John Durham filed his motion a week ago in the criminal case against former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. In that motion, which requested the court to seek Sussmann’s waiver of any conflicts held by his lawyers on record, the purported conflicts were described in detail in excruciating detail.
According to the report, “enemies of Donald Trump surveilled the internet traffic at Trump Tower, at his New York City apartment building, and later at the executive office of the president of the United States, then fed disinformation about that traffic to intelligence agencies hoping to frame Trump as a Russia-connected stooge.”
Earlier Durham filings revealed similarly explosive facts, but the special counsel’s motion generated enough attention that #Durham started trending on Twitter. It has been almost a decade since the special counsel’s office indicted Sussmann for lying to James Baker, the FBI’s former general counsel, for the Durham investigation to reach the legacy press.
Mainstream media tended to ignore the latest developments, portraying Friday’s filing as meaningless and presenting several false narratives-just as it did when news broke that the Clinton campaign lawyer had been indicted.
A Monday article by Charlie Savage at the New York Times was headlined, “Court Filing Started a Furor in Right-Wing Outlets, but Their Narrative Is Off Track.” Savage’s arguments mirrored those of Sussmann’s lawyers in a document filed with the court the same day.
In Vanity Fair’s top story on Tuesday, Savage’s “analysis” was quoted. In Jimmy Kimmel’s show that evening, the talking points were turned into one-liners. Brian Stelter of CNN further echoed what Savage was saying at the New York Times.
Despite MSM’s efforts to advance the non-official defense of a former lawyer for the Clinton campaign, their narratives are rubbish. Here are their talking points and why they’re wrong.
1. It’s Nutty Right-Wingers
The first salvo of Savage’s Sussmann counter-offensive, Savage stated that Durham’s filing on Friday night “set off a furor among right-wing outlets about purported spying on former President Donald J. Trump.”
To frame the furor as right-wing serves as an easy way for a corrupt media to disregard the substance of the report. Steller likewise repeated this theme in an article for CNN: “Right-wing media said it was exposing a scandal. What it really revealed is how bad information spreads in MAGA world.”
Additionally, Hillary Clinton took the right-wing angle, tweeting that “Trump & Fox are desperately spinning up a fake scandal to distract from his real ones.”
2. Don’t Read The Document
Savage’s second narrative, quickly repeated by his contemporaries, is that it’s impossible to decipher the nuances of Durham’s most recent court filing unless readers use their intelligence.
The facts “also tend to involve dense and obscure issues, so dissecting them requires asking readers to expend significant mental energy and time—raising the question of whether news outlets should even cover such claims,” he wrote in his free public relations article for Sussmann.
3. There Was No Scary ‘Infiltration’
Durham’s Friday filing was countered by Fox News’ coverage and its opening that read, “A filing from Special Counsel John Durham found that lawyers for the Clinton campaign paid a technology company to ‘infiltrate’ servers at Trump Tower and the White House to establish ‘inferences’ and a ‘narrative’ to connect Donald Trump to Russia.”.
However, Durham never used the word “infiltrate” in that reply. On this point, those on the left have at least a little something: Durham did not say “infiltrate.” In fact, Kash Patel, a former investigator for Devin Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee, mentioned that word in the interview with Fox News, the article explained.
4. Trump Wasn’t President at the Time
In an attempt to minimize the importance of the disclosures in Durham’s motion, a narrative centered on the data Sussmann released to the CIA that claimed: “Russian-made smartphones, called YotaPhones, had been connecting to networks at Trump Tower and the White House, among other places.”
As for the White House, the data “came from Barack Obama’s presidency,” according to two lawyers who represented one of the researchers who assisted Joffe. However, “to our knowledge,” the lawyers stated, “all of the data they used was nonprivate DNS data from before Trump took office.”
5. It’s Old News
As Savage’s fifth response, he proposed that the “news” was “old news.”
“But the entire narrative appeared to be mostly wrong or old news,” Savage wrote in the Times piece. In a later section, he stressed that point again: “for one, much of this was not new: The New York Times had reported in October what Mr. Sussmann had told the C.I.A. about data suggesting that Russian-made smartphones, called YotaPhones, had been connecting to networks at Trump Tower and the White House, among other places.”
However, it was Savage himself who mentioned the YotaPhones passingly in an article published on October 1, 2021, that focused primarily on the Alfa Bank charges.
We should have anticipated Durham’s latest revelations since they were handed over to the Sussmann-friendly reporters who wrote the October article, in what now appears to be an attempt by Sussmann’s legal team to get ahead of the bad news that was sure to come.