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March 8, 2022

Say what you will about former Attorney General Bill Barr…

...but he deserves credit for his fantastic pick of John Durham as special counsel to investigate the origins of the phony “Trump/Russia” probe. For a long time, we all wondered what he could possibly be doing, as months and months went by without any news. But now it’s easy to understand why the case is taking so long. There’s much more to it than anyone imagined at the outset.

In his latest court filing, made Friday to counter Michael Sussmann’s attorneys’ most recent motions, Durham has shown that he'd make a great archer, as he aims right at the target and hits a rhetorical bull’s-eye. Here’s a link to the whole 16-page document.

Recall that Sussmann, conveniently the attorney for both the Hillary Clinton campaign and Rodney Joffe (Tech Executive – 1), has been charged with lying to the FBI by failing to disclose that he was acting on behalf of legal clients. He maintained that he had brought the (fake) Alfa Bank story to the FBI simply out of his sense of patriotic duty, as a concerned citizen. A couple of weeks ago, in their motion to dismiss that charge, Sussmann’s attorneys said --- try not to laugh --- that their client hadn’t lied, but that even if he HAD lied, the lie was not material to the case and was protected by the First Amendment besides, so, come on, judge, just let it go.

Durham, in his response to the First Amendment argument, took aim and said, “Far from finding himself in the vulnerable position of an ordinary person whose speech is likely to be chilled, the defendant --- a sophisticated and well-connected lawyer --- chose to bring politically-charged allegations to the FBI’s chief legal officer [James Baker] at the height of an election season.

“He then chose to lie about the clients who were behind those allegations. Using such rare access to the halls of power for the purposes of political deceit is hardly the type of speech that the Founders intended to protect. The Court should therefore reject defendant’s invitation to expand the scope of the First Amendment to protect such conduct.”

Is that not great?

As for whether his (false) statements to the FBI were material to the case, Durham was spot-on again. Imagine how things might have gone if Sussmann had been honest about his true connections, given their implied motivations. His ties to the Clinton campaign could --- at least SHOULD --- have had tremendous bearing. As Durham put it:

“Had the defendant truthfully informed the FBI General Counsel that he was providing the information on behalf of one or more clients, as opposed to merely acting as a ‘good citizen,’ the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel might have asked a multitude of additional questions material to the case initiation process.”

It’s hard to imagine information more material to the case than this. As Durham said, the lie was capable of “influencing both the FBI’s decision to initiate an investigation and its subsequent conduct of that investigation.”

Knowledge of these attorney-client relationships, he said, “would have shed critical light on the origins of the allegations at issue.” It goes without saying that this would certainly not have been in the interest of Sussmann’s clients, Hillary Clinton and a man trying in an underhanded way to help get her elected. Sussmann's charade was completely in their interest.

“Given the temporal proximity to the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Durham said, “the FBI also might have taken any number of different steps in initiating, delaying, or declining the initiation of this matter had it known at the time that the defendant was providing information on behalf of the Clinton campaign and a technology executive at a private company.”

Sussmann’s attorneys had also moved to strike the “Factual Background” in Durham’s charge –- the part that went into detail about Sussmann’s ties with Clinton and Joffe as part of the larger picture. They said Durham had included that part “to politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool.” We'd thought their attempt to strike that section seemed like a well-we-gotta-try-something move, as they ended up calling MORE attention to it.

Durham made it clear that there was no basis to strike any part of that motion, as the factual background was “central” to proving the allegation of Sussmann’s criminal conduct. He also said that some of it was necessary for explaining the conflicts of interest that were the point of his earlier filing about various people of interest (Sussmann included) being defended by the same law firm, Latham & Watkins.

Margot Cleveland has another great article about the filings in Durham’s case, this one saying he “demolished” the attempt to get Sussmann’s charges dropped.

Cleveland offers her usual superb analysis, making points seen nowhere else. She offers five “key takeaways” from Durham’s filing:

1. On the issue of materiality, Durham states what the correct standard for that is, stressing that it refers to the “potential,” as opposed to the actual, effects of the lie. And even using the defense attorneys’ very narrow standard, Sussmann’s alleged “misrepresentation” (lie) is still material because it could have influenced the FBI’s decision-making.

Cleveland says denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss is “inevitable” and that Durham refuted “six ways to Sunday” the claim that Sussmann's lie was not material. It plainly was, he said, “because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign.” Doesn't get much plainer than that.

2. Durham destroyed the Democrats’ talking point that the FBI already knew Sussmann was an attorney for the DNC. Sussmann had held himself out as a cybersecurity and national security attorney, “not an election lawyer or political consultant,” Durham wrote. So when Sussmann had denied any client relationships, he had made it seem that he was not there in a political capacity, when he was.

