John Durham, the special prosecutor looking into the origins of the federal investigation into ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia, indicted the former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann for lying to the FBI during the early stages of the inquiry.
Politico reported that Sussman had been hit with a single felony count of making a false statement during a September 2016 meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker. Prosecutors claim that the Washington attorney lied by denying that he was representing any client. He told the FBI about digital evidence that allegedly linked computers in Trump Tower to Russia’s Alfa Bank.
“During the meeting, Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI,” the indictment stated, according to NBC News. “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, Sussmann acted on behalf of specific clients, namely a U.S. Technology Industry Executive, a U.S. Internet Company and the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign,” it added, going on to say that the lie was material because it misled the FBI “about the political nature of his work.”
Lawyers representing Sussman have fired back by claiming that he never made these statements and that the case against him is weak. They also alleged that there’s no sign the alleged lie affected the FBI’s work.
“Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime,” the lawyers said in a statement. “Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented, and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name.”
The indictment states that in 2016, Sussman was advising the Clinton campaign on cybersecurity matters and that a partner at his firm served as general counsel for the campaign. It claims that Sussman billed the Clinton campaign for his time when meeting with the tech executive to talk about the alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Sussman has denied ever working with the Clinton campaign.
We’re so glad to see that this crook is finally being brought to justice, and we hope that this is only the beginning of many more indictments to come in this case.