New documents made public by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reveal that Hillary Clinton’s campaign payments to Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Donald Trump were not considered legal expenses. These documents destroy the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign’s attempts to hide behind attorney-client privilege in special counsel John Durham’s criminal case against former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann.
Sussmann, who is awaiting trial in a D.C. federal court on the charge that he made a false statement to former FBI General Counsel James Baker, is currently fighting to keep prosecutors from seeing 38 documents withheld from the grand jury based on claims of attorney-client privilege.
In April, Durham’s team filed a motion to compel those with the documents to provide them to the court to allow the judge to assess, in-camera, whether they were properly withheld. However, following Sussmann’s opposition to the in-camera review to keep the documents sealed more of Clinton’s lackeys followed suit. Last week, the trial court granted the flurry of motions to intervene, authorizing tech executive Rodney Joffe, Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie, the DNC, and the Clinton campaign to file briefs opposing the disclosure of the documents, according to The Federalist.
On Wednesday, the court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the special counsel’s motion and decide whether the 38 documents must be turned over.
The Federalist reports:
The memoranda conclude that probable cause supports a finding that both the Clinton campaign and the DNC misrepresented the purpose of the payments to Fusion GPS. While the political organizations reported the payments to Fusion GPS as “legal services” or “legal and compliance consulting,” the FEC concluded probable cause existed that the expenses instead related to opposition research.
The memoranda—one issued related to the DNC and the second addressing the complaint against the Clinton campaign—begin with the FEC general counsel’s office reciting the now well-known facts, beginning with the players. Perkins Coie served as general counsel for the DNC during the 2016 election cycle, the memoranda say. Then, in April 2016, Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS to perform “a variety of research and consulting services.” The memoranda then recount the evidence the FEC general counsel reviewed, which “included invoices, account statements, copies of checks, and wire transfers.”
Rather than fight the FEC’s conclusion, the DNC and Clinton campaign entered settlement agreements with the agency, agreeing to pay a fine and refrain from similar violations in the future. [READ NEXT:
Following the DNC and the Clinton campaign’s court filings to intervene in the Sussmann case, The Coolidge Reagan Foundation’s attorney Dan Backer filed a 3-page letter to the special counsel’s office. Backer summarized the key details about the FEC’s recent decision before suggesting the DNC and Clinton campaign’s agreement not to “further contest the Commission’s findings” should prevent them from asserting attorney-client privilege in the Sussmann case.
“The Government should not permit HFA and the DNC to adopt conflicting positions in different proceedings, depending on the federal agency against which they are litigating,” the foundation argued, adding that the trial court may find those breaches of the settlement agreement “material in ruling on any privilege claims.”
The FEC memorandum also stressed that the invoices Fusion GPS sent to Perkins Coie for the services rendered on behalf of the Clinton campaign listed “a monthly retainer fee plus additional fees labeled as ‘Russia Research’ or ‘Russian language researcher.’” Those Fusion GPS charges included payments “Fusion made to its sub vendors, Nellie Ohr, Graham Stack, Edward Austin Limited, and Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd.” The sub-vendors all conducted opposition research for Fusion GPS related to Trump, the FEC memorandum explained, again countering the proposition that the subcontractor and its vendors were assisting Perkins Coie in providing legal services to the Clinton campaign.
The invoices also showed that Perkins Coie charged the DNC for the entire portion of the fees invoiced by Fusion GPS, meaning Perkins Coie likely served as simply a pass-through entity for Fusion GPS’s opposition research.
Monday night, the special counsel filed supplement to allow the judge to assess the 38 documents in-camera.
BREAKING: Durham files supplement based on FEC report. pic.twitter.com/8yA5RoqqdV
— Margot Cleveland (@ProfMJCleveland) May 3, 2022