Michael Sussman, 58, was accused of lying to investigators and concealing his connections to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. At the time, Mr Sussman was looking into any connections between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
The FBI examined the allegations and discovered no proof of misconduct. On Tuesday, the jury found him not guilty of making a false statement to the FBI in September 2016. He produced evidence of a hidden communications route between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank while stating that he was not engaged on behalf of any customer.
After a two-week trial, the jury decided that Special Counsel John Durham’s team had not proven Sussmann’s claim was incorrect beyond a reasonable doubt. On behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe, he was carrying two USB sticks and a white paper indicating a Trump-Russia nexus.
Sussmann trial revealed a lot about Hillary Clinton
Rep. Jim Jordan chastised Hillary Clinton for promoting unverified charges of the Trump-Russia connection. The important takeaway here, according to Jim Jordan, is what they uncovered a few days ago when they realized that Secretary Clinton instructed Sussmann to give false info to the media, which was then passed on to the FBI.
He asked to take a step back and consider the former secretary of state, the former first lady, the former United States senator from the state of New York, and a presidential contender for one of the major parties.
Sussman’s words after the trial
Sussmann stated after the verdict that he had been wrongfully accused.
He said, “I told the truth to the FBI, and the Jury clearly recognized this in their unanimous verdict today,” he said. “I’m grateful to the members of the jury for their careful, thoughtful service. Despite being falsely accused I believe that Justice ultimately prevailed in my case. As you can imagine this has been a difficult year for my family and me. But right now we are grateful for the love and support of so many during this ordeal.”
Other details of the case
One federal government worker informed the judge that they donated to Democrats in 2016. Another told the judge that they “deeply” disliked former President Trump. Both jurors assured the court that they would remain unbiased during the trial. A teacher, an illustrator, a mechanic, and others were also on the jury.
One of the jurors’ children played on the same high school sports team as Sussmann’s child. The vast majority of jurors told Cooper they had never heard of the case before serving on the panel.
Durham’s team submitted billing documents from July 29, 2016, to October 16, 2016, demonstrating that Sussmann routinely paid the Clinton campaign for services on the Alfa Bank opposition research on Trump.
Sussmann allegedly placed his “lying in writing” in a text message to Baker on Sept. 18, 2016, according to Durham’s team. The text message reads, “Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. 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.”
During closing arguments on Friday, Durham’s side stated that the text message had “43 words,” with “20” of those phrases being a falsehood. In his defence, Sussmann did not testify.
FBI’s take on the case
The FBI was already conducting an investigation into suspected ties between the Trump campaign and Russians when Sussmann provided the material. After obtaining the information from Sussmann, the FBI looked into whether there was a clandestine communications line between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, but discovered “nothing there.”
The FBI was “unable to substantiate any of the charges in the white paper,” according to many active and retired FBI officials and agents.
The FBI’s inquiry did not show there was some type of covert communications route, Baker testified. Baker, as well as other former senior FBI officials such as Bill Priestap, the former chief of the bureau’s counterintelligence division, and Trisha Anderson, the former deputy counsel, testified.
Other testimonies in the case
Marc Elias, former Clinton campaign general counsel said that he engaged opposition research company Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign while working with Sussmann at the law firm Perkins Coie in 2016. Fusion GPS was also undertaking work for the Democratic National Committee at the time, according to Elias, as part of this approach for the Clinton campaign.
Following that, Elias testified that members of the Clinton campaign, including campaign manager Robby Mook, chairman John Podesta, policy director Jake Sullivan, who now supports as White House National Security Advisor in the Biden administration — and communications official Jennifer Palmieri, were aware of Fusion GPS’s opposition research against Trump.
Fusion GPS is the opposition firm that commissioned the now-famous anti-Trump document, which alleged collusion between Trump and the Russian government. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, wrote the dossier.
About John Durham
From 2018 until 2021, John Henry Durham was the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut (D.C.). Durham was born in the Massachusetts city of Boston.
He graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 and the University of Connecticut School of Law with a Juris Doctorate in 1975. He worked as a VISTA volunteer on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana for two years after graduating (1975–1977).