI interview with Olga Galkina in D.C.

Helson’s intent was to obtain any knowledge he could find to corroborate the dossier.

Durham asks about how Danchenko referenced his communications in forms (apps, etc.) how he would send screenshots of conversations to Helson.

Helson: “Yes.”

Durham brings up how on New Year’s Day in 2017, Danchenko met with Dolan in a park. “What was your impression of this?”

Helson found it to be interesting. Helson was under the impression that Danchenko introduced Galkina to Dolan.

When Helson asked Danchenko if Dolan would know Steele, he replied: “I think he would.” However, Danchenko did not mention business interactions with either to Helson.

Durham: “Would you learn of Dolan’s connections to Dmitry Peskov?” (Putin’s press secretary)

Helson: “Yes.”

Government Exhibit is a May 17, 2017 2-page report with 3 screenshots of a conversation between Galkina and Danchenko. On bullet point 4, there’s a note that “Galkina claims she can’t travel til September but [Danchenko] made a good pitch.”

G.E. 120 mostly redacted doc. There’s a part discussing Danchenko speaking on social media and another portion. “At this point the development . . . Trump collusion and the gov’t . . . ”

“All of Danchenko’s info was obtained through conversations with colleagues and friends.”
Durham: “Do you recall that Danchenko discussed Dolan’s relationship to Peskov?”

Durham and Helson are talking about “Russian disinformation” in relation to Peskov’s role as Putin’s press secretary.

It’s noted that even as a paid informant, Danchenko did not get Helson any information on Dolan [to corroborate the dossier].

Government Exhibit 605 is a picture of Danchenko and Dolan together in Russia from June 14, 2016. This had been posted to Facebook.

The day the photo was posted to Danchenko’s profile, Galkina tried to arrange a [vicinity?] for Danchenko.

In March 2017, Helson said he first asked Danchenko about Dolan. Danchenko said Dolan was, “A nice guy, a friend.”

Then on September 22, 2017, Danchenko’s story changed and he told Helson that Dolan “has dubious connections in Russia.”

Helson attributed this to the fact that he was simply asking Danchenko about people around him who could be a security risk.

Durham makes a point to conclude that a well-coordinated conspiracy, Report 95 was used on a FISA application, unvetted, against an American citizen.

No further questions.

During cross-examination, Sears probes that, “Wasn’t Danchenko SHOCKED at how Steele presented what he said in the dossier?” Helson agreed. The two men agree that Danchenko never vouched for the information.

Defense Exhibit 100 discusses what the motivations were for Danchenko to become a confidential human source. Helson said: “Patriotism.” Both Helson and Danchenko had concerns for his safety.

Sears states that Helson and Danchenko had a working relationship from March 2017 to October 2020.

Sears asks Helson about the “one time” that Danchenko allegedly acted erratic.

He supposedly walked into an in-person meeting and demanded more money, jumping up and down and very upset.

Sears says that Danchenko later apologized for this and it was revealed that his wife and lawyer had been telling him he should be asking for more money due to his having children and being at risk. Helson confirms this.

Sears reminds Helson he testified to OIG that Danchenko was “gold” as human source following “single erratic behavior incident” because Helson would have known going forward if there was a time that Danchenko was lying. According to Helson, Danchenko never acted like that again.

Helson also said that the Crossfire Hurricane team never raised an issue about information Danchenko had provided Helson. However, Helson says that there were times Danchenko couldn’t recall where something or someone came from source-wise in the dossier.

Sears is pushing that Danchenko, as far as Helson was aware, had never known about or seen the Steele dossier until it was published in Buzzfeed on January 10, 2017.

During this interaction, Helson says he legally wouldn’t have been able to obtain all of Danchenko’s communications unless he had voluntarily provided them himself. Danchenko would later tell Crossfire Hurricane that he deleted nearly all of his communications.

