Special Counsel: Don't Blame Me for Media Coverage

John Durham distances himself after right-leaning outlets seized on a filing as anti-Clinton
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2022 10:38 AM CST
Special Counsel: Don't Blame Me for Media Coverage
A file photo of US attorney John Durham.   (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

An otherwise mundane legal filing led to a political maelstrom this week, with outlets such as Fox News asserting that it was proof Hillary Clinton's camp spied on the Trump White House. Critics shot back that right-leaning sites were badly misinterpreting the filing by special counsel John Durham, and now Durham himself is distancing himself from the media coverage he ignited, reports the New York Times.

  • "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," he wrote in a new filing Thursday.
  • However, Durham pledged to make future filings of this nature under seal if they contain "information that legitimately gives rise to privacy issues or other concerns that might overcome the presumption of public access to judicial documents."

  • Hillary Clinton: "Trump & Fox are desperately spinning up a fake scandal to distract from his real ones," she tweeted. "The more his misdeeds are exposed, the more they lie."
  • Donald Trump: The former president called this "bigger than Watergate" in a statement and criticized a lack of coverage in mainstream media.
  • Context: All of this goes back to the Trump-era investigation Durham undertook into the government inquiry of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election. (The AP has a background story.) The filing that ignited the controversy involves Democratic attorney Michael Sussman, who was charged by Durham with lying to the FBI. Sussman's legal team—which wants the charge dismissed, per the AP— accused Durham of including information in his original filing "plainly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage and taint the jury pool.”
(More Durham stories.)

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