Special Counsel Durham Seeks Documents From DNC, Clinton Campaign
Hillary Clinton at the New York State Democratic Convention in New York, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (Seth Wenig/AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 08 April 2022 01:10 PM
Special Counsel John Durham has accused the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign of refusing to hand over documents pertinent to his investigation into the handling of the Russia investigation by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the New York Post reported Friday.
In a court filing this week, Durham requested documents from the DNC and Clinton campaign, as well as from research firm Fusion GPS and Democrat law firm Perkins Coie.
The special counsel said the entities have improperly held back hundreds of documents under unfounded claims of attorney-client privilege.
The week began with a Durham filing that showed attorney Michael Sussmann was working for two clients — the Clinton campaign and a tech executive — when he texted the FBI general counsel's personal cellphone, saying he was not working "on behalf of a client or company" in 2016.
Sussmann met with FBI General Counsel James Baker to advance since disproven claims about a secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and the Kremlin.
In a separate 23-page filing, Durham asked that a federal judge order documents be handed over for in-camera review, arguing that the privilege claims lack "any connection to actual or expected litigation or the provision of legal advice," the Post reported Friday.
Durham said that out of 1,455 documents withheld by Fusion GPS under claimed attorney-client privilege or work product protections, only 18 emails and attachments actually involved a lawyer, the Post said.
The filing went on to note that the DNC and the Clinton campaign — officially named "Hillary for America" ("HFA") — also had tried to withhold communications between a Fusion GPS employee and tech executive Rodney Joffe, "despite the fact that no one from either the DNC or HFA is copied on certain of these communications.”
Politico on March 31 reported that prosecutors were seeking to call witnesses from Sussmann’s former law firm, Perkins Coie, and the investigative firm Fusion GPS.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC have maintained for years that the dossier that Fusion GPS produced was done as attorney-requested research involving potential litigation and is therefore protected by attorney-client privilege.
Durham, though, argued that Fusion GPS’ work "[does] not appear to have been a necessary part of, or even related to, [Perkins Coie’s] legal advice to HFA and the DNC."
"Instead, contemporaneous communications and other evidence make it clear that the primary purpose of the [Fusion GPS’] work related to the [Steele] dossier, the [Alfa-Bank] allegations, and the other issues was to assemble and publicize allegations that would aid the campaign’s public relations goals," the filing said.