(The Center Square) – A new report from a Department of Justice investigation has sparked widespread controversy surrounding the Hillary Clinton campaign’s role in the investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election.
In a court filing, John Durham, special counsel for the Department of Justice, alleged that a tech firm paid by the Clinton campaign’s legal team was “mining” White House servers to dig up dirt on former president Donald Trump.
“Tech Executive-1’s employer, Internet Company-1, had come to access and maintain dedicated servers for the EOP as part of a sensitive arrangement whereby it provided DNS resolution services to the [Executive Office of the President],” the filing reads. “Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited this arrangement by mining the EOP’s DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump.”
Michael Sussmann, one of the Clinton campaign’s lawyers, has already been charged with lying to the FBI. He was indicted by a grand jury in September and has pleaded not guilty.
The FBI said Sussmann gave the FBI “data files allegedly containing evidence” of a backchannel between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI,” the indictment says. “Specifically, Sussmann stated falsely that he was not doing his work on the aforementioned allegations ‘for any client,’ which led the FBI General Counsel to understand that Sussmann was acting as a good citizen merely passing along information, not as a paid advocate or political operative. In fact, and as alleged in further detail below, this statement was intentionally false and misleading because, in assembling and conveying these allegations, Sussmann acted on behalf of specific clients, namely, (i) a U.S. technology industry executive (“Tech Executive-I”) at a U.S. Internet company (“Internet Company-I”), and (ii) the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign (the “Clinton Campaign”).
“Sussmann’s lie was material because, among other reasons, Sussmann’s false statement misled the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work and deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to assess and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of SUSSMANN’s clients,” the indictment adds.
Sussman’s September indictment had already hinted at what was learned in the latest court filing, especially around the Clinton campaign’s role in the Russia investigation.
“Had the FBI uncovered the origins of the relevant data and analysis, and as alleged below, it might have learned, among other things, that (i) in compiling and analyzing the Russian Bank-I allegations, Tech Executive-I had exploited his access to non-public data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump; (ii) in furtherance of these efforts, Tech Executive-I had enlisted, and was continuing to enlist, the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract; and (iii) Sussmann, Tech Executive- I, and Law Firm-1 had coordinated, and were continuing to coordinate, with representatives and agents of the Clinton Campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media.”
Former Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham to investigate the origins of the federal inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, won by Trump over Clinton.
Trump responded to the news, calling it “greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate.”
“The latest pleading from Special Counsel Robert Durham provides indisputable evidence that my campaign and presidency were spied on by operatives paid by the Hillary Clinton Campaign in an effort to develop a completely fabricated connection to Russia,” Trump said. “This is a scandal far greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate and those who were involved in and knew about this spying operation should be subject to criminal prosecution. In a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death. In addition, reparations should be paid to those in our country who have been damaged by this.”