John Durham Goes to Court

Special Counsel John Durham stepped into court Monday for the first hearing of his investigation into the Democratic Party’s Russia collusion hoax. It is a form. Mr. Durham won.

Perkins Coie’s attorney, Michael Sussmann, allegedly lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he claimed that the dirty stuff about Donald Trump he gave the FBI was not delivered on behalf of “any client.” Mr. Sussmann participated in the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, and worked extensively with outside players and the media to release the collusion story and collected documents. attracted the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to Durham records. Mr. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.

Commentators spent last week arguing over whether Judge Christopher Cooper’s rulings on the use of evidence would help or hinder Mr Durham’s case. It’s not important. Mr. Durham accomplished his much larger goal with this narrow indictment. He put every sleazy collusion player in the hot seat, with ramifications beyond the courtroom.

Since the day the special counsel announced the 27-page indictment of Sussmann in September (and the subsequent charges against profile contributor Igor Danchenko), it has become clear that he has ambitions far beyond the allegation. lie. Each of his profiles follows the same deliberate strategy — lengthy summaries and lengthy galleries full of names, emails and documents, all connecting the dots and exposing the page. the web enabled this hoax and the lies that hid it.

Democratic super-lawyer Marc Elias has not been charged, but he also no longer heads the elite political law practice at Perkins Coie. The company last August announced that Mr. Elias, who had been there for 28 years, was leaving to start his own small business. Weeks later, Sussmann’s indictment revealed what role Elias, a longtime DNC and Clinton attorney, played in collecting and distributing bogus Trump-Russia claims.

Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier, once hailed as an international superstar, is now a fame seeker. The “intelligence” in his file, Mr. Durham’s documents show, came primarily from a Brookings Institution employee, Mr. Danchenko, who was recycling gossip from a Clinton associate. Whatever job Mr. Steele may find in the future, it will not include assisting the FBI or any other respected agency.

Fusion GPS, which Mr. Steele hired, has become toxic in Washington. The Durham prosecutions show how the opposing research firm operates — not by producing factual research, but by procuring silly claims with law enforcement, then invites journalists to cover the “investigations” that Fusion inspires. (Consolidation in the court filing said its job was to help Perkins Coie with legal advice – a request the judge largely denied on Thursday.) The Washington press team knew it was played – and how. A Durham profiler recently released dozens of emails showing reporters at flagship stores contacting their Fusion narrators, with one Slate writer even submitting a draft of the article in. October 2016 for Fusion review. Will DNC hire Fusion soon? Even trusted reporters would think twice before running with another potential Fusion client.

Mrs. Clinton will not be in the courtroom, but the darkened campaign statements about the work of Perkins Coie and Fusion have fallen to ashes. Mr. Durham’s evidence shows that top Clinton aides – including campaign manager Robby Mook – were reviewed for the allegations and helped circulate them. Also among those circulating was incumbent national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who has faced calls to resign over his role.

Then there’s James Comey’s FBI. One downside to Durham’s “lie” strategy is that it requires prosecutors to present the FBI as a fraud in the Clinton operation. However, interestingly, this attracted defense provide evidence of FBI corruption. Mr. Sussmann’s attorneys will argue at trial that their client cannot be found guilty of lying to the FBI, as “they reviewed more than 300 emails indicating the office understood that Sussmann worked for contested organizations. Democratic nomination,” as reported by the Washington Post.

The FBI knew it all and ran after an undisclosed political stain, even if Mr. Sussmann’s accusation of lying allowed them to pretend it was on top. And as Durham’s evidence shows, it continued to pretend, not to track down Mr. Steele, Clinton’s profile, or origins until long after the election (at which point special counsel Robert Mueller did). didn’t spy on the FBI for almost two days, many more years). Most of the FBI’s former leaders have been fired or left, the organization’s reputation is in decline, and the GOP will dig deeper if it takes back Congress this fall.

Many conservatives remain disappointed that Mr Durham has not pursued more sweeping conspiracy charges. But cases of conspiracy are difficult to prove. The extensive prosecution of high-profile figures would trigger a political frenzy, and be billed by the media as a partisan exercise. A court defeat would make it easier for the press to treat the entire effort as blown up.

The narrow prosecution of little-known Mr. Sussmann has allowed the focus to be on the larger story. Stay tuned for more coverage of a trial that was in the headlines about a lawyer, but was in fact a continuation of one of the dirtiest tricks in modern American history. .

Write to kim@wsj.com.

In a new legal filing, the special counsel said a technology company with access to Trump’s internet communications shared that data with special agents working on the Clinton campaign last year. 2016. Photo: Getty Images / AP / Masterclass / Reuters Synthesis: Mark Kelly

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Alley Einstein

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