Court filings show plan to introduce evidence that Clinton campaign flooded media with “unverified derogatory information” on Trump.
Just days after Hillary Clinton emissaries Christopher Steele and Michael Sussmann approached the FBI in September 2016 with dirt that would infuse the Russia collusion probe, the campaign’s opposition research firm sent some of the same information to New York Times journalists.
“Gents good to see you yesterday,” a Fusion GPS executive wrote the reporters. “Sounded like you might be interested in some of the attached russia-related material. these are internal, open source research drafts, as agreed, pls treat this as background/not for attribution. as you’ll see it’s all easily replicated anyway.”
The invitation to further dirty up Donald Trump continued: “Can also send you a [name]/Toronto memo once i dig it out. I’m skipping over [name] and [company name]. believe your guys have done that up … leave it to you to distribute internally, or not, as you see fit. don’t believe sunny isles/hollywood or panama or toronto have been touched by brands xy or z. amazingly, don’t think anyone has done up the trump tower poker ring story either. pretty vivid color there.”
The missive is one of hundreds of emails that Special Counsel John Durham has obtained between Clinton campaign operatives and journalists that spread “unverified derogatory information” about Donald Trump, spawning the false Russia collusion narrative shortly before Election Day 2016. They’ve now been made public in court filings.
Durham recently disclosed several communications with reporters in a filing designed to reject the Clinton campaign’s claim that its Steele dossier and other research should be shielded from public view at an upcoming trial because it was covered by attorney client privilege.
Durham’s argument is straightforward: Attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply to materials the campaign distributed widely to third parties.
But his filing also puts the traditional media on notice that when Sussmann’s trial on a charge of lying to the FBI begins next month, the unholy alliance between traditional media reporters and the Democrat machine will be laid bare for the world to see.
And it is clear prosecutors have a clear theory that much of the information spread and then reported by the news media was glaringly weak if not outright false. Durham’s filings refer to the Clinton opposition research alternately as a “red herring,” “unverified” “too obvious” to be true, or containing a “very weak link.” In some cases, those were words used by the very researchers helping assemble the materials.
Yet the traditional media reported it and re-reported it for nearly two years before Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded there was no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy to hijack the 2016 election.
“One of the famous fake news outlets likes to say, ‘Democracy dies in darkness.’ They’re exactly right,” former Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman who helped uravel the Russia collusion narrative, told Just the News. “They’re the ones who have created the darkness, and democracy does die. It just happens to be the fake news media that’s actually creating this.”
Kash Patel, Nunes’ former chief counsel on the committee, said traditional news media outlets are ignoring or downplaying much of the bombshell revelations in Durham’s filings because “the mainstream media, the fake news media, cannot stand how right we were and how wrong they are.”
Whatever the coverage, Durham’s filings make abundantly clear the Clinton campaign used the media to spread uncorroborated Russia allegations to dirty up Trump at the same time its emissaries were trying to get the FBI, the CIA and the State Department to investigate the same dirt.
The Clinton campaign and its opposition research team “triggered a sizeable outflow of unverified derogatory information into the media, the government, and the public,” Durham wrote in one filing.
In another he added: “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” Trump.
Durham said the flooding of the news media was so egregious that it obliterated any claim by the Clinton campaign that Fusion’s work was attorney-client privileged work designed to advise on libel issues.
“One would expect contemporaneous emails and documents to reflect that Fusion GPS and/or its clients exercised some degree of caution and care before publicizing unverified or potentially inflammatory materials,” but they did not, Durham noted.
The most recent Durham filing lays out several contacts Fusion GPS and the Clinton team had with news media, including The New York Times, ABC News and Slate magazine.
The first media contact noted by Durham dates to May 2016, well before the Steele dossier was crafted or the FBI contacted.
“On May 14, 2016, a Fusion GPS employee emailed a Slate reporter who would publish an article about the Russian Bank-1 allegations several months later,” the court fling noted. “In the exchange and subsequent emails, the employee shared portions of research that Fusion GPS was conducting regarding a Trump advisor.”
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By July, the campaign research team expanded its contacts, including to the Wall Street Journal, to which it “conveyed information Fusion GPS had gathered regarding, among other things, Trump Advisor-1, Russian Bank-1, and a purported board member of Russian Bank-1 who later would appear in the Fusion GPS white paper that the defendant provided to the FBI.”
Some of Durham’s newly released information shows how the Clinton campaign pointed reporters to elected officials who would confirm or react to the Russia information.
For instance, the prosecutor noted that a Fusion GPS executive urged a reporter at the Wall Street Journal to “call [a named U.S. Representative] or [a named U.S. Senator],” stating, “I bet they are concerned about what [Trump Advisor-1] was doing other than giving a speech over 3 days in Moscow.”
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told Just the News on Friday that Durham is showing just how closely the media, the Democratic establishment and some rogue elements in U.S intelligence worked together to perpetrate the false Russia story in 2016 — a pattern he said was repeated when the same forces falsely portrayed the Hunter Biden laptop as disinformation in 2020.
“What we all suspected all along is that the Clinton campaign was really pushing this,” he said. “And we didn’t know that they just made it up out of whole cloth. But that looks like exactly what they did.”
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