Special Counsel John Durham — the U.S. attorney tasked during the Trump administration with investigating the investigators of the Trump-Russia investigation — is reportedly expected to indict a prominent lawyer with deep ties to the Democratic Party in the coming days.
Durham will take his case to a grand jury against Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Democratic National Committee amid Russia’s hacking of its servers in 2016, alleging that Sussmann made a false statement to the FBI, multiple outlets confirmed.
“The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016,” the New York Times reported. “Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies.”
Durham will need to make the indictment by this weekend before the case’s 5-year statute of limitations expires. Sussmann’s team told the Times they were aware of the potential indictment and claimed that their client is innocent.
Here’s more on Durham’s specific case against Sussmann, according to the New York Times:
The accusation against Mr. Sussmann focuses on a meeting he had on Sept. 19, 2016, with James A. Baker, who was the F.B.I.’s top lawyer at the time, according to the people familiar with the matter. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
At the meeting, Mr. Sussmann relayed data and analysis from cybersecurity researchers who thought that odd internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution.
… Mr. Durham has been using a grand jury to examine the Alfa Bank episode and appeared to be hunting for any evidence that the data had been cherry-picked or the analysis of it knowingly skewed … To date, there has been no public sign that he has found any such evidence.
But Mr. Durham did apparently find an inconsistency: Mr. Baker, the former F.B.I. lawyer, is said to have told investigators that he recalled Mr. Sussmann saying that he was not meeting him on behalf of any client. But in a deposition before Congress in 2017, Mr. Sussmann testified that he sought the meeting on behalf of an unnamed client who was a cybersecurity expert and had helped analyze the data.
Moreover, internal billing records Mr. Durham is said to have obtained from Perkins Coie are said to show that when Mr. Sussmann logged certain hours as working on the Alfa Bank matter — though not the meeting with Mr. Baker — he billed the time to Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Sussmann now works as a partner at Perkins Coie, a law firm that represented both the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Former President Trump and his supporters have long criticized Perkins Coie for unfairly and baselessly seeking to stoke suspicions about the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia — and for good reason.
According to the Washington Post, Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, hired the research firm, Fusion GPS, “which eventually hired Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who went on to write the dossier about alleged links between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
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Author: Phil Shiver
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