by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Marc Elias, the top lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, is expected to testify today in special counsel John Durham’s case against Democratic cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann.
Elias, who last year started the Elias Law Group, was the Clinton campaign’s general counsel and hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which hired Christopher Steele in 2016. Elias testified he was aware of Fusion’s plans to have Steele brief reporters during the 2016 contest, met with Steele in 2016, and periodically briefed the campaign about the findings from Fusion and Steele. Elias coordinated closely with his former Perkins Coie law firm colleague Sussmann on anti-Trump research in 2016.
Elias’s testimony is expected to follow opening arguments from the prosecution and defense the day after a jury was selected.
Sussmann was charged last year with concealing his clients — Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” known to be former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe — from FBI general counsel James Baker when he presented debunked allegations suggesting a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank during a September 2016 meeting.
Durham said members of the Clinton campaign, Fusion, and Perkins played a coordinated role in pushing collusion claims, and that Elias was part of the “joint venture” in 2016. Sussmann and Elias worked for Perkins at the time, and Fusion pushed Alfa-Bank claims, too.
Perkins said this month that Elias left Perkins last September, and “records in connection with the representation” of the Clinton campaign had been transferred to Elias last August.
As part of the Clinton campaign’s efforts to assert attorney-client privilege in the Sussmann case, Elias submitted a redacted declaration claiming “presidential campaigns regularly encounter offensive and defensive litigation risks in multiple ways.”