The research firm Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign hired to try to link Donald Trump to Russia must turn over nearly two dozen emails that include exchanges with Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Fusion GPS must surrender the emails that are included in a batch that prosecutors subpoenaed last year to special counsel John Durham, according to Fox News. Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-Attorney General William Barr to investigate the investigators of the Russian collusion hoax designed to smear Trump.
“U.S. District Judge Christopher ‘Casey’ Cooper blocked prosecutors from getting 16 of those emails but allowed Durham to obtain 22. Cooper ruled that the 16 emails in question were protected by attorney-client privilege and attorney-work-product while the remaining 22 were not,” the network reported. “Still, the judge ruled that those emails will not be admissible in the impending trial of Sussman (sic) – who is charged with lying to the FBI during a September 2016 meeting – because of the untimeliness of Durham’s request.”
Sussmann is accused of misleading the FBI when he shared alleged concerns about secret back channel communications between Trump Organization servers and Russia-based Alfa Bank, telling the bureau that he was not “acting on behalf of any client” — like the Clinton campaign. The alleged link was never found.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that the emails aren’t protected from disclosure because they “appear not to have been written in anticipation of litigation but rather as part of ordinary media-relations work,” the New York Post reported.
“It is clear that Fusion employees also interacted with the press as part of an affirmative media relations effort by the Clinton Campaign,” Cooper wrote.
With his trial set to begin on Monday in Washington, Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
In addition to Sussmann being charged, Russian analyst Igor Danchenko was charged with lying to the FBI during a 2017 interview, Fox News noted. Danchenko was a source of information for Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative behind the unverified Trump dossier that the FBI used to get FISA surveillance warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty in January 2021 to altering an email during the Russia investigation that was used to justify the surveillance of Page. He was sentenced to one year of probation.
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