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Travis Gettys

John Durham turns on his own witness

Special Counsel John Durham arrives for trial at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on May 17, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)

Special counsel John Durham lashed out at his own witness during the trial of a Russian-born businessman who was a key source in Christopher Steele's dossier.

Senior FBI intelligence analyst Brian Auten, who oversaw part of the bureau's early investigation into Donald Trump's ties to Russia, helped prosecutors by testifying that Igor Danchenko withheld information from investigators about his dossier sourcing that would have helped authorities, but things changed after defense lawyers cross-examined him, reported CNN.

Auten focused on the analyst's previous testimony years ago to the Justice Department inspector general and the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he told that he considered Danchenko "truthful" and helpful to the FBI's Russia probe, and he said securing him as a source was beneficial to the agency.

That contradicted the heart of Durham's indictment, which alleges that Danchenko repeatedly lied to the FBI and impeded investigators trying to corroborate the Steele dossier.

Auten testified that he stood by that previous testimony, and he also told the court that Durham misleadingly cherry-picked material that he wrote.

Durham returned for a final round of questioning of his own witness, but he sounded angry at times and elicited sometimes hostile testimony from Auten, who conceded that he had been recommended for suspension by the FBI's internal auditors -- which could undercut the credibility of the special counsel's witness.

He then admonished Auten for claiming that George Papadopoulos was a "high-level adviser" to Trump's 2016 campaign, when in fact he was a low-level foreign policy aide.

Durham also tried but failed to get Auten to agree the FBI was more concerned about Papadopoulos' links to the Middle East than Russia, but the FBI analyst said they were worried about both.

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