The Stanley Kowalski Defense: Durham Seeks to Force the Clinton Campaign and DNC to Turn Over Evidence in Sussmann Case

It is always good to have a “lawyer acquaintance” when things get tough. In “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the character Stanley Kowalski famously assures to Blanche DuBois that he has “a lawyer acquaintance” who will protect her. The same appears to be true for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. Special Counsel John Durham is fighting to get access to evidence related to his prosecution  of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. The documents are being withheld by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Fusion GPS, and Perkins Coie. There are 1,455 withheld documents, but only 18 reportedly involved a lawyer. However, they are arguing that their “lawyer acquaintances” shield their communications from disclosure to the Special Counsel.

Sussmann’s defense recently took a body blow from Durham after the Special Counsel revealed that Sussmann did not just conceal the role of the Clinton campaign in pushing a debunked Russian collusion allegation but put that same alleged lie into writing. In both a text message and the later meeting, Sussmann is accused of lying about not representing any client despite billing the time to the campaign.

Sussmann faces a single charge under 18 U.S.C. 1001 for lying to the FBI in a meeting with the then-FBI General Counsel James Baker.

In the indictment, Sussmann is accused of “mak[ing] a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement or representation” in conversations with Baker. Durham argued that “the defendant provided the FBI General Counsel with purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank.”

That institution was Alfa Bank and Sussmann’s effort paralleled the work of his partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, Marc Elias, in pushing the Steele Dossier in a separate debunked collusion claim.  The Federal Election Commission recently fined the Clinton Campaign and the DNC for hiding the funding of the dossier as a legal cost by Elias at Perkins Coie.

The Clinton Campaign’s Alfa Bank conspiracy was found to be baseless but the FBI did not know that it was being offered by someone being paid by the campaign to spread the claim. Had they known, Durham alleges the department might have been able to avoid the investigation costs and effort spent on the Alfa matter.

Durham told the court that these sources (and tech executive Rodney Joffe) have refused to turn over documents as protected by attorney-client or work product privilege. Durham can use the crime/fraud exception to compel disclosure but he is first asking the court to review the documents in camera.

Attorney-client privilege is generally raised by clients but can be raised in some circumstances by third parties under some circumstances. However, the exchange must be “for the purpose of obtaining legal advice from the lawyer.” Likewise, the work product doctrine protects documents that were “prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial” by third parties on behalf of the client.

What is interesting about this fight is that the Clinton campaign is accused of using Perkins Coie and both Sussmann and Elias to conceal its secret campaign to push the Russian collusion story. The FEC recently fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for violating election rules in hiding that funding as legal costs.

Now the campaign and Perkins Coie are using attorney-client privilege to withhold evidence in a case where the former partner is accused of using his status of counsel to conceal information from the government.

Recently, the media celebrated the decision of a judge to compel the disclosure of alleged attorney-client material to Congress related to the January 6th riot. Yet, there has been comparably little coverage of this fight despite striking similarities on the underlying claims.

Judge David O. Carter in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California used the crime/fraud exception to order the release of material claimed as privileged by John Eastman, who advised former President Donald Trump on opposing the certification of the election.

Judge Carter was praised for his “simple clarity” in declaring that “it is more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”

At the time, I wrote that people need to “consider the implications of Carter’s opinion . . . there is no clear limiting principle of when a legal opinion becomes a criminal conspiracy beyond the court’s predisposition of the meaning of these facts.”

In this case, you have third parties raising privilege arguments in refusing to allow Durham to see what was discussed in the effort to push the false Russian collusion claims. Durham argues:

“Many, if not most, of the actions taken by the employees of [Fusion GPS] thereafter do not appear to have been a necessary part of, or even related to, [Perkins Coie’s] legal advice to HFA and the DNC. Instead, contemporaneous communications and other evidence make clear that the primary purpose of the [Fusion GPS’] work relating to the U.K. Person-1 dossier, the [Alfa Bank] allegations, and other issues was to assemble and publicize allegations that would aid the campaign’s public relations goals.”

