Politics Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty
Witnesses grouse about Garland's handling of Durham inquiry: Report
Witnesses are getting antsy with special counsel John Durham's criminal inquiry into the opening and conduct of the Russia investigation. © Provided by Washington Examiner Last week, nearly seven months into the Biden administration, reports said the federal prosecutor had presented evidence before a grand jury, a sign he is considering more criminal charges beyond the one brought against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted to altering an email about a Trump campaign aide who was under government surveillance.
Michael Sussman, the attorney charged this week by special counsel John Durham, pleaded not guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI in an initial court appearance on Friday.
A federal magistrate judge allowed Sussman, a former partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins Coie, to remain out of jail on a $100,000 bond while awaiting trial with restrictions on his travel.
Durham was tapped by former President Trump to investigate the FBI's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Aon Thursday. Durham's office is alleging Sussman lied to the FBI's general counsel in a 2016 meeting, when the attorney presented evidence of a back channel link between the Trump Organization and the Russian bank Alfa Bank.
Special counsel Durham's probe into origins of Trump-Russia investigation nears end
Special counsel John Durham is nearing the conclusion of his more than two-year-long probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and faces a looming deadline on whether to seek charges over the handling of evidence used in the probe, according to people briefed on the matter. © U.S. Department of Justice/AP This 2018 portrait released by the U.S. Department of Justice shows Connecticut's U.S. Attorney John Durham.
The FBI later concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish such a connection.
According to Durham's prosecutors, Sussman had told the FBI official that he was not representing any particular client when he presented the evidence. Thethat Sussman was actually representing Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and an unnamed tech executive at the time.
Sussman maintains that he was in fact representing a cybersecurity expert who believed that the data indicating a link between Trump and a Russian financial entity was a matter of national security.
Sussman's attorneys have vowed to fight Durham's case, dismissing it as a politically motivated prosecution designed to advance Trump's "conspiracy theory" that the FBI's 2016 investigation into Russian election interference was a witch hunt.
Special counsel John Durham's office charged a lawyer connected to the DNC's law firm with lying to the FBI
Michael Sussmann was charged with one count of lying to the FBI about "the capacity in which he was providing" allegations to the FBI related to Trump.The grand jury that charged the lawyer, Michael Sussmann, was impaneled as part of the special counsel John Durham's ongoing investigation into the origins of the Justice Department's Russia probe.
"In September 2016, Mr. Sussmann met with FBI General Counsel James Baker on behalf of a cyber expert client to inform him that a major news organization was about to run a story about cyber connections between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization and to give him a copy of the information on which that story was based," attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said in a statement Thursday. "Mr. Sussmann met with Mr. Baker because he and his client believed that the information raised national security concerns."
"Stripped of its political bluster, innuendo, and irrelevant details, what is striking about the allegations in the indictment is how few of them actually relate to the charge the Special Counsel chose to bring," the attorneys added. "At its core, the Special Counsel is bringing a false statement charge based on an oral statement allegedly made five years ago to a single witness that is unrecorded and unobserved by anyone else. The Department of Justice would ordinarily never bring such a baseless case."
While the indictment only accuses Sussman of lying about who he was representing in meeting with the FBI, it suggests the lawyer was seeking to prompt an FBI investigation into Trump on behalf of a political rival.
"Sussman's false statement misled the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work and deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to assess and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of Sussman's clients," the indictment reads.
The attorney's next court appearance is set for Sept. 22.
Jake Sullivan repeatedly promoted Alfa Bank story at the center of Durham indictment .
Special Counsel John Durham's indictment of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann will likely have made uncomfortable reading for a key member of President Joe Biden's administration — his beleaguered national security adviser Jake Sullivan. © Provided by Washington Examiner The grand jury indictment against Sussmann centers on a September 2016 meeting between him and then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in which Sussmann passed along allegations claiming there was a secret backchannel between Russia’s Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization.