A former FBI lawyer Thursday drove a nail in the legal coffin of a former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign lawyer.
Michael Sussmann, 57, is charged with lying about information he gave to former FBI General Counsel Michael Baker in September 2016.
Baker testified Thursday he is “100% confident” Sussmann denied acting “on behalf of any particular client” before and during a Sept. 19, 2016, meeting. The Clinton campaign lawyer pushed allegations that a Trump organization computer was secretly communicating with Russia-based Alfa Bank. A federal prosecutor Tuesday claimed Sussmann acted in hopes of creating an “October surprise” in the closing weeks of the 2016 election.
John Durham, the special prosecutor appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr, was to investigate the genesis of investigations against the Trump campaign that continued well into his presidency. The indictment Durham brought against Sussmann is the first to go all the way to trial.
The special prosecutor accuses Sussmann of misleading Baker into believing he came forward as just a “good citizen” doing his duty. Durham contends Sussman realized if the bureau knew he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, the FBI “might not meet with him right away, let alone open an investigation.”
“He told a lie that was designed to achieve a political end, a lie that was designed to inject the FBI into a presidential election,” prosecutor Deborah Shaw said.
The FBI’s former lead lawyer Wednesday provided a text he got the night before their meeting that directly contradicts statements Sussman made about what he told Baker.
“Jim – It’s Michael Sussmann,” begins the Sept. 18, 2016, text to Baker. “I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”
Thursday’s testimony in which Sussman repeated that he was not acting on behalf of a client would appear to prove he lied to Baker before and during their meeting.
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