SOn Monday, former President Donald Trump issued an appeal to a judge’s decision to impose sanctions against him and his legal team after dismissing his lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.
Trump first filed a lawsuit against Clinton and two dozen other individuals and entities in March of this year. These included the Democratic National Committee, several Democratic lawmakers, the political opposition research firm Fusion GPS and former FBI and Department of Justice officials.
The lawsuit argued that Clinton and other defendants “maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative” that the former president had colluded with the Russian government.
The suit was thrown out in September by Judge Donald Middlebrooks, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. Clinton and other defendants would later request sanctions against Trump and his legal team, which Middlebrooks would grant on Jan. 19, imposing $937,989.39 in sanctions.
Trump’s legal team gave notice that the former president intends to appeal the sanctions decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump’s legal team filed an amended, 193-page complaint in June, arguing that Clinton and other defendants conspired to develop “spurious ‘opposition research’ claiming to reveal illicit ties between the Trump Campaign and Russian operatives.”
The complaint adds the allegations that Clinton and Trump’s opponents advanced opposition research claims on multiple fronts, spreading them to the news media and the Department of Justice.
The Trump lawsuit claimed the Clinton-backed opposition research was promoted by “a small faction of Clinton loyalists who were well-positioned within the Department of Justice and the FBI – James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith, and Bruce Ohr.”
“These government officials were willing to abuse their positions of public trust to advance the baseless probe to new levels, including obtaining an extrajudicial FISA warrant and instigating the commencement of an oversight investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” the Trump team’s complaint reads. “As a result, Donald J. Trump and his campaign were forced to expend tens of millions of dollars in legal fees to defend against these contrived and unwarranted proceedings.”
Trump’s team also pointed to criminal investigations against some of the individual defendants, including Clinesmith and two other defendants, Michael Sussmann and Igor Danchenko.
In 2020, special counsel John Durham charged Clinesmith with falsifying records used to obtain a FISA warrant extension against Carter Page, a member of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Clinesmith pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced in January 2021 to a year of probation for the offense.
Sussmann, meanwhile, was a lawyer for Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Clinton campaign. He was charged by Durham for making false statements to the FBI when he brought forward claims of a communications back channel between the Trump organization and a Russian-backed bank.
Specifically, Durham alleged that Sussmann had lied to the FBI by claiming that he was not bringing these allegations on behalf of any client despite the fact that he was working for Clinton at the time.
Sussmann was found not guilty of the charges by a jury in the Washington, D.C., federal court. The jury reportedly included three Clinton donors and a woman whose daughter was on the same crew team as Sussmann’s daughter.
Finally, Danchenko had been a key source for some of the opposition research claims against Trump. Danchenko was charged with making false statements to the FBI about his sourcing for some of the claims that would appear in the Clinton-backed Steele Dossier, which at this stage has largely been debunked.
In October, Danchenko was acquitted by a jury in a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia.
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