Michael Sussmann

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Person.png Michael Sussmann  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(lawyer)
Michael Sussmann 1.jpg
Alma materRutgers, Brooklyn Law School

Michael A. Sussmann (born 1964) is a former federal prosecutor and a former partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, who focused on privacy and cybersecurity law. Michael Sussmann represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and retained CrowdStrike to examine its servers after two Russian hacker groups were alleged to have penetrated DNC networks and stole information.

Indicted

In September 2021, Michael Sussmann was indicted for lying to the FBI by a grand jury empanelled by special counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the FBI Russia probe into possible links between Russian officials and associates of presidential candidate Donald Trump.[1]

Michael Sussmann pleaded not guilty to the charge and his trial began in May 2022.[2]

Acquitted

On 31 May 2022, a Washington DC jury acquitted Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann of lying to the FBI, and the verdict is no doubt a disappointment for special counsel John Durham. But the case did perform a public service by exposing a major part of the 2016 Russian collusion dirty trick that hadn’t been previously told.

The evidence was strong enough to bring an indictment, and it was reinforced by a text message in which Sussmann had told FBI general counsel James Baker that he represented no client. In truth he represented the Clinton campaign, as billing records showed. But Mr Durham had charged Mr Sussmann with lying to Mr Baker in person, not in the text message, which the special counsel only obtained after he had filed the original indictment.

The jury may also have been persuaded by the defence claim that the FBI already had ample reason to know that Sussmann was working for the Clinton campaign. Mr Sussmann was certainly known to the FBI—enough so that we learned at the trial that he had his own pass to the FBI building.

The verdict is less important than what we learned about the false Clinton claims about the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s Alfa Bank. The story was a concoction from the start, spread to the press by investigators-for-hire Fusion GPS and Clinton sources. We learned that Hillary Clinton personally approved leaking the false claim to a reporter, and the campaign and Mrs Clinton then tweeted the press report approvingly.

Mr Baker handed off the claim for FBI agents to investigate, though he withheld from the agents that Sussmann was his source. The agents quickly found the charges weren’t credible. But the Alfa Bank story nonetheless became part of the fog of collusion claims that bedeviled the Trump Presidency for more than two years.

Mr Durham isn’t finished, and later this year he will bring a separate case that will tell us more about another side of the collusion tale—the Christopher Steele dossier. He has indicted Igor Danchenko, the alleged source of Steele’s information in the dossier, on five counts of lying to the FBI. Mr Danchenko has pleaded not guilty.

Evidence at that trial should reveal more details about the origins of the dossier smear and the role of the Clinton campaign and the media in spreading it. Special counsel Robert Mueller was supposed to have investigated all of this long ago, but he ducked the role of the Clinton campaign. Mr Durham’s task has been to tell us the rest of the dirty tale.[3]


 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Hillary Clinton Did ItArticle20 May 2022WSJ Editorial BoardAppearing as a witness in John Durham’s trial of Michael Sussmann, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, Robby Mook, says she personally approved a plan to give a false 'Trump, Russia' claim to the news media.


References

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