Lawyer: ‘PR Executive 1’ in Durham Indictment Is Former Democratic Party Campaigner

Dolan reportedly attempted to later discredit Steele dossier
By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
November 5, 2021Updated: November 7, 2021

A lawyer on Thursday confirmed that Washington-based communications executive Charles Dolan Jr. is the individual referred to as “PR Executive-1” in special counsel John Durham’s indictment against Russia analyst Igor Danchenko, which was unsealed earlier this week.

The grand jury indictment of Danchenko alleges that he lied when he told the FBI that he never communicated with a public relations executive who had been active in the Democratic Party about claims in a dossier issued by former UK spy Christopher Steele.

Although the public relations executive, or “PR Executive-1,” is never named in the indictment, Dolan’s lawyer Ralph Martin told The Epoch Times on Friday that his client is the person in question.

“Chuck understands and appreciates your interest,” Martin told The Epoch Times, confirming reports on Thursday about Dolan’s identity.

“I can confirm that he is ‘PR Executive-1’ in the indictment. As he is a witness in an ongoing case, it would not be appropriate for Chuck to comment further on the allegations in the indictment at this time,” he added.

The Washington Post reported that in 2017, Dolan attempted to distance himself from the Steele dossier and wrote in an email to a client. “I’m hoping that this is exposed as fake news,” Dolan said of the dossier at the time. “I may be wrong but I have doubts about the authenticity.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Dolan is the senior vice president of Kglobal, although the company appeared to remove his biography in recent days, instead returning a “404” error page. An archived version of Kglobal’s website says that in the 1990s, Dolan served as the state chairman of the Virginia presidential campaigns of President Bill Clinton, was also the former executive director of the Democratic Governors’ Association, and had served as an advisor to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008.

Reports from the New York Times and CNBC, as well as other online biographies, said that he worked as an advisor to the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign, served as state chairman in Virginia for Bill Clinton’s two presidential campaigns, and was executive director for the Democratic Governors’ Association. Martin did not reply to questions about Dolan’s work for the Clinton campaigns.

Durham’s indictment revealed that Dolan and Danchenko were allegedly on speaking terms in April 2016 and discussed a “potential business collaboration” involving Dolan’s company.  Later that year in August, the indictment alleges, Danchenko told Dolan that he was working on a “project against Trump” and asked for “[a]ny thought, rumor, allegation” related to former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who had just resigned from his position over allegations about his dealings with Ukraine.

Dolan allegedly told Danchenko in response that “I had a drink with a GOP friend of mine” who provided information to him before he communicated with a Trump campaign staffer “who hates [Manafort] and still speaks to Trump regularly played a role,” according to the court filing.

“I think the bottom line is that in addition to the Ukraine revelations, a number of people wanted [Manafort] gone,” Dolan allegedly added, according to the indictment. “It is a very sharp elbows crowd.”

“Thank you for this. Any additional insights will be much appreciated. It is an important project for me, and our goals clearly coincide. I’ve been following the Russia trail in Trump’s campaign. It is there so what you read in the news is hardly an exaggeration. Some things are less dramatic while others are more than they seem,” Danchenko replied, according to the indictment.

But at one point, prosecutors said, Dolan “acknowledged to the FBI that he never met with a ‘GOP friend’ in relation to this information that he passed” to Danchenko and instead “fabricated the fact of the meeting in his communications with Danchenko.” The indictment alleged that Dolan obtained that information about Manafort through media reports before passing that to Danchenko.

According to prosecutors, Dolan appeared to have extensive ties with clients in Russia, and at one point, he and Danchenko traveled to Moscow in 2016. He also met with officials at the Russian embassy in Washington, that same year, the indictment reads.

Dolan had also “maintained pre-existing and ongoing relationships with numerous persons named or described in” in the Steele dossier, of which Danchenko had contributed, the indictment said.

“In anticipation of the June 2016 Planning Trip to Moscow,” the indictment states, “PR Executive-I also communicated with Russian Press Secretary-I and Russian Deputy Press Secretary-I, both of whom worked in the Kremlin and, as noted above, also appeared in the [Steele dossier].”

And “from in or about 2006 through in or about 2014, the Russian Federation retained PR Executive-1 (Dolan) and his then-employer to handle global public relations for the Russian government and a state-owned energy company,” according to the indictment. He also had “served as a lead consultant during that project and frequently interacted with senior Russian Federation leadership whose names would later appear in the” Steele dossier, the court papers said.

Many claims within the dossier, which is a collection of dozens of Steele’s notes and memos, turned out to be false, triggering criminal, congressional, and inspector general investigations into how the reports were used for the basis of a secretive FBI surveillance campaign targeting a Trump campaign official, Carter Page.

The indictment further claimed that Danchenko lied about Dolan’s interaction with the Steele dossier when the FBI later tried to confirm its accuracy. This deprived the agency of the ability to find out about the “reliability, motivations, and potential bias” of the source, who had worked for Democratic politicians, prosecutors said Thursday.

Dolan told FBI investigators that he was not directed by the Clinton campaign and wasn’t aware of his dealings with Danchenko, Durham’s prosecutors alleged, although they said he also told the bureau that he didn’t realize the information he provided to Danchenko would end up with the FBI.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Justice for comment.