Notably, Durham also argues that any privileges, if they existed at all, were waived by the public statements of these parties. The filing cites the publication of a book and other public statements, including disclosures where “the authors appear to expressly suggest that [Perkins Coie] purposefully structured the [Fusion GPS] relationship with [Perkins Coie] to maintain confidentiality over their work.”

Those documents could shed new light on the efforts, and individuals, involved in this effort by the Clinton campaign to secretly fund and spread the Russian collusion story.

The filing not only raises serious questions about the professional position of Perkins Coie and its former counsel. It also raises questions about the position of journalists cooperating in this effort. One such reporter is depicted as eagerly pursuing any allegations against Trump despite the lack of proof of authenticity. In one exchange, a figure at Fusion GPS tells the reporter “do the [expletive] [Alfa Bank] secret comms story. It’s hugely important.”

Many did in reporting on the Steele Dossier and Alfa Bank allegations despite the lack of proof. After all, running these claims was “hugely important” and there was no reason worry: Fusion GPS and the Clinton Campaign have a lot of “lawyer acquaintances.”

Here is the motion: Durham Motion

112 thoughts on “The Stanley Kowalski Defense: Durham Seeks to Force the Clinton Campaign and DNC to Turn Over Evidence in Sussmann Case”

  1. When Michael Sussman testifies to justify his actions, his performance will leave much to be desired. Unfortunately for him, there’s no Stella Adler today to help him.

  2. @Iowan,

    You’ll never win arguing w a petulant child.

    The crime is quid pro quo.

    The irony… the laptop further defends Trump’s call w the Ukraine government.


    1. Thanks IMG. Not really arguing. More like playing with a cat, using a laser pointer. Something mindless I can do that brings a smile to my face, until I get bored and move on to actual meaningful stuff. It does searve the purpose of going back to get time lines and facts. That validates the opinions I formed. If I find something I haven’t seen before, I can adjust accordingly.
      I like your other posts. Concise, on point. I most likely would get along with you even if I disagreed.

      1. “More like playing with a cat . . .”

        Cats? Really? You had to impugn cats?!

  3. @Anonymous

    Uhm that’s not completely accurate.

    Of those cases dismissed the ruling said that the plaintiff lacked standing. (That’s actually arguable)

    Other cases were postponed until after Jan 6th.

    As we look at some of the challenges in these states… the courts seem to agree with the plaintiffs, albeit too late to do anything.


  4. @Svelaz,
    Maybe you should learn more about the law.

    Durham made a comment that he had to charge Sussman when he did because time was running out. Sussman was charged within the statute of limitations. (5yrs on federal crimes unless otherwise stated in the specific law. )
    Since Sussman was charged Durham has shown that there was a conspiracy in play.

    That’s significant because once there’s a shown conspiracy… the clock is reset. So no, he has a case. There is no longer any statue of limitations.

    The truth is coming out.

    Comey and others are afraid of Durham and rightly so.


  5. I hope Durham gets a lot of these documents. From the way they have been described it would not be surprising for them to be found to fall outside the scope of both attorney-client privilege and work product privilege.

    The most interesting part of Durham’s motion is his suggestion that a joint venture or conspiracy was formed among the Clinton campaign, Sussman, Elias, Fusion GPS, Steele and others to promote fabricated allegations to the media, FBI, DOJ, State Department and CIA to damage Trump’s campaign and presidency. While the motion notes that the question whether the joint venture or conspiracy was criminal or not was not relevant to the particular issue here, it may suggest the direction Durham is headed.

  6. There is nothing illegal about challenging a stolen election until the Electors have been seated. So juxtaposing to two is not a just position to take.

  7. I am skeptical that a DC judge will allow Durham ho succeed. It’s a town that is 90%+ Democrat. He or she will become a social pariah.

  8. He DID he collude with Russia.

    Trump publicly called for Russia to interfere in the election to benefit Trump, and Russia did interfere in the election to benefit Trump.

