The 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton is now trying to stop Special Counsel John Durham from getting his hands on certain documents that he is seeking in his investigation of the Russian Collusion Hoax, Fox News reports.
The documents are related to work that the law firm Perkins Coie LLP did with Clinton’s campaign, with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and with the opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
The DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the now-debunked Steele Dossier, which was commissioned by Fusion GPS.
Durham made the document request earlier this month, asking non-party entities to provide “further justification for the assertion of their privilege.”
Attorney-client privilege asserted
This week, Hillary for America (HFA), Clinton’s chief campaign committee for her 2016 presidential bid, submitted a filing in which it argued that some of the documents requested by Durham ought to be withheld because they are protected by the attorney-client privilege.
This privilege allows an attorney’s client to keep certain communications with the attorney confidential. Here, the clients, at least according to court documents, are Hillary For America and the DNC, and so it is up to them to assert the privilege, which is what Hillary For America is currently doing.
Hillary for America supported the assertion of the privilege with statements from Robby Mook, Clinton’s former campaign manager, and John Podesta, Clinton’s former campaign chair.
“legal services and legal advice”?
Mook says that it is his belief that throughout the 2016 campaign “whatever work Perkins Coie performed, either through its own professionals or through any contractors it may have engaged to assist it, the work was done for the purpose of providing legal services and legal advice to HFA.”
Podesta, on the other hand, provided a more direct response, stating:
Whatever work Perkins Coie performed, either through its own professionals or through any contractors it may have engaged to assist it, the work was done for the purpose of providing legal services and legal advice to HFA. HFA is not waiving any of its privileges, and it opposes the government’s motion to compel filed on April 6, 2022.
A key question, here, is whether the work that Perkins Coie really was “legal services and legal advice.” Another question is whether the work was actually legal. If not, then the privilege might not apply.
This fighting over documents comes as the trial of Michael Sussmann, the former Clinton campaign lawyer, is about to kick off. The start is scheduled to take place on May 16.
Sussmann stands accused by Durham of lying to federal agents about who he was working for when he met with the FBI in 2016 to provide fake evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Durham has provided evidence that Sussman was working for a tech executive as well as for Clinton’s campaign.