Clinton campaign, Elias, DNC, and Fusion GPS battle Durham

Durham said in April that Fusion, the opposition research firm, “was not primarily providing or supporting expertise relating to legal advice; instead, it appears that the investigative firm’s primary, if not sole, function was to generate opposition research materials that the firm then shared widely.” 

British ex-spy Christopher Steele created his discredited anti-Trump dossier after being hired by Fusion, which was itself hired by Perkins and Marc Elias, the general counsel for Clinton’s campaign. Sussmann and Elias worked for Perkins Coie at the time. Fusion pushed Alfa-Bank claims, too.

The Federal Election Commission ruled in February there was “probable cause” to believeHillary for America and the DNC violated federal laws by “misreporting the purpose of certain disbursements" and fined them. 

The FEC said the DNC paid $849,407 and the Clinton campaign paid $175,000 to Perkins Coie for what was alleged in a complaint to be “opposition research done by Fusion.” The Clinton campaign reported the purpose of all those payments as “legal services,” and the DNC reported the purpose of most of those payments as “legal and compliance consulting." 

Durham noted Fusion claims were pushed to the media, State Department, Justice Department, Congress, and elsewhere, and “these efforts resulted in numerous media articles” before and after the 2016 election. The special counsel said Fusion also drafted one of the “white papers” Sussmann gave Baker.


Sussmann accused Durham of “mounting a last-minute frontal assault on third-party assertions of attorney-client privilege and work product protection that affect what could be the production of thousands of documents, the testimony of numerous witnesses, and, most importantly, Mr. Sussmann’s fundamental defense strategy” during a Monday court filing. 

Perkins said Tuesday it withheld documents "as protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product privilege claims" asserted by the DNC, Clinton campaign, and Joffe. Patrick Benedict of the firm said Elias left Perkins in September, and “records in connection with the representation” of the Clinton campaign were transferred to Elias in August. 

Hillary for America also intervened Tuesday, saying it was “asserting attorney-client privilege and work protection" related to Perkins and Fusion. 
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook declared “one of the topics about which Perkins Coie provided legal services ... to HFA involved fact-finding and research that the campaign conducted" on Trump, and Mook claimed he believed any work Perkins or Fusion did “was done for the purpose of providing legal services.”

Elias also included a redacted declaration, claiming “presidential campaigns regularly encounter offensive and defensive litigation risks in multiple ways." 

He argued the DNC and Clinton campaign “maintained a large research staff whose responsibility it was to research candidate Trump.” He said Fusion co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch said “they thought they would be a good fit if I was looking to retain a consultant to support me in representing my clients.” He claimed that “Fusion’s role was to provide consulting services” that Perkins was giving related to defamation and libel laws.


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