    1. “benefit” is doing a lot of work in your claim
      $100,000 of facebook ads in an election that saw over $2 billion in total ads purchased, is going to have to work very hard to get all the way to “benefit”

    2. Huh? Where’s the evidence of that? Didn’t you read this article, or the dozens of other articles laying out the documentary evidence that the whole Russia Collusion (TM) thing was entirely fictitious, create from whole cloth by Steele and others?

    3. ATS is such a liar. He repeats his lies ike this one and the other one involving unemployment figures.

  9. It seems remarkable to me that we’re here in April of 2022, six years after Sussman, Elias, Podesta, Hillary Clinton, and a long list of unnamed personnel, and it’s like dental surgery to get straight answers from any of those people. They should rename John Durham ‘the Dentist’ based upon his work in getting some of these folks into his dentist’s ‘chair’ and giving them X-rays, while preparing them for major surgery, which is yet to come.

    1. The problem Durham has is that he doesn’t have a case. Unbeknownst to most people, the statute of limitations ran out on him to charge Sussman for making a false statement. He spent so much time chasing this one charge that he essentially screwed up big time. Now he’s trying to salvage the investigation by changing tactics. Durham is dealing with a much more capable defense from Sussman and it is causing him problems. Durham is under pressure to produce results in time for the midterms. His report will be more politically motivated than objective.

  10. New Interview: Trump blames Nancy Pelosi And Muriel Bowser For January 6th Violence

    Former president Donald Trump voiced regret Wednesday over not marching to the U.S. Capitol the day his supporters stormed the building, and he defended his long silence during the attack by claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others were responsible for ending the deadly violence.

    “I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why isn’t she doing something about it? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it? And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge,” Trump said of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot in a 45-minute interview with The Washington Post. “I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it. And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it.”

    Trump said he didn’t remember “getting very many” phone calls that day, and he denied removing call logs or using burner phones.

    Trump, speaking Wednesday afternoon at his palatial beachfront club, said he did not regret urging the crowd to come to Washington with a tweet stating that it would “be wild!” He also stood by his incendiary and false rhetoric about the election at the Ellipse rally before the rioters stormed the Capitol. “I said peaceful and patriotic,” he said, omitting other comments that he made in a speech that day.

    In fact, Trump said he deserved more credit for drawing such a large crowd to the Ellipse — and that he pressed to march on the Capitol with his supporters but was stopped by his security detail. “Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,” he said.

    Edited From:

    The interview was an exclusive Trump gave to The Washington Post.

    It takes a certain sociopath to incite a riot only to blame it on two women who were actually victims of said riot. Speaker Pelosi might well have been physically assaulted had the mob actually caught her that day. And Mayor Bowser’s police suffered multiple injuries.

    Ironically Professor Turley is ‘man’ enough to blame another woman, Hillary Clinton, for sticking Trump with the Russia Probe. Turley expects us to forget that Trump had a very long relationship with Russian ‘investors’ before his presidential run.

    1. OMG! The Washington Post??? Communist Party Headquarters? Pravda, Izvestia? CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, PMSNBC, NPR, etc., ad infinitum? Are you out of your ——- mind?

        1. Oh, my!

          However to respond to such a debilitating rejoinder.

          I accept your artless confession and your categorical concession.

          Thank you so much.

    2. Trump’s Russia ties have always been the issue. He was in the process of signing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow using Alpha bank which is known for using such projects for laundering money.

      Russian hackers started to work on breaching Hillary Clinton’s emails within hours after Trump very publicly asked Russia to hack her emails.

      1. Svelaz, you maybe don’t know this. But Trump builds and runs Hotels across the globe. He is not part of the Biden crime family selling access to the Chinese. So he makes money the old fashioned way. He builds things.

        Also note, the wife of Mayor of Moscow, NEVER sent Trump $3.5 million like Biden received.

        1. Iowan, show us where that claim has been validated by a well-known source.

          1. This is not something that has been hidden away. A Senate report from September 2020.
            This is in part from analysis of suspicious Activity flags from the Treasury Dept.

