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Special Counsel John Durham is continuing to press his criminal investigation into the origins of the “Trump-Russia collusion” hoax with another new court filing on Monday.
According to the Washington Examiner, Durham’s efforts to get a judge to look at documents shielded by attorney-client privilege claims from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee are increasing:
The prosecutor submitted a filing in federal court Monday pointing to a Federal Election Commission ruling that fined those Democrats for violating rules with the funding of research that became a central part of the effort to accuse Clinton’s rival, Donald Trump, of collusion with Russia.
The submission is part of the case against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer who was indicted in September for allegedly concealing his clients — Clinton’s campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” Rodney Joffe — from FBI general counsel James Baker in September 2016 when he presented internet data that suggested a now-discredited back channel link between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
Durham’s motion attached recently public FEC filings, including the FEC’s “conciliation agreement” with the DNC and Hillary for America. The FEC found “probable cause to believe” the Clinton campaign and the DNC improperly reported their payments to Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s opposition research as “legal and compliance consulting,” the special counsel said.
He went on to note that evidence presented at Sussmann’s trial, which is set to begin this month, will indicate that in late July 2016, the Clinton attorney along with Joffe and “agents of the Clinton campaign” were “assembling and disseminating the Russian Bank-1 allegations and other derogatory information about Trump and his associates to the media and the U.S. government.” Durham’s filing also said he will “establish that these efforts amounted to a joint venture.”
But Hillary for America, along with the DNC, opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and the Perkins Coie law firm are battling the special counsel’s attempt to compel them to hand over documents that they are thus far withholding. They are arguing that claims of attorney-client privilege mean the records ought to remain concealed, adding that Fusion only provided legal services.
Earlier, a federal judge blocked Durham from introducing some of Clinton’s tweets into evidence during Sussmann’s trial, claiming they are immaterial to the case.
On Wednesday, Judge Christopher Cooper denied Durham’s request to allow them as evidence in the coming trial of Sussmann who is accused of lying to the FBI.
“Donald Trump has a secret server,” she said in a tweet. “It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank.”
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016
“Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank,” she said in another tweet.
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
The failed Democrat 2016 presidential candidate then shared a statement by President Joe Biden’s current national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, who was then her campaign advisor.
“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” he said. “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
“We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia,” he said.
But Cooper, who was appointed by former President Obama, said he would dismiss the tweets as “as hearsay” and that “it’s likely duplicative of other evidence.”
Durham had argued that the tweets should be allowed as evidence because Clinton had presented them as “truth” and because they “show the existence of the defendant’s attorney-client relationship with the Clinton Campaign, which is directly relevant to the false statement charge.”
The Examiner noted further: “The FBI, CIA, special counsel Robert Mueller, a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, and Durham’s team have all cast doubt on or shot down the Alfa-Bank claims.