Major Win: Durham Granted Access to Key Docs after Hillary for America Fails in Block Attempt
© AP Photo / Michel EulerFormer US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at an international conference that aims to fast-track the road to gender equality and mobilise millions of dollars to achieve the long-sought goal quickly, in Paris, France, Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
© AP Photo / Michel Euler
Special Counsel John Durham scored a victory on 4 May: a federal judge granted his motion to review documents that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, its lawyers and partners had claimed were protected by privilege.
US District Judge Christopher Cooper green-lighted the disclosure of unaltered versions of key documents in the case against Perkins Coie’s former partner Michael Sussmann on Wednesday.
The judge ordered law firm Perkins Coie, tech executive Rodney Joffe, opposition research company Fusion GPS, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to cough up the files.
Sussmann has been accused by Special Counsel John Durham of lying to the FBI concerning his research into alleged back-channel communications between Russia's Alfa Bank and the Trump Organisation. Sussmann claims his research had not been done on behalf of any client, while Durham argues that he was working for the 2016 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign and a "Tech Executive-1," identified by the US press as Rodney Joffe.
On 28 April, Hillary for America (HFA) – the committee organising Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign – filed a motion insisting that documents related to Perkins Coie’s communications with the DNC and the Clinton campaign should be withheld, arguing attorney-client privilege. Earlier this month, the HFA, DNC, Joffe, Perkins Coie LLP, and Fusion GPS unanimously urged the court not to disclose the documents with the same argument.
According to the Epoch Times, the documents in question include details on Fusion GPS's research into then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, as well as unconfirmed stories about Trump which were fed by Fusion GPS employees to media outlets. Among the trove are also emails and attachments sent or received by Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie, and Rodney Joffe.
The Epoch Times reports that other communications between the aforementioned parties are apparently related to the already debunked claim that the Trump Organisation had a secret backchannel with Russia's Alfa Bank. One of Durham's recent motions revealed that the CIA had rubbished the Trump-Alfa Bank research by saying that its data was "not technically plausible," and was "user created and not machine/tool generated.”
Durham's motion asked US District Judge Cooper to compel the parties to produce unaltered versions of the documents and "review the documents in private," according to the media outlet. The special counsel further requested that prosecutors should later be given access to the documents.
"Any such documents would likely be posted on the court docket, making them available for anybody to read," writes Epoch Times' Zachary Stieber. He also notes that "the documents in question may or may not ultimately be made available to the general public."
Earlier, US conservative legal observers alleged that attempts by the HFA, Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie and Rodney Joffe to keep the trove of documents secret were doomed. Indian-American lawyer Kash Patel explained on Kash's Corner on 29 April that the parties in question upended their opportunity to shield their information as "privileged" when they shared this data, including raw and uncorroborated materials, with the US mainstream media during the 2016 campaign and afterwards.
Furthermore, while responding to HFA's 28 April motion, Special Counsel Durham referred to the fact that "the DNC and HFA improperly reported their payments to Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS's research as 'legal and compliance consulting'."
On 31 March 2022, CBS News reported that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) had fined Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign $8,000 and the DNC $105,000 for obscuring their funding of ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump research, commonly known as the "Steele dossier."
Steele was hired by Fusion GPS to conduct the research. However, the Hillary Clinton campaign inexplicably mislabelled Steele's work as "legal services" and "legal and compliance consulting" in campaign records. According to FEC, "there is no evidence that Fusion provided services other than this research."
According to legal observers following the Durham probe, there are a series of controversies surrounding the research against Trump, providing further context for Michael Sussmann's alleged lying to the FBI as well as apparent reasons behind his false statement.