            A simple search will yield 100’s of articles covering this

            A new Senate report exposes shocking corruption involving Hunter Biden, who made millions in Ukraine at the natural gas company Burisma Holdings when his father, Vice President Joe Biden, was President Obama’s Ukraine point man.

            We’ve long known some of this, but the sheer scope of the influence peddling and sums involved are stunning. The 87-page document also exposes Hunter’s Russian connections, including a $3.5 million payment from the wife of a former Moscow mayor embroiled in scandal.


            1. Iowan2,

              “A new Senate report exposes shocking corruption involving Hunter Biden, who made millions in Ukraine at the natural gas company Burisma Holdings when his father, Vice President Joe Biden, was President Obama’s Ukraine point man.”

              What exactly is the crime here? Is it illegal to make money from being a board member of a foreign company?

              Influence peddling is completely legal. The Supreme court has stated that it is a form of protected speech.

              “The Supreme Court had previously ruled in line of cases culminating in McCutcheon v. FEC (2014) that plutocrats have a First Amendment right to buy, under the guise of campaign financing, undue influence which creates conflicts of interest for the peddlers of that influence. Chief Justice Roberts wrote in McCutcheon that “[i]ngratiation and access” bought in this manner “are not corruption…. They embody a central feature of democracy.”


              1. So the goal posts have moved. From it never happened, to, sure it happened but its not a crime.
                I’ll expect Psaki to lead with that tommorow

                Quite a switch from a guy that wont admitt the President of the United States has plenary powers

              2. “that plutocrats have a First Amendment right to buy, under the guise of campaign financing, undue influence which creates conflicts of interest for the peddlers of that influence.”

                What office is Hunter running for? The ruling covers campaign contributions.

                You need to read the stuff sent to you, before you cut and paste. It will avoid exposing yourself as a know nothing repeating what others give you.

                99.99% of all MSM news
                All retired intelligence officials
                99.99% of all social media

                At least Hunter said it might be his computer. Not that that mattered with the DNC owning all the above.

                BTW, government employees encouraging in any way private industry to do what the law prohibits those government employees from doing: SCOTUS declared that activity illegal a half C ago.



          2. Uhm, define “well-known source”. I assume you actually mean “reliable source”, ala Wikipedia. I’m also guessing your reliable sources are much the same as theirs: WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, Salon, Politifact, MM, etc. None of which, of course, even approach reliable. They really don’t get close enough to see it with the Hubble telescope.

          3. To any reader not a Dem troll, your posts are pathetic and bordering on funny in their magnitude of BS. Turley has posted several hundred pages documenting the obvious crimes of the Biden Krime Syndikat. The fact that you and yours continually post asking for proof at this late date is just pure unadulterated BS.

            Q: if Hunter’s computer and Joe’s activities are 100000% innocent, why the lies and obfuscation about it? Why did Clapper and all the Demonkrap associated intelligence people lie about it, and all social media, etc. etc. etc. Why did Joe blatantly lie about it?

          4. “show us where that claim has been validated by a well-known source.”

            ATS, you are a well-known source and dumb as well. You adopted the lies of the NYT that have been disproven, yet you can’t remember how dumb you were.

        2. Iwoan2, Nobody disputes that Trump builds and runs Hotels across the globe. He’s part of the Trump crime family, Making deals so he can launder money for others. He makes money the old-fashioned way all right. He makes it by being a con artist. There’s a reason why American Banks won’t do business with him. Because he is not trustworthy.

          “Also note, the wife of Mayor of Moscow, NEVER sent Trump $3.5 million like Biden received.” The only reason why that didn’t happen is because the deal became public and scrutiny over his sketchy meeting torpedoed it. He was still intent on doing the deal which was known to have partners well known for money laundering.

          Selling access to the Chinese? That’s hilarious. I think you are confusing Trump’s kids doing that. Ivanka sold a lot of access to the white house by making sweet deals with the Chinese by having her factories in China. Unfortunately, influence peddling is completely legal according to conservative Supreme court justices.

