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Clinton campaign hired techs to 'mine' data about Trump servers to fuel collusion suspicions: Durham

Alleged Russian bank link was major scandal during Trump's presidency

Published: February 12, 2022 5:45pm

Updated: February 15, 2022 1:10pm

Filings from Special Counsel John Durham this week allege the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign was working to establish a "narrative" linking the Trump campaign to a Russian bank, in an alleged gambit one expert said was an effort to "infiltrate" Trump servers to that end. 

The allegations, first reported on by Fox News on Saturday, are another layer to the densely, multifaceted Durham investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, one that has continued long after Trump left office and that continues to produce fresh controversies on a regular basis.

Fox News reported Durham's court filing said lawyers for the Clinton campaign paid a technology company to "infiltrate" servers belonging to Trump Tower and the Trump White House to create an "inference" of Russia collusion in 2016-17, hoping to get federal agencies to investigate.

The actual court filing did not use the word "infiltrate" but rather said the executives were seeking to "mine" data about the servers.

Durham's latest filings involve a federal false statement charge brought against Michael Sussman, a former Washington, D.C. lawyer for the Clinton campaign and the law firm Perkins Coie.

Sussman had been questioned by the FBI prior to the 2016 election as to whether he was working for a client when he brought allegations to the bureau about Trump's links to the major private Russian financial institution Alfa-Bank. Sussman denied he was working for anyone, something federal prosecutors claim was untrue. 

In September 2021, Durham announced that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Sussmann with making a false statement to the FBI on Sept. 19, 2016, regarding alleged communications between the Trump Organization and Russian Bank.

In his most recent filings, according to Fox, Durham argues that prior to the FBI's questioning, Sussman "had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign." 

Durham argues that Sussman "repeatedly billed the Clinton campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations."

The filings further argue that Sussman and the tech executive in question "had met and communicated with another law partner, who was serving as general counsel to the Clinton campaign," a man purported to be Marc Elias, another Clinton campaign lawyer. 

"In connection with these efforts, Tech Executive-1 exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data," the filing states, according to Fox. "Tech Executive-1 also enlisted the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing large amounts of Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract."

"Tech Executive-1 tasked these researchers to mine Internet data to establish 'an inference' and 'narrative' tying then-candidate Trump to Russia," the filing purportedly continue. "In doing so, Tech Executive-1 indicated that he was seeking to please certain 'VIPs,' referring to individuals at Law Firm-1 and the Clinton campaign."

Kash Patel, a former aide to California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes who has worked in Congress to reveal the origins of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, said in an interview with Fox that the filing "definitively shows that the Hillary Clinton campaign directly funded and ordered its lawyers at Perkins Coie to orchestrate a criminal enterprise to fabricate a connection between President Trump and Russia." 

"Per Durham, this arrangement was put in motion in July of 2016, meaning the Hillary Clinton campaign and her lawyers masterminded the most intricate and coordinated conspiracy against Trump when he was both a candidate and later President of the United States while simultaneously perpetuating the bogus Steele Dossier hoax," Patel told Fox.

He argued further that the lawyers in question were working to "infiltrate" servers at both Trump Tower and the White House. 

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