Lawyers for former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann are furious at Special Counsel John Durham for describing an effort to spy on President Donald Trump while in office — and cited Breitbart News coverage in their response.
On Friday, as Breitbart News reported, Durham filed a motion about the defense lawyers’ potential conflict of interest. He also included information about an effort to mine data about cell phone communications around Trump Tower, Trump’s private residence, and the Executive Office of the President in an effort to create a narrative about Russian “collusion”:
The Government’s evidence at trial will also establish that among the Internet data Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited was domain name system (“DNS”) Internet traffic pertaining to (i) a particular healthcare provider, (ii) Trump Tower, (iii) Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and (iv) the Executive Office of the President of the United States (“EOP”). (Tech Executive-1’s employer, Internet Company-1, had come to access and maintain dedicated servers for the EOP as part of a sensitive arrangement whereby it provided DNS resolution services to the EOP. Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited this arrangement by mining the EOP’s DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump.)
On Monday, Durham’s lawyers responded, not only dismissing concerns about a conflict of interest but denying the allegations and complaining that they were prejudicial to their client’s case. They cited media coverage in conservative news sources — since the establishment media ignored the story — and included Breitbart News’ own coverage as an example (original emphasis):
In his Motion, the Special Counsel included approximately three pages of purported “Factual Background.” … Approximately half of this Factual Background provocatively—and misleadingly—describes for the first time Domain Name System (“DNS”) traffic potentially associated with former President Donald Trump, including data at the Executive Office of the President (“EOP”), that was allegedly presented to Agency-2 in February 2017. … These allegations were not included in the Indictment; these allegations post-date the single false statement that was charged in the Indictment; and these allegations were not necessary to identify any of the potential conflicts of interest with which the Motion is putatively concerned.
Why then include them? The question answers itself. …
Sadly, the Special Counsel seems to be succeeding in his effort to instigate unfair and prejudicial media coverage of Mr. Sussmann’s case. Indeed, since the Motion was filed, numerous outlets published stories suggesting that the Special Counsel’s latest filing revealed a vast conspiracy involving Mr. Sussmann and the Clinton Campaign. See, e.g. … Joel B. Pollack [sic], John Durham Filing Suggests Clinton Operatives Spied on Trump in 2016 and in White House, BREITBART (Feb. 12, 2022), https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/02/12/john-durham-filing-suggests-clinton-operativesspied-on-trump-in-2016-and-in-white-house/. …
Worse still, Mr. Trump seized upon the Special Counsel’s filing, stating that it “provides indisputable evidence that my campaign and presidency were spied on by operatives paid by the Hillary Clinton Campaign in an effort to develop a completely fabricated connection to Russia.” He went on to call this a scandal “far greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate,” said that “[i]n a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death,” and demanded “reparations.”
Sussmann’s lawyers decry Durham’s “conspiracy” theory but also state that Sussmann had no reason to believe that the data he provided to the FBI to substantiate claims of Russian collusion had been manipulated or were “untrue or misleading.”
The lawyers claim that Durham’s filing will taint the jury pool and asked the court to strike, or delete, the “factual background” portion.
Sussmann is charged with lying to the FBI when he allegedly concealed that he was representing the Clinton campaign. He has pleaded not guilty.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.