Donald Trump is suing Hillary Clinton and a slew of other Democrats for their attempts to pin the imaginary crime of Russian collusion on him back in 2016. But wait, where is this coming from? Didn’t that whole mess just magically disappear when Joe Biden won the 2020 election? Yes, it largely did in the public eye – but special counsel John Durham has been hard at work in the background, continuing the investigation initiated by the Department of Justice back in 2019. Interestingly enough – perhaps coincidentally, and then again, maybe not – Trump’s lawsuit was filed just a couple of days after Durham requested an extension of the deadline to produce classified discovery, saying in the filing that a “large volume” of material is coming this week.
The lawsuit laid out a vast conspiracy on the part of the defendants to “weave a false narrative” that Trump had colluded with a “hostile foreign sovereignty” to steal the election. The actions allegedly taken included “falsifying evidence, deceiving law enforcement, and exploiting access to highly sensitive data sources.” The suit also claims this conspiracy constituted a criminal enterprise under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. In total, there are more than 20 named defendants, ten John Does, and ten corporations that aren’t named explicitly because the known names were “fictitious.”
The claims made by the suit aren’t really new – this is the message the former president and those who believe him have maintained from the beginning of the Russiagate scandal. So why sue now? Since the investigation was first launched, no major players in the Democratic Party have been proven guilty or faced any consequences and the Democrats, in fact, managed to wrest the White House away. Does Trump really think he’ll win out in court now? Enter the Durham investigation.
Updates have been few and far between in political news since Biden took office, but those that did come out have been big. The special counsel charged Michael Sussmann, an attorney for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, with making a false statement to the FBI in 2021 and on February 11, 2022, filed a petition opposing the defendant’s motion to dismiss. That second filing revealed that Sussmann and an unnamed counsel for the campaign – believed to be Marc Elias – may have cooked up the Trump-Russia collusion idea between them. They recruited university researchers to “mine Internet data to establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative’ tying then-candidate Trump to Russia,” the documents revealed. As Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble put it at the time, “[w]hat Durham alleges is political espionage; a modern Watergate, yet more dangerous.”
Named in the lawsuit – back-to-back, in fact – are Michael Sussmann and Marc Elias. Law firm Perkins Coie, where both men worked at the time, is also listed. Other filings from Durham resulted in indictments for Igor Danchenko and Kevin Clinesmith. As you have probably already deduced, both men are listed in the lawsuit.
On Tuesday, March 22 – just two days before Trump’s lawsuit was filed – special counsel Durham revealed that a “large volume” of classified materials would be produced this week regarding Russiagate, but he requested a deadline extension under the Classified Information Procedures Act. Presumably, Donald Trump shouldn’t be privy to the information on the way, and it’s entirely possible that the close timing is merely coincidence. However, even if the former president doesn’t know what Durham has dug up, he could still be betting on indictments for those already known to be involved – and he certainly cast a wide net with his list of defendants. And this brings us right back to the question of why.
Does the former president believe he will be awarded damages in this suit? Perhaps. Or maybe the point isn’t to win in court – though should it just happen to go his way, that would certainly further his cause. The more people and companies he accuses of committing RICO crimes in a lawsuit that end up facing charges even just tangentially related, the more legitimacy it lends to his side of the story while discrediting his opponents. Other notables on the list are James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Christopher Steele, to name just a handful. Perhaps the former president expects to be awarded compensation from those he feels have wronged him, and the timing is just a coincidence – but, then again, maybe it’s all about getting back in the news, back in the minds of the GOP voting base, and back in the White House come January 2025.
~ Read more from James Fite.
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