Helson reportedly TOLD Danchenko to scrub his phone. He says following the January 2017 FBI interview, Danchenko was instructed on multiple occasions to scrub his phone because he’d be, “A target to Russians.”

Sears asks Helson about Danchenko’s relationship with Dolan. The two men agree that Danchenko said he approximately knew Dolan for 10 years based on Russia connections.

Danchenko knew that Dolan worked for Ketchum, who did PR for the Kremlin. According to Helson, Danchenko reportedly said Dolan was “naive to Russia.”

In reference to Danchenko saying in October 2017 that Dolan had dubious connections to Russia, Sears and Helson agree that Danchenko then provided the FBI with the names of the “dubious Russia contacts.”

It’s noted that Steele did not contain Danchenko’s identity as the primary source of the dossier, but that Danchenko concealed his own identity.

During Helson’s testimony to the OIG, Sears reminds him that he said Danchenko never struck him as “someone who would lie.”

Danchenko never told Helson that he lied to Steele about his meeting Milian; Danchenko simply never corrected Steele.

About 10 months after Danchenko met with FBI, he told them that he was going to meet with Steele. The FBI was having Danchenko fish information from Steele.

Sears asks Helson if he was trying to drive a wedge between Danchenko and Steele; he replies, “Yes.”

According to Sears & Helson, Danchenko had concerns about giving more info to Steele because he supposedly embellished info Danchenko originally gave to him for the dossier.

Items that Danchenko said were rumors, Steele wrote as fact. Sears is animatedly suggesting that according to Danchenko, Steele was obsessed with “proving the dossier to be true” and that Danchenko eventually “expressed concern about Dolan and Galkina’s relationship.”

Sears: “Danchenko is charged with lying, saying he never spoke to Dolan about anything in the Steele report.”

Helson: “Correct.”

Defense Exhibit 102 is debrief notes from the June 15, 2017 recorded meeting between Helson and Danchenko. Helson’s wrote in a note that Danchenko had known Dolan for “2 years more closer.”

Helson had asked how long it had been since Danchenko had spoken to Dolan. He mentioned the Moscow trip in 2016 and then the January 1, 2017 meeting in the park.

Defense Exhibit 103. Helson does not know if Danchenko ever saw Report 105, which was all about Dolan.
Auten also did not ask Danchenko about it. No one apparently ever focused Helson’s attention on

Paragraph 3 of the dossier report that was all about Paul Manafort; nearly verbatim to what Dolan had written in his reply email to Danchenko.

Government Exhibit 120 is very redacted but begins w/: “At this point in the development source understands the priority is to obtain any and all info that would indicate collusion between Trump’s campaign, administration, & the Russian government or any of its representatives.”

It continues: “Speaking on social media. He keeps asking when I am visiting. On good terms. Asking him about Romeo and Juliet setting.”

In reference to the anonymous phone call with Milian, Danchenko told Auten he emailed Milian after the alleged scheduled meeting that Milian never showed up for, but he did not tell Helson or show him that email.

The issue is again raised that there was contradictory information about Danchenko’s meeting with Milian due to what Steele said, which is why Helson had an October 24, 2017 meeting with Danchenko and then another on November 2, 2017.

Sears: “Did you believe Danchenko knew what Steele told the FBI about his communications with Milian?”

Helson: “I don’t recall.”

Testifying to OIG on Oct 21, 2019, Helson states Danchenko said Steele was completely wrong about his relationship w/ Milian & that Danchenko was not happy w/ Steele about what he put in dossier. Sears insists that Danchenko lying about this could compromise relationship w/ FBI.

Referring to how Danchenko’s August 2016 email to Milian read that the two men never met, Sears argues that if Danchenko had written in the email that they had talked a few weeks back (alluding to the purported anonymous 10-15 call…

…that Danchenko believed to be Milian), Milian may have never called him again if he was trying to remain anonymous.

