Hillary Clinton’s campaign, her lawyer and a tech executive participated in a ‘joint venture’ to gather and spread information about Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, special counsel John Durham accuses in a new case.
The bombshell claim was made in a 48-page motion filed Monday night pleading for the admission of additional evidence ahead of the ongoing trial of Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to the FBI.
At the heart of the case is a September 18, 2016 text message that Sussmann sent to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, which was reproduced in Monday’s filing.
“Jim – this is Michael Sussmann. I have something urgent (and sensitive) that I need to discuss,” the attorney wrote. “Are you available for a short meeting tomorrow? I come alone – not on behalf of a client or company – I want to help the Bureau. Thank you.”
In fact, according to prosecutors, Sussmann – then a cybersecurity lawyer with the powerful Democratic law firm Perkins Coie – had deceived Baker and was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign when the two met the next day.
During that meeting, Sussmann reportedly gave Baker information suggesting that servers at the Trump Organization were communicating with servers at Moscow-based Alfa-Bank. This claim was amplified by the Clinton campaign to suggest that Trump was colluding with the Kremlin.
According to Monday’s filing, preparation for Sussmann’s meeting with Baker began “in late July and early August,” when “Tech Executive-1,” who has since been identified as Rodney Joffe, began telling Neustar employees , based in Virginia – where he was a senior vice president – to “extract and assemble internet data that would support an ‘inference’ or ‘narrative’ linking Trump to Russia.”
Joffe, who is not named in the filing, reportedly said the purpose of the effort “was to please those ‘VIPs,'” which Durham says refers to Perkins Coie colleague Marc Sussmann. Elias – the Clinton campaign’s general counsel – and the campaign itself.
Prosecutors also allege that Joffe ordered an executive from two other companies he owned to do an in-depth analysis of data on Trump, claiming that “he was working with a person at a company in Washington, D.C., closely associated with the Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party. .”
The document adds that Joffe even emailed the executive the home addresses, email addresses, IP addresses and other personal information of “various Trump associates,” including spouses and friends. other family members.
According to Durham, the CEO was “very uncomfortable” with Joffe’s request, but complied because he “was a powerful figure”.
The Trump dive was codenamed “Crimson Rhino”.
Eventually, according to prosecutors, Joffe and his associates “exploited” internet traffic relating to a health care provider to gather information from Trump Tower and Trump’s apartment building in Central Park West. Among the allegations made by Sussmann were that Trump and his associates were using a type of Russian-made cell phone near the White House and other locations.
At the same time, Sussman and Perkins Coie reportedly connected Joffe to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele to compile his now infamous dossier of explosive and debunked allegations. on Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
The most notorious of these claims was that Moscow’s security services had a tape of Trump in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes who were supposed to urinate on a bed where the Obamas had previously stayed.
The Clinton campaign has been silent about its involvement with Fusion GPS — so silent that last week the Federal Election Commission fined the campaign and the Democratic National Committee $8,000 and $105,000, respectively, for allegedly mislabeled payments to the company that were routed through Perkins Coie as “legal advice and services” rather than opposition research.
According to the filing, Sussmann even met Steele himself (identified as “UK Person-1”) and Fusion GPS employees at the offices of Perkins Coie in the summer of 2016.
Prosecutors say that while Sussmann told Congress in 2017 he only wanted to ‘verify’ Steele, the former British spy testified under oath in UK court proceedings that Sussmann shared the Alfa allegation. -Bank with him and that Fusion GPS had ordered Steele to “research and produce intelligence reports” on Alfa-Bank.
Allegations about the Trump Organization’s ties to the Alfa-Bank server were also reportedly shared by Steele with State Department officials, while GPS Fusion passed them on to at least one Justice Department official.
After these presentations, Durham claims, employees of Sussmann and Fusion GPS took Alfa-Bank’s allegations to the mainstream media. Claims about server traffic between Trump Tower and Alfa-Bank were the subject of several contemporary reports leading up to Election Day 2016. The most notable story, by Franklin Foer, was published by Slate in October and bore the headline: “Was a Trump Server Communicating with Russia?” »
Finally, Alfa-Bank’s claims were reportedly compiled by Joffe and Sussmann in a “white paper” that Sussmann gave to Baker when the two met. According to Sussmann’s indictment, the attorney billed Clinton for time to draft the document.
On the same day Slate’s story about the Trump Organization and Alfa-Bank came out, The New York Times reported that the FBI had reviewed Sussmann’s allegations and concluded that “there may be an innocuous explanation, such as marketing email or spam, for computer contacts.
According to the indictment, Sussmann continued the Alfa-Bank angle even after Clinton lost to Trump in the 2016 election. In February 2017, he allegedly provided an “updated series of allegations” about the Russian bank and its relationship with the Trump campaign to another US government agency which has since been identified as the CIA.
Sussmann was indicted in September 2021 and pleaded not guilty to the misrepresentation charge.
Durham’s motion seeks admission of documents, including notes of conversations two other FBI officials had with Baker about his Sept. 19, 2016, meeting with Sussmann; emails involving Sussmann, Joffe, Elias, Clinton campaign officials and Fusion GPS employees; and a deposition by Sussmann to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017.
In this testimony, Sussmann was asked if it was “his own will” when he contacted Baker and the CIA about the Alfa-Bank allegations. He replied: “No”.
“So, did your client ask you to have these conversations?” he was asked.
“Yes,” he replied, before attempting to backtrack a few moments later.
“[W]When you say my client referred me, we had a conversation, like lawyers do with their clients, about the needs and goals of the client and the best path forward for a client,” he said. he declares. “And so it was maybe a decision that we made together. I mean, I don’t mean that I was kind of ordered to do something against my better judgment, or that we were in some kind of conflict.
In a flurry of documents filed on Monday, Sussmann’s legal team argued that much of the evidence Durham sought was either inadmissible as hearsay or unrelated to the charge against their client.
“The special adviser has not charged with a background scheme to defraud the government, or a conspiracy to defraud the government,” reads a motion. “The way the [internet] data was collected, the objective strength and reliability of that data and/or conclusions drawn from that data, and the information that Christopher Steele separately provided to the FBI has no bearing on the single crime that the special counsel has chosen to charge: if Mr. Sussmann falsely stated that he was not acting on behalf of a client when he met with Mr. Baker.
Sussmann’s attorneys further accused Durham of trying to “promote an unsubstantiated narrative that the Clinton campaign conspired with others to induce the federal government to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia.”
“But there was no such conspiracy; the special advocate did not charge such a crime; and the special advocate should not be allowed to turn Mr. Sussmann’s trial on a narrow misrepresentation charge into a circus full of sideshows that will only fuel partisan fervor.
In a separate filing, lawyers for Sussmann argued that the judge in the case should force Durham to offer Joffe immunity from prosecution or dismiss the case.
“While Mr. Joffe is prepared to testify in Mr. Sussmann’s defense – and to offer critical exculpatory testimony on Mr. Sussmann’s behalf, including that Mr. Joffe’s work was unrelated to the Clinton campaign – special counsel makes it impossible for Mr. Sussmann to call Mr. Joffe as a defense witness at trial,” the document read. “It is simply inconceivable that Mr. Joffe will face any real ongoing criminal exposure in as part of the Special Counsel’s investigation. The Special Counsel is once again going too far and doing so in violation of Mr. Sussmann’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.