Feb 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

John Durham distances himself from right-wing furor

U.S. Attorney John Durham speaking in New Haven, Connecticut.
U.S. Attorney John Durham (center) speaking in New Haven, Conn. Photo: Bob MacDonnell/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

John Durham, the special counsel looking into the government's investigation of Russian election interference, distanced himself from reports in conservative media that a motion he filed last week implied Hillary Clinton's campaign paid to spy on Trump White House servers, according to the New York Times.

What they're saying: In a filing Thursday, Durham disavowed responsibility for how the filing was interpreted: "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."

  • Durham added that 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.”

The big picture: The motion that caused the furor in right-wing circles was meant to ask a judge to look at potential conflicts of interest involving the legal team of Michael Sussman, a Democratic-linked lawyer who was charged with lying to the FBI.

  • Sussman's attorneys said he would waive any potential conflict and accused Durham of including allegations in the filing that were "intended to further politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool," AP reports.
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted that Trump, who called the filing " bigger than Watergate," is "spinning up a fake scandal to distract from his real one."

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