Report: Court filing suggests Durham probe is looking closely at Clinton campaign

Just prior to the end of Donald Trump’s tenure as president, U.S. Attorney John Durham was named a special counsel and tasked with completing an investigation into the origins of the debunked Trump–Russia collusion narrative.

Now, a new court filing from Durham’s team seems to indicate that the probe is looking closely at the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Filed last week, the documents reveal that some employees for the campaign could be called to testify on the matter, Just the News reports.

Indicted for lying to the FBI

According to Just the News, the filing was submitted in the case of Igor Danchenko, who was indicted for lying to the FBI about his role in producing the infamous anti-Trump “dossier.”

The main issue at hand in the filing is reportedly the stark potential for a conflict of interest; both Danchenko and the Clinton campaign are represented by the same law firm.

Danchenko, a Russian analyst living in America, was indicted in early November on multiple counts of lying to federal investigators about his role as the primary source of information in the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Steele had been hired in 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump by a Democrat-aligned opposition research firm known as Fusion GPS, which in turn had been hired by the law firm Perkins Coie with funds provided by two of its main clients, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Potential conflicts of interest

In last week’s filing, prosecutors on Durham’s team asked the court to address any actual or potential conflicts of interest arising from the fact that Denchenko is being represented by defense attorneys Danny Onorato and Stuart Sears of Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears — the same firm that is reportedly representing the Clinton campaign as it pertains to Durham’s investigation.

“The Clinton Campaign financed the opposition research reports, colloquially known as the ‘Dossier,’ that are central to the Indictment against the defendant,” the motion stated, according to Just the News. “Accordingly, for the reasons set forth below, the government respectfully requests that the Court inquire into the potential conflict issues set forth herein.”

The shared representation could become a problem in that “[t]he interests of the Clinton Campaign and the defendant could potentially diverge in connection with any plea discussions, pre-trial proceedings, hearings, trial, and sentencing proceedings,” the motion adds.

For example, both Danchenko and the campaign could have “an incentive” to “shift blame and/or responsibility” or claim they were “harmed or defrauded” by each other, the motion said. The potential conflict would also exist if — or perhaps when — some former Clinton campaign employees were called to testify in a trial or other proceeding.

Questions remain

The motion also listed five specific concerns, including the Clinton campaign’s “knowledge or lack of knowledge concerning the veracity of information” provided by Danchenko as well as the campaign’s “awareness or lack of awareness of the defendant’s collection methods and sub-sources.”

Prosecutors also asked about Danchenko’s “knowledge or lack of knowledge regarding the Clinton Campaign’s role in and activities surrounding” the dossier and “the extent to which the Clinton Campaign and/or its representatives directed, solicited, or controlled” the actions of Danchenko, Just the News reported.

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