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In February, former President Trump said that special counsel John Durham’s court filings are merely the “beginning” of what is to come.
Durham wrote a court filing at the time saying the Clinton campaign paid a tech company to “infiltrate” Trump Tower’s and White House’s servers in order to establish a narrative of links between Trump and Russia.
Trump reacted to the news.
“It looks like this is just the beginning, because, if you read the filing and have any understanding of what took place, and I called this a long time ago, you’re going to see a lot of other things happening, having to do with what, really, just is a continuation of the crime of the century,” Trump said on Fox News. “This is such a big event, nobody’s seen anything like this.”
“Who would think a thing like this is even possible?” Trump questioned. “Durham is also coming up with things far bigger than anybody thought possible—Nobody ever thought a thing like this would be even discussed, let alone an act like this committed.”
Now, special counsel John Durham is pushing for access to records about Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, as well as records related to the FBI investigation into an alleged “secret channel” between former President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
The defense and the prosecution will both appear in court Wednesday for a hearing on a defense contention that the materials shouldn’t be used in Michael Sussmann’s trial.
According to charges filed against him, he lied about his connections to the Clinton campaign when he told the FBI about his research into suspected cyber communications between Russia’s Alfa-Bank and the Trump Organization that was later debunked.
Durham filed court papers last month alleging Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie law firm – where Sussmann was a former partner – and Fusion GPS “have all withheld and/or redacted documents and communications”
As Durham explained, they made this decision “based on an apparent theory that political opposition research and/or public relations work … falls within the legitimate scope of attorney-client privilege and work-product protections.”
“They have done so despite the fact that almost all of these materials appear to lack any connection to actual or expected litigation or the provision of legal advice,” members of Durham’s team claimed.
“In fact, of the 1,455 documents withheld by [Fusion GPS], only 18 emails and attachments involve an attorney.”
Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, DC, was asked by Durham to review the records in private to “ensure that only legitimately privileged and/or attorney work product-protected communications and testimony be withheld from the otherwise admissible evidence and testimony that is presented to the jury.”
Fusion GPS, the company that commissioned Christopher Steele to compile the infamous dossier on Trump, said in a 342-page response filed last week that Cooper should instead grant a defense motion to reject Durham’s petition as “procedurally improper.”
As well, the company contends that Durham is trying to pierce its attorney-client privilege in its relationship with Perkins Coie and the work it performed for the firm in 2016.
The special counsel “attempts to characterize Fusion’s work as opposition research and media outreach, rather than privileged investigative work and analysis,” Fusion GPS attorneys wrote.
“But it is not a binary choice between opposition research or privileged investigative work protected by the attorney work product doctrine.”
A federal judge who was selected by former President Obama ruled last week that Hillary Clinton’s tweets about the 2016 election cannot be admitted into evidence in court even though they accuse Trump of colluding with Russia.
Durham’s request that he be allowed to use them as evidence in the trial of Sussmann was denied by Judge Christopher Cooper.
“Donald Trump has a secret server,” she posted on Twitter. “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 wrote in a second post.
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 Democratic presidential candidate shared a statement produced by Jake Sullivan, now the current national security advisor to President Joe Biden, who had served as her campaign advisor when she ran for office.
“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” he accused. “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 went on.
According to Judge Cooper, the tweets amount to “hearsay” and that “it’s likely duplicative of other evidence.”
According to Durham, the tweets should be admissible since Clinton had described them as “truth” and since they “show the existence of the defendant’s attorney-client relationship with the Clinton Campaign, which is directly relevant to the false statement charge.”
As described in Durham’s court filings, employees of the political research firm allegedly involved in so-called “Russiagate” sent hundreds of emails containing baseless accusations against and assertions about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
According to the filing, the leak was meant to generate damaging coverage of candidate Trump.
Sussmann’s trial will begin on May 16 with jury selection. In the event of conviction, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.