Lauren Moye, FISM News
The first court case resulting from Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia allegation has begun, and Michael Sussmann, the former lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, has pleaded “not guilty” to accusations that he made a false statement to the FBI.
U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper from the District Court of the District of Columbia presides over the court proceedings. Jury selection for the case began at 9 am EST.
In 2016, Sussmann worked with an unnamed tech executive, cyber researchers, and an investigative firm to mine both public and private internet data that supposedly tied Trump to Russia. Sussmann then presented this data to the FBI without revealing the context of his employment with the Clinton campaign.
According to a recent Durham court filing, the night before Sussmann met with FBI general counsel James Baker, the cyber attorney sent Baker a text message that read: “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.”
Baker then replied, “OK. I will find a time. What might work for you?”
This led to a meeting on Sept. 19, 2016, where Sussmann presented the compiled evidence of data mining to create the narrative that Trump was colluding with Russia.
Durham’s investigation team has argued that “Sussmann’s false statement misled the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work.” Because of this, the FBI was denied the chance to properly assess the validity of the evidence according to the special investigator. Ultimately, accusations of a Trump-Russia collusion were found to be ungrounded.
Durham’s probe ties the origins of these rumors directly to the Clinton Campaign, showing a chilling willingness to engage in murky ethics and outright lawbreaking to bring down a political rival. Additionally, the special counselor’s Feb. 2022 court filing shows that an unnamed tech executive, paid by the Clinton Campaign, used his privileged access to private Internet data to give data miners the ability to spy on President Donald Trump both before and during his presidency. Compromised Internet sources, according to Durham’s paperwork, include the Trump Tower, the 45th President’s Central Park West apartment building, and the presidential executive office.
Sussmann was indicted in September of 2021. Sussmann pleaded not guilty in response to the charges. His lawyers accused the special investigator of participating in partisan politics in targeting Sussmann.
Presiding judge Cooper has attempted to limit partisan politics’ effect on the court case through a few rulings. While Durham’s team can examine the collection and use of some data, the accuracy of the Trump-Russia connection cannot be discussed. Cooper also ruled that emails belonging to Fusion GPS connected to the Clinton campaign could be released to Durham but could not be used in Sussmann’s trial.