(Headline USA) Democrat lawyer Marc Elias, who helped fund the debunked Steele dossier that was used to launch a witch hunt investigation into former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was called to testify before a grand jury as part of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the Russia-Gate hoax.
Elias’s testimony was confirmed in a Tuesday court filing by Durham’s team in the case against Michael Sussman, a former colleague of Elias’s who was indicted last year. In the filing, Durham made it clear his investigation is “active” and “ongoing.”
Identified as “Campaign Lawyer-1” in the Sussmann indictment, Elias, who served as Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer in 2016, was asked to testify before the grand jury – presumably about his role in hiring Fusion GPS, the research firm that in turn hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele, on behalf of Clinton’s campaign.
Elias testified that he was aware of Fusion GPS’s plans to hire Steele and have him brief leftist reporters about his dossier during the election cycle. He also said he met with Steele personally during the 2016 contest, and periodically briefed Clinton’s campaign on Steele’s findings.
Elias also closely coordinated with Sussmann on anti-Trump research for Clinton’s campaign. Sussmann was indicted for lying to the FBI about not working for Clinton when he brought accusations of Russian collusion to the agency, when in fact he was billing her campaign for all of his expenses.
One of the accusations Sussmann made against Trump was that the Trump Organization was engaged in secret back-channel communications with Russia’s Alfa Bank. This false accusation might lead to a conspiracy charge, since Durham noted his investigation into Sussmann’s “criminal conduct” is not complete.
Durham has been investigating a number of other Clinton campaign members as well. He asked a court in December to “inquire into a potential conflict of interest” related to lawyers for Steele, arguing that a separate lawyer at the firm “is currently representing the 2016 ‘Hillary for America’ presidential campaign, as well as multiple former employees of that campaign, in matters before the special counsel.”
In the request, Durham’s team also hinted that former Clinton campaign members will be called to testify, which could be “a potential conflict.”
One of the other individuals charged by Durham’s team was Russian analyst Igor Danchenko, who was arrested last year and charged for allegedly lying to the FBI about the sourcing for information he fed to Steele.
Before Danchenko’s indictment, the FBI defended him, telling the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 that Danchenko “did not cite any significant concerns with the way his reporting was characterized in the dossier,” even though Danchenko had allegedly admitted during a 2017 interview with the FBI that he “did not know the origins” of some of Steele’s claims.
“At minimum, our discussions with [Danchenko] confirm that the dossier was not fabricated by Steele,” the FBI said at the time. “Our discussions with [Danchenko] confirmed that he operates within high level academic and government circles, maintains trusted relationships with individuals who are capable of reporting on the material he collected for Steele, and that Steele and [Danchenko] utilized reasonably sound intelligence tradecraft.”
Durham has interviewed several FBI officials, including former FBI general counsel James Baker, who is also expected to provide grand jury testimony. Several current CIA officials have also been asked to testify, according to Durham’s court filing.