Trump Haters Are on the Jury for Trial of Hillary's Lawyer in 'Russia Collusion' Case

AP Photo/Joe Maiorana

A jury has been seated and opening statements and testimony begins Tuesday in the trial of Michael A. Sussmann, a former Hillary Clinton lawyer who is charged with lying to the FBI — an action that helped spread the fake news that Donald Trump was a Russian spy. The case is being brought by special counsel John Durham, who made a rare public appearance on Monday where he was seated behind a table of government prosecutors led by Andrew DeFilippis.


Sussmann is accused of lying to FBI general counsel James Baker, who also happens to be an old friend of his, when he told him he wasn’t working for a client. By this, Sussmann meant his well-known clients, Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party.

Durham’s office contends that billing records, emails, and texts show Sussmann was indeed working for Clinton when he passed along made-up political opposition research tying Trump to Russia.

The oppo-research was used to pressure law enforcement and intelligence agencies to open investigations into Trump before and during his presidency. Though Trump won the election, the conjured-up information was used to open the two-year-long Mueller investigation, smearing Trump, and was also used by House Democrat members who sought to impeach him.

The smoking-gun text in this narrow case 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.”


Jurors will have to decide if the lie is material to the way the FBI undertook its investigation into Trump’s ties with a Russian bank and all that flowed from there. Durham seems to be taking the tack that the FBI was somehow duped into undertaking a Trump investigation based on the oppo-research.

Sussmann’s source for the banking information was Rodney Joffe. Joffe is a well-known cybersecurity expert, who used internet traffic patterns to conjure up gauzy “connections” between Trump and Alfa Bank. He’s also under scrutiny in the Durham investigation. Sussmann sought to get immunity for Joffe’s testimony but that was a no-go for Durham’s team.

Joffe said he was promised a big-time cybersecurity job in the Hillary Clinton administration.

The Alfa Bank case was later laughed out of court, and Joffe remains under scrutiny for feeding fake information to “support” the Trump-Russian bank narrative. That, in turn, would have supported the universe of other “evidence” such as the “dossier,” which presented alleged “intelligence” that Trump hired hookers to pee on a bed in the Moscow Ritz Carlton hotel presidential suite.

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper, an Obama appointee, presided over the jury selection in the notoriously far-Left Washington, D.C., jury pool. The selection process took most of the first day of the trial. Federal judges have their own courtroom rules for how to pick a jury, and Cooper mentioned in court that picking a jury was “more art than science.”


Related: It’s Show Time for John Durham

The Washington Post reported that “jurors were asked if they could set aside any strong feelings about the 2016 election and decide the Sussmann case based only on the evidence presented in court.”

‘I remember the 2016 election was kind of a mess and there was a lot of shenanigans,’ said one woman who said she strongly disliked Trump.

‘We’re not here to re-litigate the 2016 election,’ said Cooper. ‘Donald Trump is not on trial. Hillary Clinton is not on trial.’

Fox News reported that the seated jury includes “one federal government employee who told the judge they donated to Democrats in 2016 and another government employee who told the judge they ‘strongly’ dislike former President Trump—both of those jurors told the judge they could be impartial throughout the trial. The jury also includes a teacher, an illustrator, a mechanic and more.”

Washington, D.C., is a notoriously hard place in which to get a fair jury. Had it not been for hawk-eyed internet sleuths, Americans wouldn’t have known that a juror lied to get on the case of Trump ally Roger Stone. A judge later shrugged his shoulders at the revelations and did nothing about them.


Sussmann’s law firm colleague Marc Elias, a long-time Democrat strategist and Hillary ally, will testify on Tuesday. James Baker is also expected to testify.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.


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