On Monday, John Durham and his special prosecutors were burning just as much midnight oil as defense lawyers for Michael Sussmann were. Both teams took full advantage of our modern e-file system to hit send on “late-night filings.” This furious exchange of paperwork is “the first indication” that prosecutors expect calling Christopher Steele to the witness stand. At the very least, his dirty dossier will be introduced into evidence.
Durham targets Christopher Steele
Uber-special prosecutor John Durham is almost certain to throw Christopher Steele’s dirty dossier down on an evidence table when he goes to court against Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. You can’t do that! Defense attorney’s object.
The judge will decide if they can or not. The formal charges accuse Sussmann of “lying in regard to a September 2016 meeting with a senior FBI official, where he provided a tip about strange cyberactivity between the Trump Organization and a major Russian bank.”
Team Durham takes the position that “Sussmann falsely denied providing the tip on behalf of a client.” That matters a lot because he did have a client, Hillary Clinton and her campaign. As expected, “he has pleaded not guilty.” He’s allowed to do that. Prosecutors don’t mind sewing his fate up tight in court.
According to CNN, the flurry of motions suggests “that instead of narrowly focusing on Sussmann’s alleged lie and the specific meeting where it allegedly occurred, Durham plans to describe at the trial how the Clinton campaign tried to dig up dirt about then-candidate Donald Trump and his ties to Russia.” He can do that. As long as he lays a proper foundation for it.
Sussmann’s lawyers are trying to sabotage that foundation, begging the judge to “block Durham from introducing evidence about the dossier at trial and to stop prosecutors from calling Steele as a witness.” The trial’s scheduled to start next month.
The first lesson in law school is: if you go to trial, it’s always a circus. If you’re going to have a circus then you simply have to bring along all the clowns and jugglers and acrobats. Especially the elephants. You have to have elephants or it’s not a circus. That’s why their arguments won’t hold a lot of water with the court.
Let’s have a circus
“The Special Counsel should not be permitted to turn Mr. Sussmann’s trial on a narrow false statement charge into a circus full of sideshows that will only fuel partisan fervor,” the lawyers plead. They don’t want Christopher Steele to go “geek” on them. They desperately need to cover the fictitious attempt to smear Donald Trump. Being paid for by Hillary Clinton through her minions, they argue, simply has “no bearing” on the case and is “inflammatory and irrelevant.”
John Durham isn’t twitching a mustache hair. His prosecutors already alerted the court “that they expect to bring up at trial an old Steele deposition about a meeting he had with Sussmann where they discussed the Trump-Russia cyber claims.”
CNN has entered full on panic mode. “Taken together, the filings indicate Durham may try to call Steele as a witness.” Good grief! At this point the ball is in Judge Christopher Cooper of the D.C. District Court’s hand.
It’s totally up to him to decide “how much information about Steele can come up at trial.” To keep him even busier, Sussmann’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the whole thing. Prosecutors aren’t sweating. Their “case is sound,” they assure.
Even progressives grudgingly admit that “Sussmann was working at the time for Perkins Coie, the law firm that was retained by the Clinton campaign and indirectly hired Steele to research the Trump-Russia relationship.” Durham isn’t about to let that stone go unturned. Not only that, “Sussmann met with Steele one month before he met Baker, but he didn’t know that the dossier existed until after the 2016 election, according to Sussmann’s previous testimony to Congress.”
That means he lied to Congress too. CNN totally freaks out to think that if “Durham is allowed to bring up the dossier at trial, it would put a spotlight on the secretive efforts by Clinton allies to push the collusion narrative, which has become a hotly debated political topic.“