Clinton campaign seeks to block Durham’s access to Perkins Coie documents

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Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign committee is seeking to block special counsel John Durham from obtaining certain documents related to the law firm Perkins Coie and his work with the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Society of Fusion GPS opposition search.

In a filing late Thursday, Hillary for America (HFA), the lead campaign committee for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, argued that certain confidential documents should be withheld based on the attorney-client privilege.


The Durham team earlier this month had requested the production of work-related documents and asked non-party entities to provide “additional justification for asserting their privilege”.

John Durham and Michael Susmann.
(Sussman photo by Perkins Coie)

Hillary For America and the DNC are the lien holders at issue, according to the filing.

Perkins Coie is the law firm the DNC and the Clinton campaign used to fund the now infamous anti-Trump case. The unverified dossier was written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, and commissioned by Fusion GPS.

To support the opposition to compel and substantiate the assertion of attorney-client privilege, Hillary For American provided statements from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta .

Mook, in a statement filed in court Thursday evening, said that in April 2015, Hillary for America “engaged Marc Elias and the law firm Perkins Coie as general counsel.”

John Podesta in a 2013 file photo

John Podesta in a 2013 file photo
(2013 Getty Images)

“I expected the law firm to be responsible for providing legal services and legal advice to HFA,” Mook says. “When HFA hired Perkins Coie as general counsel in April 2015, Donald Trump had not yet announced his candidacy for president. He announced his candidacy in June 2015.”

Mook said that in April 2016, Trump had a “significant lead in the number of delegates for the Republican nomination, and it seemed very likely that he would ultimately be the Republican nominee in the 2016 presidential election.”


“One of the topics that Perkins Coie provided legal services and advice to HFA involved the fact-finding and research that the campaign conducted regarding candidate Donald Trump,” Mook says.

“While I was unaware during the campaign of the contractors Perkins Coie had engaged to assist it in providing legal services and legal advice relating to this work, I believed throughout the campaign that whatever either the work carried out by Perkins Coie or through its own professionals or by any contractors it may have engaged to assist it, the work has been carried out for the purpose of providing legal services and advice legal to HFA,” says Mook.

In its statement, Podesta states, “HFA affirms its attorney-client privilege and attorney-work product protection with respect to all documents and information under the control of Perkins Coie or any of its consultants, including Fusion GPS.”

“HFA does not waive any of its privileges and opposes the government’s motion to compel filed on April 6, 2022,” Podesta says.

The back and forth over the documents comes ahead of the trial of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, which is due to begin on May 16.

US NAACP attorney Michael Sussman appears in Closing Night: Fair Housing Act - 50 Years On at the March On Washington Film Festival on July 21, 2018 in Washington, DC

US NAACP attorney Michael Sussman appears in Closing Night: Fair Housing Act – 50 Years On at the March On Washington Film Festival on July 21, 2018 in Washington, DC
(Larry French/Getty Images for March On Washington Film Festival)

Durham’s original indictment alleges that Sussmann 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 no client” when he requested and held a meeting where he presented “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a secret communication channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

Durham, in earlier court documents, attempts to describe Sussmann’s connection to the now infamous and discredited anti-Trump dossier, which contained allegations of alleged coordination between Trump and the Russian government.

Durham, in a filing earlier this month, said Sussmann “represented and worked for the Clinton campaign as part of its broader research efforts against the opposition” and “took steps to integrate” allegations of Alfa Bank “in these opposition research efforts”.


Earlier this week, during a hearing on the motions, government prosecutors argued there was a “strong intersection” between opposition research against Trump that Steele was collecting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the allegations Sussmann presented to the FBI in an attempt to link Trump to Russia. Alfa Bank.

Defense attorneys for Sussmann called Steele a “lightning rod” and argued that introducing anything about him or his work into the trial would be prejudicial to their client.


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