3. Durham countered the defense’s argument that Joffe’s status as “a long-standing respected FBI source” made Sussmann’s failure to disclose representing him immaterial. This one is a bit “in the weeds” but really interesting, so if you’re following these arguments closely, do read Cleveland’s piece.

4. Durham countered another defense argument that's also a talking point, the one saying that Trump was not the target because data brought by Sussmann was from before he was President. The special counsel made it clear that this is a distinction without a difference, as Trump clearly was the target.

5. Finally, Durham had some fun with the defense’s assertion that the charge against their client “risks valuable First Amendment speech,” calling a comparison they'd made “absurd.” Sussmann, he said, “as a former government attorney and prosecutor...was well aware that the law required him to honest and forthright when communicating with the FBI.”

I wonder --- is that even possible when furthering the interests of Hillary Clinton?

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Comments 1-10 of 10

  • Elaine C Wassink

    03/23/2022 11:37 AM

    Thank you, John Durham!!! Thanks for unraveling the twisted vines around the thorny bush that is Hillary Clinton. And thanks for digging into the dirt to find the roots of this tangled mess. Dig deep, because the roots are like that of the field bindweed which sends out tenticles far and wide to come up and strangle any plant it can reach. Chopping the root doesn't kill it --each piece will grow new trouble. Dig it out completely, burn it, kill it!! Thanks also to you, Margot Cleveland! Stand strong!!

  • Andrea Duguay

    03/14/2022 12:33 PM

    The attorneys that represent the violators of our Constitution have very feeble arguments at best. If the Democrats get away with these heinous actions that keep piling up to unacceptable incompetence and lying outright thinking that their judges will bail them out again and again, then the arguments should follow all the people involved in the January 6th fiasco that was rigged anyway to lure curious, nonviolent, unmotivated, and unarmed people into the capitol building.
    They should all be let go anyway due to legal matters involved in what the charges are, - if any.
    As usual the Democrats are buying their way through this 4 year period to do the most hateful damage ever to the people of the USA. Time for all of them to go due to gross incompetence and illegal motives and actions.
    Can we even vote them out legally as they are I. The midst of illegally planning the disastrous rules for voting in their favor…. What to do besides praying and putting our trust in God and Durham. Please advise.

  • Dan Vogel

    03/13/2022 09:29 PM

    I totally disagree with you on Ukraine. You have ignored Bio-weapons labs being eliminated, the child trafficking being eliminated and the neo-Nazi regime running the corruption in the government that is being attacked, not the regular citizens. You sound exactly like the main stream media being run by the cabal on Ukraine. God is working way behind the scenes and the church is missing it.

  • Roy Ketcher

    03/13/2022 06:33 PM

    This is nice to see.Now just (hope)waiting to see criminal charges to be put on this cartoon show that has been going on for years.Not holding my breath as I don’t want to faint..

  • Sally Jones

    03/13/2022 04:37 PM

    Please, please stay on top of this evil stuff happening right under our noses. We want the TRUTH, NOT the garbage coming out of the walls with their fake challenges. Our country will only survive if we have honesty.

  • Larry Newman

    03/13/2022 01:56 PM

    Now comes the question of how hard did Sussmann even have to work to get the FBI to believe the story, since Peter Strzok was talking about a plan B if Trump won. I'm waiting for Durham to tie the two (along with McCabe and Page) together for the conspiracy.

  • Stephen Clay Strahan

    03/09/2022 05:09 PM

    Due to recent Clinton Legal disputes, and how they were resolved, I do not have any trust or faith in our Legal System anymore. They, like PAC's, are swayed by Political parties and who feeds their charities--(sometimes a legal smoke screen). I pray that one day our Legal system will once again be "Blind" and justice will actually be served. Big prayer, I know, but one more likely to be answered than praying for our Political Parties get back to representing the American citizenry and not themselves. If truth wins over Political pushback/fallout, Hillary will be convicted. Will someone please pass me a oxygen tank as I cannot hold my breath long enough.

  • Mike Tracy

    03/09/2022 08:25 AM

    You can get anything squashed or passed if you can just get the right activist judge! There is no blind justice. It's all political bias.

  • Mike DeViese

    03/08/2022 03:47 PM

    well, the day ever come when we see Hillary do a perp walk on national tv

  • Robert Martynowski

    03/08/2022 12:34 PM

    Hi Mike, My concern is who appointed the judge in this case? it wouldn't be the first time a solid case was dismissed by a Clinton friendly court room. Bob Martyn