Last Friday night, John Durham, the special counsel that Barr ordered to look into the government’s handling of the Trump-Russian relationship, filed an inflammatory document concerning joint defense agreements, one perfectly timed to distract from the avalanche of accusations against Donald Trump in the last week, and utilized recklessly-worded language and information, much of which was more than a year old. In response, Michael Sussman, the defendant targeted in the filing, through his attorneys, stated the filing was “plainly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage and taint the jury pool.”
This morning, according to the New York Times, Durham distanced himself from the Right Wing’s histrionics and the motion’s political importance.
In a filing on Thursday, Mr. Durham defended himself, saying those accusations about his intentions were “simply not true.” He said he had “valid and straightforward reasons” for including the information in the Feb. 11 filing that set off the firestorm, while disavowing responsibility for how certain news outlets had interpreted and portrayed it.
“If third parties or members of the media have overstated, understated or otherwise misinterpreted facts contained in the government’s motion, that does not in any way undermine the valid reasons for the government’s inclusion of this information.”
The above answer is the canned and meaningless response, the real response is contained with what he later promised the court:
But even as he did not acknowledge any problem with how he couched his filing last week, Mr. Durham said he would make future filings under seal if they contained “information that legitimately gives rise to privacy issues or other concerns that might overcome the presumption of public access to judicial documents.”
There. He knows that it did have a needless and definitely disproportionate impact and if one wants to be cynical (or, perhaps, just realistic) he knew it would ahead of time, and that is exactly why it was filed when it was and the way it was.
Thus, the first paragraph is almost meaningless, “overcovered or undercovered” (it was not a significant filing and thus was not “undercovered” and he knows it). It is the second paragraph, that he won’t do it again, choosing instead to seal it, that says it all. It did have a terribly disproportionate effect, causing hysteria on the right and, from Sussman’s view, tainting the jury pool. Conservatives now believe that Hillary ordered Sussman to spy on Trump in the Oval Office no matter how little sense that makes.
It is too bad that the real message from the hearing will not be reported on Right-Wing media and no one in that courtroom expects it to be.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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