‘Joint venture’: Durham submits evidence Clinton campaign lawyer was ‘co-conspirator’ in illegal Trump smear

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(Video: Fox News)

Special counsel John Durham is reportedly seeking to introduce evidence into 2016 Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussman’s trial that would seemingly link his actions directly to failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In a filing submitted Monday, Durham specifically requested that he be allowed to introduce evidence concerning Christopher Steele, the author of the Steele dossier, into the trial to prove that Sussman’s actions were part of a “joint venture or conspiracy” involving Clinton’s campaign.

“These parties acted as ‘joint venturer[s]’ and therefore should be ‘considered as co-conspirator[s],'” he wrote.

View the filing below:

As previously reported, Sussman was a Perkins Coie lawyer who, while working for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, allegedly colluded with a “tech executive” at an “Internet company” to intercept and access former President Donald Trump’s internet traffic data.

After obtaining dirt on Trump, Sussmann then forwarded the dirt to the FBI, claiming at the time that he was merely acting as a “good citizen” versus working for someone. Last September, a federal grand jury indicted him over this lie.

Sussmann’s attorneys have tried to claim that he never lied to the FBI, but Monday’s filing includes evidence to the contrary.

The evidence consists of a text message that Sussmann sent to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker on Sept. 18th, 2016, prior to them meeting up.

“Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks,” the text read, as seen in the filing.

(Source: Durham filing)

The specific information Sussmann forwarded to Baker concerned Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution. He allegedly used the illegally obtained data about Trump’s internet habits to argue that it “might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank,” as reported by The New York Times.

Then in February of 2017, Sussmann argued to Baker that the president’s White House internet traffic “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.”

Both allegations were false.

The missing link in Monday’s finding is the claim that in the summer of 2016, Sussmann met with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Steele dossier that was compiled on behalf of the Clinton campaign. The “smoking gun” meanwhile is the purpose of the meeting.

“Although the defendant [Sussmann] testified before Congress that the purpose of the meeting was to ‘vet’ [Steele] for the Clinton Campaign given the defendant’s knowledge of national security matters, [Steele] has testified” otherwise “under oath.”

He testified “that, during the meeting, the defendant told him … about the [Alfa Bank] allegations. [Steele] further testified that after the meeting, personnel from [Fusion GPS] tasked [Steele] to research and produce intelligence reports about [Alfa Bank], which he did,” the filing reads.”

“According to U.S. government records and public information, [Steele] also later provided the substance of the [Alfa Bank] allegations to personnel from the U.S. State Department, and [Fusion GPS] provided such information to an official at the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Durham’s decision to include this information in his latest finding suggests that he “plans to describe at the trial how the Clinton campaign tried to dig up dirt about then-candidate Donald Trump and his ties to Russia,” according to CNN.

In other words, it appears, for all intents and purposes, that he’s trying to build a foundation for a case against Clinton herself.

Sussmann’s lawyers have for their part submitted their own filing demanding that this new evidence be barred from his trial.

“The Special Counsel should not be permitted to turn Mr. Sussmann’s trial on a narrow false statement charge into a circus full of sideshows that will only fuel partisan fervor,” they reportedly argued in their own filing, adding that Steele’s work has “no bearing” on the case and is “inflammatory and irrelevant.”

“It’s ultimately up to Judge Christopher Cooper of the DC District Court to decide how much information about Steele can come up at trial. He is also reviewing a motion from Sussmann to throw out the indictment altogether, citing legal flaws. Durham’s team says their case is sound,” according to CNN.

Vivek Saxena

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