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Lawyers for Michael Sussmann, the former Clinton campaign attorney charged in Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, demanded the court ‘strike out’ the ‘background’ section. factual” from Durham’s latest filing, arguing that it “defiles” the jury panel.”
Durham filed a motion Feb. 11 focused on potential conflicts of interest related to representing Sussmann, who was accused of making a false statement to a federal agent. Sussmann pleaded not guilty.
“Unfortunately, the special counsel did more than simply file a document identifying potential conflicts of interest,” Sussmann’s attorneys wrote. “Instead, the special advocate has again filed a case in this case that unnecessarily includes damaging – and false – allegations that are irrelevant to his motion and to the offense charged, and are clearly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage and taint the jury panel.”
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Sussmann’s attorneys added, “Unfortunately, the Special Counsel appears to be succeeding in his efforts to elicit unfair and damaging media coverage of Mr. Sussmann’s case.”
Sussmann’s legal team called on the court to “strike out the factual context portion of the Special Counsel’s motion in accordance with the Court’s inherent power to ‘create an appropriate sanction for conduct that abuses the judicial process’.”
Durham’s indictment against Sussmann says he told then-FBI general counsel James Baker in September 2016, less than two months before the 2016 presidential election, that he was not working “for any client” when he requested and held a meeting in which he presented “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a secret communication channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, who has ties to the Kremlin.
But Durham’s February 11 filing alleged that lawyers for Hillary clintonThe 2016 presidential campaign had paid to infiltrate servers belonging to Trump Tower and later the White House, to establish an “inference” and “narrative” to bring to federal government agencies linking donald trump at Russia.
In the section of Durham’s filing titled “Factal Background,” the special counsel alleged that Sussmann “gathered and forwarded the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) in a US-based Internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign.”
Durham’s filing also states that Sussmann’s “billing records reflect” that he “repeatedly billed the Clinton campaign for its work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations.”
The filing revealed that Sussmann and the Tech Executive met and communicated with another legal partner, who served as general counsel for the Clinton campaign. Sources told Fox News that the lawyer is Marc Elias, who worked at the law firm Perkins Coie.
Elias’ law firm, Perkins Coie, is the firm through which the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign funded the anti-Trump dossier. The unverified dossier was written by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
Durham’s Feb. 11 filing says that in July 2016, the tech executive worked with Sussmann, a U.S. investigative firm retained by Law Firm 1 on behalf of the Clinton campaign, many cyber researchers and employees of several Internet companies to “assemble the alleged data and white papers.”
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“As part of these efforts, Tech Executive-1 leveraged its access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data,” the filing states. “Tech Executive-1 also brought in researchers from a US university who were receiving and analyzing large amounts of internet data as part of an ongoing cybersecurity research contract with the federal government.”
“Tech Executive-1 commissioned these researchers to mine internet data to establish ‘inference’ and ‘narrative’ linking then-candidate Trump to Russia,” Durham says. “In doing so, Tech Executive-1 indicated that he was seeking to appeal to certain ‘VIPs’, referring to individuals from Law Firm-1 and the Clinton campaign.”
Durham also writes that during Sussmann’s trial, the government would establish that among the Internet Tech Executive-1 and associates exploited data was domain name system (DNS) Internet traffic relating to “(i) a health care provider particular health, (ii) Trump Tower, (iii) Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and (iv) the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP).”
Durham says the internet company Tech Executive-1 worked for “came in to access and maintain dedicated servers” for the president’s executive office as part of a “sensitive deal whereby it provided DNS resolution services to the ‘EOP’.
“Tech Executive-1 and its associates exploited this arrangement by mining EOP DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,” Durham says.
The filing also reveals that Sussmann provided “an updated set of allegations,” including Russian banking data, and additional allegations regarding Trump “to a second US government agency” in 2017.
Durham says the allegations “were based, in part, on purported DNS traffic” that Tech Executive-1 and others “gathered relating to Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s apartment building in New York, EOP and the aforementioned health care provider”.
During Sussmann’s meeting with the second US government agency, Durham said he “provided data which it believed reflected allegedly suspicious DNS lookups by these Internet Protocol (IP) address entities affiliated with a Russian cellphone provider,” and claimed that the research “demonstrated Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare Russian-made cordless phones near the White House and other locations.”
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“The Office of the Special Counsel identified no support for these allegations,” Durham wrote, adding that “research was far from sparse in the United States.”
“For example, the more comprehensive data that Tech Executive-1 and his associates collected – but did not provide to Agency 2 – shows that between approximately 2014 and 2017 there were a total of more than 3 million Russian phone lookups – Prover 1 IPs from US-based IPs,” Durham wrote. “Less than 1,000 of those searches came from IP addresses affiliated with Trump Tower.”
Durham added that data collected by Tech Executive-1 also revealed that research began as early as 2014, during the Obama administration and years before Trump took office, which he said is “another fact that the allegations omitted”.
“During his meeting with Agency-2 employees, the defendant also made a materially similar misrepresentation to the one he made to the FBI’s General Counsel,” Durham wrote. “In particular, the defendant asserted that he did not represent any particular client in conveying the above allegations.”
“In truth and in fact, the defendant represented Tech Executive-1 – a fact that the defendant later admitted under oath during December 2017 testimony before Congress, without identifying the client by name,” wrote Durham.
Meanwhile, “Tech Executive-1” has been identified as Rodney Joffe. Joffe has not been charged with any crime so far.
A spokesperson for Joffe on Monday night described him as “an apolitical internet security expert with decades of US government service who has never worked for a political party and legally provided access to DNS data. obtained from a private client who separately provided DNS services to the Executive Office of the President (EOP).”
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“Under the terms of the contract, the data could be accessed to identify and analyze any security breaches or threats,” the Joffe spokesperson said. “Following the EOP and DNC server hacks in 2015 and 2016, respectively, there were serious and legitimate national security concerns regarding Russian attempts to infiltrate the 2016 election.”
“After identifying DNS queries from Russian-made Yota phones in close proximity to the Trump campaign and EOP, respected cybersecurity researchers were deeply concerned about the anomalies they found in the data and prepared a report of their findings, which was later shared with the CIA,” Joffe’s spokesperson added.
At this point, Durham has charged three people as part of its investigation: Sussmann in September 2021, Igor Danchenko on November 4, 2021, and Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020.
Danchenko was charged with making a false statement and is accused of lying to the FBI about the source of the information he provided to Christopher Steele for the anti-Trump case.
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Kevin Clinesmith was also charged with making a false statement. Clinesmith had been referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation.
Specifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about Page to say he was “not a source” for another government agency. Page said he was a source for the CIA. The DOJ relied on that claim when it submitted a third and final renewal request in 2017 to listen to Trump campaign aide Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). .