A judge is set to rule on evidence as Hillary Clinton’s claims are comically exposed.
On Wednesday, a judge is set to render his decision on a key aspect of a trial concerning one of the lawyers involved in the miasma that is the John Durham probe. At issue are a series of documents subpoenaed by Durham for the upcoming trial of John Sussman who is charged with lying to the FBI, and the various players from the Clinton cabal are fighting to protect those documents.
There is no shortage of comedy in the desperate actions of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary for America, Fusion GPS, and the law firm of Perkins Coie. The first dose of levity starts with the trial claim itself.
Sussman is facing charges that he deceived the Bureau when he brought in supposed research materials that allegedly showed ties between the Donald Trump campaign and a Russian Bank, Alfa. Those materials were later shown to have been fabricated. The CIA concluded in 2017 that this evidence of bank transfers was not organic and had been “user created.” Further, Sussman told the agents at the time he was acting alone and not working on anyone’s behalf.
His problem: Sussman was at the time a partner at Perkins Coie. This leads to the rather inept argument being made by all the parties concerned — that is they want to claim attorney-client privilege to block the release of these documents. For this to stand, it means they essentially prove that Sussman was employed there and he was acting on behalf of HFA, meaning this argument now backs the prosecution’s claim that he did in fact lie to the Feds.
The claims of this attorney-client protection are falling apart in numerous ways. Durham has pointed out that of the 1,455 documents in question, only 18 emails and their attachments have any connection to an attorney. At the heart of these documents is a 38-page clutch of pages the parties are particularly fighting over. As a sign of how desperate they are to keep these from exposure, Fusion GPS has filed a response that is over ten times the size, a 342-page rejection request.
The next comedy of errors comes from the actions of the players themselves. As they want to desperately claim the requested evidence contains privileged information, Durham has successfully noted that it can hardly be considered confidential data considering how they were freely disseminating their information with a wide array of journalists.
Indeed, the documents produced by Fusion GPS to date reflect hundreds of emails in which Fusion GPS employees shared raw, unverified, and uncorroborated information – including their own draft research and work product – with reporters. And they appear to have done so as part of a (largely successful) effort to trigger negative news stories about one of the Presidential candidates.
Pretty tough to state your internal information is privileged and confidential after shipping it off to the likes of The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, as well as the sieve-like source that is Rep. Adam Schiff. But now an even more amusing and telling detail has emerged.
Hillary’s protection scheme is unraveling from details in the very documents from Perkins Coie. It turns out there are revealing campaign expense violations that were uncovered by the Federal Elections Commission, courtesy of the billing forms from the law firm. The usually inert FEC has been compelled into action by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation to look into Hillary for America’s filings, as well as those of the DNC. Both have become cited.
In March, the FEC fined both outfits for campaign expenditure violations regarding payments to Fusion GPS. It was concluded that these payments, combined totaling over $1 million, were incorrectly listed as legal services, when in fact they were payments for compiling opposition research. The money from HFA and the DNC was paid to Perkins Coie, and then the firm hired out Fusion GPS, in an attempt to wash responsibility.
But here is where it snags Hillary significantly. The FEC tracked down the delineation between the payments in the billing of these services, in the paperwork of Perkins Coie. Here is the filing from the FEC, where it lays out the payment listings.
Comparing the invoices from Perkins Coie with those of Fusion make clear that Perkins Coie billed HFA for its portion of the services rendered by Fusion to Perkins Coie. The invoices provided during the investigation delineate fees for “legal services rendered” and fees for “professional services — other.” The only services billed as “legal services rendered” under a header entitled “for services through [date]” are the $5,000 retainer fee to Perkins Coie. The entire amounts billed by Fusion and subsequently billed to HFA are billed as “professional services-other”.
This means that beyond the standard retainer, all other payments involved the work on compiling the opposition research and the Steele dossier, by Fusion. So the last bit of humor is in regards now to Wednesday’s hearing. If the payments are shown to have not been for legal services, all of the arguments about attorney-client protections are out the window, so Durham should find he is able to have access to the subpoenaed documents.
And this will be the result of Perkins Coie billing the DNC and HFA in the fashion they did. The amusement is that after years of the media claiming the walls have been closing in on Donald Trump – only to see him routinely exonerated – Hillary is now rubbing elbows with the wallpaper.