          1. It would be nice to have a group of smarter trolls. Something that was tougher than the Monday NYT crossword.

            1. It would be nice if you could refute the facts. Nothing Hunter Biden has done hasn’t been done by the Trump children. This is why the “scandal” that this is being purported to be is no different than the business dealings Trump’s kids have done when he was in office. Republicans didn’t think it was an issue except when it involved a Democrat. That’s just politics and hypocrisy as usual.

              1. svelaz, I would engage you, if you posted in good faith.
                You dont.
                You have a list of (going back to count) OK, only one accusation. the entirety of the rest are non specific smears, nothing that can be debated using facts, Ivanka’s business ventures in China had been in the works for years. If you are somehow claiming doing business in China, is some sort of disqualifying action, Thousands of US interests are guilty. AGAIN Trump does business on a global scale. All of that was fully vetted by voters, and no laws, regulations, or Constitutional norms were violated.

          2. “There’s a reason why American Banks won’t do business with him.”

            Where do you get such stupid notions? American banks are willing to loan money to any project they believe the risk and interest rate coincide. Ask Chase. They will loan him money because they have made a lot of money with him. Where do you find such nonsense?

      2. Julian Assange and others said the DNC hack was not the Russians. The FBI never examined the DNC hard drive. The DNC would not allow it. The Russian hacker conclusion came from a private company hired by the DNC. Others say the DNC hack came from Seth Rich a DNC staffer who was upset about Clinton’s cheating against Bernie Sanders. Rich was murdered on the streets of DC, which was never investigated by the FBI, only by Capital Police.

      3. The above is a false statement that can only be made by one who lacks any intellectual ability to think before he presses the pot comment button.

    3. New Interview: Trump blames Nancy Pelosi And Muriel Bowser For January 6th Violence

      If by ‘blames” you mean Trump exposed Pelosi and Bowser as negligent in their responsibility to secure the the Capital, you are accurate.

      1. Iowan, as I said, “It takes a certain sociopath to incite a riot only to blame it on two women”.. And we saw that throughout Trump’s presidency, he was always going off on women, blaming them for whatever.

        Never did Trump take responsibility for anything except the the low unemployment rate he inherited from. Obama.

        1. “Iowan, as I said, “It takes a certain sociopath to incite a riot only to blame it on two women”.”

          We have our sociopath in our living rooms, Anonymous the Stupid.

          By the way, I have proven repeatedly, based on the US government’s unemployment figures, that Trump’s reduction in unemployment was about 2-3 times faster than Obama’s when the rate should have been slower. You are a liar. Do you want me to prove it again and prove you a liar again?

          After being proven incorrect, this constant repetition of your lies using data that is not questionable shows you to be what you are, A LIAR.

    4. President Trump has already been exonerated: no collusion with Russia found. Plenty of time and money spent to try to get Hillary’s illegal plan to work to keep President Trump out of the White House. The co-conspirators are still trying to send President Trump to prison. NONE of them could withstand the type of scrutiny President Trump has had to endure.

      The same Mueller who investigated President Trump is the same person whose private plane parked on the tarmac and delivered a sample of weapons grade uranium to Russia after Hillary made it possible for Russia to buy an interest in Uranium One.

      President Trump is the most vetted president in the history of American politics. It’s just beginning with Hillary and Joe.

      Poor Joe, even Obama didn’t want to be caught talking to him during his comeback visit to the White House. Obama is up to his ears in the plan. He’s showing up in public to try to appear unconcerned. Just as Hillary comes to surface when she feels the pressure.

    5. “It takes a certain sociopath to incite a riot only to blame it on two women who were actually victims of said riot. Speaker Pelosi ”

      Nancy Pelosi was safe. She deserves the blame. It was she that didn’t permit extra security. Unfortunately, some people became riotous, but that was relatively few, and as we now know, the Capitol Police were almost escorting people into the Capitol building. That is why the judge found one of those arrested innocent. The person at the top of the chain of command was no other than Nancy Pelosi, who has been the one preventing the truth from coming out. One has to be a fool not to understand her involvement, but there are a lot of fools loitering about on this blog.

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