On Monday, Special Counsel investigator John Durham appeared to accidentally release numerous emails from the political consulting firm Fusion GPS in relation to the debunked Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
According to the Washington Examiner, Durham requested in his motion on Monday evening that the emails in question remain marked as “Leave to File Under Seal Exhibit A,” asking that “Exhibit A remain SEALED until further order of this Court, in order to protect privacy of those individuals whose names appear in the Exhibit.”
However, the completely unredacted emails were nevertheless included in the court docket; the error appeared to have been corrected by Tuesday morning, and the emails currently remain sealed.
The special counsel’s request involved 38 records that are to be reviewed by the judge, all dealing with the investigation’s case against Democratic lawyer Michael Sussman; Durham has indicted Sussman on charges of failing to disclose that his clients included Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and Clinton-aligned tech executive Rodney Joffe. Sussman withheld this crucial information when he first went to the FBI to falsely claim that there were secret communications between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank.
This information led to the creation of the debunked “Steele dossier,” written by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS, which had already been hired by Clinton-aligned law firm Perkins Coie and top Clinton lawyer Marc Elias.
In his Monday motion, Durham wrote that “if the purpose of Fusion GPS’s retention was — as Mr. Elias implies — to determine the bounds of what could (and could not) be said publicly without committing libel or defamation, then the record would reflect genuine efforts to remain within those bounds.”
However, Durham noted, “the facts and documents available to the Government tell a different story.”
“The documents produced by Fusion GPS to date reflect hundreds of emails in which Fusion GPS employees shared raw, unverified, and uncorroborated information — including their own draft research and work product — with reporters,” Durham continued, “as part of a (largely successful) effort to trigger negative news stories about one of the Presidential candidates.”
The emails in question confirm this media-oriented campaign, with correspondence mostly coming from Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, along with Fusion’s Jake Berkowitz, and being sent to numerous reporters throughout 2016 to continuously push the Russian collusion narrative.
Although the Russian collusion hoax gained significant traction in the mainstream media due to the press’s bias against President Trump, Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation ultimately exonerated Trump, concluding that there was no evidence of collusion with the Russian government. Durham, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, was tasked by Attorney General William Barr in April of 2019 with investigating the origins of the misinformation that led to the hoax, including cooperation between government agencies, the Democratic Party, and the media; his investigation was formally promoted to the status of Special Counsel in October of 2020.