Sears brings up the Amtrak records of Danchenko going to New York and that Milian was supposedly flying into JFK airport on July 27, 2016.

Helson was unaware of late July FB message from Danchenko to his wife about the giraffes at the Bronx zoo that said “Another meeting later.”

Sears also raises Milian reached out to @GeorgePapa19 around same time that Danchenko believed he received an anonymous call from Milian.

In two of Helson’s Field Office Annual Source Reports, he wrote that any inconsistencies in Danchenko’s report were minor. Steele’s motivations came into question. Helson testified to the OIG that Danchenko’s had “real information” that was helpful to the FBI.

Defense Exhobit 109 stated that Danchenko reported critical reporting that added in a top FBI investigation. It also said that some of Danchenko’s reporting has been added to 25 IRs. An IR is an intelligence report.

Defense Exhibit 110 is a payment amount of $10,000 for the confidential human source, Danchenko, for reporting he provided during January of 2018. He was involved in 5 separate investigations, and his information…

…led to recognizing cyber actors [affecting] the 2016 election, according to the FBI. Danchenko reportedly assisted in uncovering “ongoing-maligned influence.”

Notes that former AG Bill Barr was launching an investigation into how the FBI handled Carter Page. Helson was concerned that the publishing of the redacted January 2017 interview would damage Danchenko.

Helson wrote a memo in July of 2020 that he disagreed with the move to release this. “Internet detectives” figured out who had been interviewed.

On October 21, 2020, Helson drafted an electronic communication to give a lump sum payment of $346,000 to Danchenko, since he would now have safety issues and had provided information for at least 25 FBI investigations.

The lump sum payment request was denied. Danchenko’s total lifetime payments would have been around $565,000 if he had actually received the $346,000.

Sears argued that the FBI didn’t have as much information until Danchenko, which Helson agrees with.

Helson says that they never thought Danchenko was partisan because said some of the things Danchenko brought to FBI were items that would negatively affect Trump. In other words, they’re inferring Danchenko tried to prevent those things from occurring.

No further questions.

In redirect, Durham calls out Helson, because he said there was no derogatory info on Danchenko in reports, but this wasn’t true. Durham raises that there is an open espionage case on Danchenko at that time.

References 65/8, a counterintelligence report. Durham asks if Helson bothered to obtain access to the report and see what it was about. Helson says that he spoke with Laura Pino about it and she said it was hearsay.

Durham: “Did you read the underlying documents? Is it not true that Human Validation recommended that Helson read the file.”

Again, Helson claiming he didn’t have access. Despite his knowledge that there was a witness, Helson said someone countered the witness.

Durham: “Danchenko’s Visa had expired. Did you know whether or not he stayed in the country anyway?” Durham raises the need to determine whether or not there was fraud committed with his immigration status in the states.

Durham: “Did Crossfire Hurricane, Mueller, or ANYONE do what was recommended?”

Conversation under seal.

Helson said he only checked Danchenko’s travel records going forward at that point, not backward.
Durham: “Did you check his financials to find unsolicited reporting that would have [indicated] the FBI might NOT be the primary audience for his reporting?”

Helson: “No.”

Durham: “Did you look into anything regarding his Visa or immigration status?!”

Helson: “No.”

Durham: “Did you polygraph? He could’ve been tasted by a foreign government entity to get intelligence?”

Helson: “No.”

Durham is pissed.

Sears cuts in and tries to say it that Helson disagreed with people trying to invalidate Danchenko as a human source.

“Did you know this woman from Human Validation Unit was an army counterintelligence officer in Europe.”

Helson says this doesn’t make her an expert on Russian intelligence officers in U.S.

Durham probes that Helson maybe opposed this being a 65A case instead of 105.

Durham: “Do you recall any of you or any of your colleagues attempting to corroborate the report? Did you do ANYTHING when the FBI mistakenly thought Danchenko left the country.”

Helson said it was never resolved.

[END OF DAY 3]

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