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Special Counsel John Durham is reportedly planning to introduce the so-called “Trump-Russia dossier” during the upcoming criminal trial of Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman, according to a Tuesday report.
CNN noted as well that Durham may even call the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, to testify as a witness in Sussmann’s trial, a court filing on Monday said.
The network noted that a pair of late-night filings from both Sussmann and Durham gave the first clues as to the special counsel’s plans to introduce Steele and his roundly disproven dossier from 2016 into the case.
Sussmann was charged with lying in regard to a September 2016 meeting with a senior FBI official, where he provided a tip about strange cyberactivity between the Trump Organization and a major Russian bank. Prosecutors say Sussmann falsely denied providing the tip on behalf of a client — and was really working for the Clinton campaign at the time. He has pleaded not guilty.
The new filings on Monday suggest that instead of narrowly focusing on Sussmann’s alleged lie and the specific meeting where it allegedly occurred, Durham plans to describe at the trial how the Clinton campaign tried to dig up dirt about then-candidate Donald Trump and his ties to Russia.
Attorneys for Sussmann want the judge to block Durham from introducing evidence about the dossier at trial and to stop prosecutors from calling Steele as a witness at the trial next month.
“The Special Counsel should not be permitted to turn Mr. Sussmann’s trial on a narrow false statement charge into a circus full of sideshows that will only fuel partisan fervor,” his lawyers wrote, adding that Steele’s work has “no bearing” on the case and is “inflammatory and irrelevant.”
In their own filing, Durham’s prosecutorial team said that they are anticipating introducing an old deposition from Steele regarding a meeting he held with Sussmann when the two discussed the Trump-Russia cyber claims. In total, the filings appear to indicate strongly that Durham is considering calling Steele as a witness, CNN reported.
“It’s ultimately up to Judge Christopher Cooper of the DC District Court to decide how much information about Steele can come up at trial. He is also reviewing a motion from Sussmann to throw out the indictment altogether, citing legal flaws. Durham’s team says their case is sound,” the report added.
“Sussmann was working at the time for Perkins Coie, the law firm that was retained by the Clinton campaign and indirectly hired Steele to research the Trump-Russia relationship. And Sussmann met with Steele one month before he met Baker, but he didn’t know that the dossier existed until after the 2016 election, according to Sussmann’s previous testimony to Congress,” CNN continued.
Meanwhile, Durham’s team also introduced in its late-Monday filing what is being billed as smoking-gun evidence of collusion between the Clinton campaign and Sussmann to set Trump up with a phony narrative about having ties to Russia.
“Special Counsel John Durham revealed he has unearthed a text message showing Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann falsely told the FBI he was not working on behalf of any client when he delivered anti-Trump research,” Just The News reported Tuesday.
The filing indicates that Durham believes Clinton’s campaign, her researchers, and others formed a “joint venture or conspiracy” for the sole purpose of creating the false Russian collusion story to hamper Trump’s election changes and later, sabotage his presidency with a phony scandal.
Just the News adds:
The existence of the text message between Sussmann and then-FBI General Counsel James Baker was revealed in a court filing late Monday night by Durham’s team. Prosecutors said they intend to show Sussmann gave a false story to the FBI but then told the truth about working on behalf of the Clinton campaign when he later testified to Congress.
“Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” Sussmann texted Baker on Sept. 18, 2016, according to the new court filing. “Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”
Prosecutors said the text message will become essential evidence at trial to show Sussmann lied to the FBI.