Special Counsel John Durham, in response to dubious claims of attorney-client privilege invoked by nearly all of the alleged co-conspirators in the fraudulent Trump-Russia collusion narrative, filed with the court a sealed exhibit said to contain numerous emails between opposition research firm Fusion GPS and media reporters.
The exhibit was supposed to be sealed in order to protect people’s privacy and personally identifiable information, but there was one big problem — the exhibit was accidentally filed unsealed Monday evening and the mistake wasn’t corrected until Tuesday morning, the Washington Examiner reported.
What that means is that evidence submitted by Durham that was supposed to only be viewed by the court to determine if it could be included in a trial was instead exposed to public view, albeit only for a brief time before it was hidden away again under seal.
Emails show Fusion GPS shopped derogatory anti-Trump info to media
According to the Examiner, what was briefly revealed in the accidentally unsealed filing was absolutely damning to Fusion GPS’ claim of attorney-client or attorney work product-related privilege with respect to hundreds of emails that had been obtained by Durham.
What those emails showed, with nary a mention of any attorneys or legal work, was top figures at the opposition research firm aggressively pushing its bogus disinformation about then-candidate Donald Trump and his alleged ties to Russia on numerous journalists, some more willing to run with the false narrative than others.
That is pretty much exactly the opposite of what Fusion GPS would have actually done if, as it now claims, it had only been hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democrat-aligned law firm Perkins Coie — and specifically attorney Marc Elias — in order to provide legal advice to avoid potential defamation and libel suits.
As Durham wrote in the 21-page motion the exhibit was attached to: “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.”
Instead, “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 … as part of a (largely successful) effort to trigger negative news stories about one of the Presidential candidates.”
As for the dubious attorney-client privilege assertion put forward by the various alleged co-conspirators, Durham summed up: “These parties are advancing a highly novel, and seemingly broad, theory of attorney-client privilege, namely, that Fusion GPS’s political opposition research — which triggered a sizeable outflow of unverified derogatory information into the media, the government, and the public — was, in reality, confidential expert work intended to support legal advice regarding libel and defamation.”
Emails show journalists were mostly willing participants in anti-Trump fraud
Many of the journalists who had previously been alleged or were known to have participated in sharing the “unverified derogatory information” about Trump in late 2016 have since claimed or implied that they had been duped into sharing what they believed in good faith at that time to be accurate and true information.
National Review‘s David Harsanyi has called bull on that excuse, though, and points to the emails accidentally released publicly by Durham as proving that many of those same journalists were eager and willing to pass along the negative information about Trump that they and even Fusion GPS acknowledged were false or, at best exceedingly difficult to actually prove.
It will be interesting to see how the judge ultimately rules on the attorney-client privilege claims that are obviously intended to prevent damning evidence from emerging at trial, and hopefully, the mistaken unsealed filing of the Fusion GPS emails won’t result in them being automatically excluded.