Politics Lawyer accused of lying to FBI about Clinton ties when pushing collusion claims pleads not guilty
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Read CNN's Benghazi Mission Attack Fast Facts to learn more about about the September 11, 2012, attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya. FactsSeptember 11, 2012 - The US mission in Benghazi is attacked and burned. An attack later that night involves mortar and rocket fire against a US diplomatic annex in the city.US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US nationals are killed in the attack. More than 30 Americans are evacuated.
A top lawyer with Democratic Party ties pleaded not guilty Friday to charges brought by special counsel John Durham, who accused the Perkins Coie attorney of lying to the FBI about whom he was working for when he pushed claims about a secret Trump-Russia back channel in 2016, with Durham saying he hid that he was doing so for the Clinton campaign.
Michael Sussmann, a high-profile D.C. cybersecurity lawyer and DOJ veteran who had previously assisted the Democratic National Committee related to the Russian cyber theft targeting Democratic emails earlier in 2016, appeared in a courtroom at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia late Friday morning.
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The grand juryagainst Sussmann centers on a September 2016 meeting between him and then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in which Sussmann, who has worked on behalf of Democratic clients numerous times, passed along allegations claiming there was a secret back channel between Russia’s Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. While Durham says that Sussmann told Baker he was not working for any specific client, the special counsel contends that Sussmann was actually secretly doing the bidding of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and billing her campaign for it, as well as working on behalf of a yet-unnamed technology company executive.
Trump-appointed counsel said to be seeking to indict Michael Sussmann
John Durham plans to ask a grand jury to indict Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann for making a false statement to the FBI. He alleged Sussmann may have been secretly working for Clinton.Former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann, 57, who now works as a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, represented the Democratic National Committee when Russia hacked its servers back in 2016.
“Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI,” the Durham indictment stated. “Specifically, Sussmann stated falsely that he was not doing his work on the aforementioned allegations ‘for any client,’ which led the FBI General Counsel to understand that Sussmann was acting as a good citizen merely passing along information, not as a paid advocate or political operative. In fact … this statement was intentionally false and misleading because, in assembling and conveying these allegations, Sussmann acted on behalf of specific clients, namely, a U.S. technology industry executive at a U.S. internet company, and the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign.”
Baker testified in 2018 that Sussman, a former DOJ colleague, shared the Alfa Bank claims with him during a September 2016 meeting. Notes from DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s December 2016 meeting with Glenn Simpson show the Fusion GPS co-founder said the New York Times was wrong to doubt the story that Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization were communicating through secret servers.
Jake Sullivan pushed Alfa Bank claim at center of Durham’s possible indictment
Jake Sullivan, already in the hot seat as President Joe Biden’s national security adviser amid the Afghanistan fallout, could find himself under further scrutiny for his 2016 role in promoting a Trump-Russia collusion claim at the heart of a possible indictment by special counsel John Durham. © Provided by Washington Examiner Durham is reportedly seeking a grand jury indictment against Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer at Perkins Coie, a Democratic-allied law firm linked to British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier.
Durham said Sussmann provided Baker with two thumb drives and hard copies of white papers — including one he co-authored, although his name wasn’t on it — along with “eight files containing the Russian Bank Data.”
Immediately after the meeting, Durham said Baker spoke with Bill Priestap, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division.
Priestap “took contemporaneous notes” about the Sussmann meeting, including that Sussmann had been “approached by Prominent Cyber People” and had “said not doing this for any client,” according to the indictment. Durham said Sussmann “billed” the FBI meeting to the Clinton campaign with the description of “work and communications regarding confidential project.”
Durham argued Sussmann’s alleged lie was “material” because it “misled” the FBI “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 Sussmann’s clients.”
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Sussmann has denied any wrongdoing.
"Michael Sussmann was indicted today because of politics, not facts," Sussmann attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner on Thursday. "The Special Counsel appears to be using this indictment to advance a conspiracy theory he has chosen not to actually charge. This case represents the opposite of everything the Department of Justice is supposed to stand for. Mr. Sussmann will fight this baseless and politically-inspired prosecution.”
A spokesperson for Perkins Coie said Sussmann "offered his resignation from the firm in order to focus on his legal defense, and the firm accepted it.”
The special counsel said if the FBI had been told the truth, it might have learned that the unnamed tech executive “had exploited his access to non-public data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump” and “enlisted the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract.”
Durham said telling the truth may have also led the FBI to learn that “Sussmann, Tech Executive-1, and Law Firm-1 had coordinated, and were continuing to coordinate, with representatives and agents of the Clinton Campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media.”
Eric Trump says Durham indictment revealed Clinton bankroll of Alfa Bank dirt
It took five years for the role Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign had in concocting the Alfa Bank scandal to become apparent, Eric Trump said on Sunday. © Provided by Washington Examiner In working to dismiss one facet of the Russia collusion narrative, Eric Trump said he worked with the FBI on investigating allegations of a secret backchannel between Russia’s Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization, where he serves as executive vice president, but it was an indictment last week from special counsel John Durham's inquiry that finally showed evidence of bankrolling by Clinton's team.
In his December 2019, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz the FBI "concluded by early February 2017 that there were no such links” between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization.
So far, Durham has obtained a singlefrom ex-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith for fraudulently editing a FISA filing to state Page was "not a source" for the CIA.
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Sussmann judge was previously 'professional acquaintances' with lawyer indicted by Durham .
The judge presiding over the case against Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann said he was “professional acquaintances” at the Department of Justice with him in the 1990s, and the judge’s wife represents former FBI lawyer Lisa Page — issues special counsel John Durham’s team has not raised to push for recusal. © Provided by Washington Examiner The grand jury indictment against Sussmann, a former DOJ veteran, 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.