Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid a tech firm tied to university researchers to spy on then-candidate Donald Trump’s private and campaign communications. Furthermore, that spying continued when Trump became president, even going so far as to hack his White House communications.
Special Counsel John Durham highlighted these findings in a motion to probe potential conflicts of interest with lawyer Michael Sussmann, who had worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
“As set forth in the Indictment, on Sept. 19, 2016 – less than two months before the 2016 U.S. Presidential election – the defendant, a lawyer at a large international law firm (‘Law Firm-1’) that was then serving as counsel to the Clinton Campaign, met with the FBI General Counsel at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C,” the indictment’s factual background states. “The defendant provided the FBI General Counsel with purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank (‘Russian Bank-1’).”
This is referring to the debunked political smear that Donald Trump had a secret bank wire with a Putin-linked Moscow bank named Alfa Bank. Clinton’s lawyer Michael Sussmann utilized the false accusations to argue that the federal government should conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. Sussmann even peddled this baseless allegation to FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The Indictment alleges that the defendant lied in that meeting, falsely stating to the General Counsel that he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client,” the indictment continues. “In fact, the defendant had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including (i) a technology executive (‘Tech Executive-1’) at a U.S.-based Internet company (‘Internet Company-1’), and (ii) the Clinton Campaign.”
Thus, Sussmann lied to the FBI about his work for the Clinton campaign, as well as his ties to a tech executive that has been identified as Rodney Joffe, senior vice president of Neustar.
Joffe had brought the alleged Alfa Bank finding to Sussmann as early as July 2016; both were in communications with former Perkins Coie lawyer and Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. Sussmann’s allegation that Trump had a secret connection with Alfa Bank was repeated at a September 2016 meeting with former FBI General Counsel James Baker.
The FBI would launch an investigation into the Trump campaign to look into the “odd” Alfa Bank connection. Hillary Clinton even weaponized the political disinformation in an October 2016 tweet.
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
The Alfa Bank accusation was allegedly backed by research performed by “Researcher-1” Manos Antonakakis, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech, “Researcher-2” David Dagon, a data scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and “Originator-1” April Lorenzen, the chief data scientist at the Zetalytics information services firm.
The Durham indictment makes the explosive claim that the illegal spying on Trump’s communications continued even when he was in the White House.
“The Indictment also alleges that, beginning in approximately July 2016, Tech Executive-1 had worked with the defendant, a U.S. investigative firm retained by Law Firm-1 on behalf of the Clinton Campaign, numerous cyber researchers, and employees at multiple Internet companies to assemble the purported data and white papers,” Durham’s new motion states. “In connection with these efforts, Tech Executive-1 exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data. 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.”
“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,” the motion adds.
“The Government’s evidence at trial will also establish that among the Internet data Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited was domain name system (“DNS”) Internet traffic pertaining to (i) a particular healthcare provider, (ii) Trump Tower, (iii) Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and (iv) the Executive Office of the President of the United States (“EOP”),” the motion continues. “(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 EOP. 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.)”
Read the entire motion below:
The Durham probe’s revelations once again show that Donald Trump was right that his campaign and his office were being spied on. In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” host Leslie Stahl argued with Donald Trump about the claim, and then told him the accusation would be cut out.
Another one for the “Trump was right” jar.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 13, 2022
CBS’s “60 Minutes” refused to air the portion with Donald Trump insisting that his campaign was spied on. Trump would later release the entire interview in full.