On Friday, Particular Counsel John Durham filed a Movement to Inquire Into Potential Conflicts of Curiosity between lawyer Michael Sussmann and his counsel at Latham & Watkins. It’s been 5 months since Durham indicted Sussmann, a former Perkins Coie lawyer charged with one rely of mendacity to James Baker, then the final counsel of the FBI, in 2016.
And but it solely simply occurred to Durham to say this battle now. Out of the goodness of his coronary heart.
Or maybe not. An individual given to much less charitable interpretation would possibly assume that he larded the movement with a bunch of irrelevant, suggestive materials, then dropped it the weekend earlier than the Tremendous Bowl to permit the suitable wing media ecosphere time to spin the story into the following Watergate earlier than anybody else obtained round to debunking it.
Durham says that Rodney Joffe, Sussmann’s consumer who examined the DNS visitors round politically delicate entities in the best way of the Russian hack of the DNC, “exploited this association by mining the [White House]’s DNS visitors and different knowledge for the aim of gathering derogatory details about Donald Trump.” By means of background, Joffe’s agency Neustar was amassing bulk visitors knowledge, and seen bizarre contacts between Trump Tower and Russian servers and telephones on the very second Russians had hacked the DNC, had been crawling throughout our election infrastructure, and seeding our social media feeds with anti-Hillary memes. He introduced the info to Sussmann, who introduced it to the FBI.
Durham made additional reference to a February 2017 assembly Sussmann had with the CIA, throughout which he accused Sussmann of telling the identical “lie” he informed Baker, i.e. that he was not there on behalf of a specific consumer when he was truly representing the Clinton marketing campaign. (When was Trump inaugurated once more?)
Instantly the suitable wing ecosphere went wild, accusing Clinton of paying Joffe to spy on Trump on the White Home and in Trump Tower. Right here’s Tucker Carlson final night time baselessly accusing the Clinton marketing campaign of stealing emails and textual content messages.
By Sunday, Trump was braying for executions.
“In a stronger time period in our nation, this crime would have been punishable by demise. As well as, reparations ought to be paid to these in our nation who’ve been broken by this,” he howled.
Actually none of that was true, since Joffe was the one who paid Sussmann, not the opposite manner round. And actually Joffe had official entry to the info, all of which predated Trump’s inauguration.
Right here’s a footnote from Sussmann’s response, filed right this moment:
For instance, though the Particular Counsel implies that in Mr. Sussmann’s February 9, 2017 assembly, he offered Company-2 with EOP knowledge from after Mr. Trump took workplace, the Particular Counsel is properly conscious that the info offered to Company-2 pertained solely to the time period earlier than Mr. Trump took workplace, when Barack Obama was President. Additional—and opposite to the Particular Counsel’s alleged principle that Mr. Sussmann was appearing in live performance with the Clinton Marketing campaign—the Movement conveniently overlooks the truth that Mr. Sussmann’s assembly with Company-2 occurred properly after the 2016 presidential election, at a time when the Clinton Marketing campaign had successfully ceased to exist. Unsurprisingly, the Movement additionally omits any point out of the truth that Mr. Sussmann by no means billed the Clinton Marketing campaign for the work related to the February 9, 2017 assembly, nor might he have (as a result of there was no Clinton Marketing campaign). See Dkt. No. 35 at 3- 4. And the Particular Counsel persists in alleging that Mr. Sussmann billed the Clinton Marketing campaign for his assembly with the FBI in September 2016, when that’s false as properly.
Sussmann is now shifting to strike language from Durham’s submitting which is “prejudicial—and false—allegations which can be irrelevant to his Movement and to the charged offense, and are plainly supposed to politicize this case, inflame media protection, and taint the jury pool.”
“These allegations weren’t included within the Indictment; these allegations post-date the one false assertion that was charged within the Indictment; and these allegations weren’t essential to determine any of the potential conflicts of curiosity with which the Movement is putatively involved,” Sussman writes of the allegations about his conduct in February of 2017. “Why then embody them? The query solutions itself.”
Noting that he’s properly conscious of no matter “conflicts” the Particular Counsel purports to be involved about and has already waived them, Sussmann urges the court docket to “strike the Factual Background portion of the Particular Counsel’s movement pursuant to the Courtroom’s inherent energy to ‘vogue an acceptable sanction for conduct which abuses the judicial course of.’”
However whether or not or not US District Choose Christopher Cooper agrees to Sussmann’s request, he can hardly halt the unfold of Durham’s false narrative in regards to the Clinton marketing campaign. As a result of federal judges are highly effective, however they’ll’t order toothpaste again within the tube. That harm is already achieved.
US v. Sussmann [Docket via Court Listener]
Elizabeth Dye (@5DollarFeminist) lives in Baltimore the place she writes about regulation and politics.