Special Counsel John Durham’s first trial in his investigation to unravel how the Trump-Russia hoax started is set to wrap up Friday in a U.S. District Courthouse in Washington, D.C. without the defendant testifying in his own defense. Michael Sussmann’s attorney considered putting him on the stand on Thursday and Friday. Instead, the case will wind down with closing arguments on Friday morning.
The jury will hear closing arguments and then be tasked with deciding if Michael Sussmann lied to the FBI when he met with the agency’s General Counsel before the election, handing off information that he claimed proved that Donald Trump communicated with the Kremlin using a super-secret server. Prosecutors contend, and General Counsel James Baker’s notes affirmed, that Sussmann said he was there as a good citizen, not as an attorney working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Testimony disagreed with that claim.
That assertion is important because it goes to the heart of the case. Did Sussmann lie about his intentions and somehow beguile the FBI into taking on a case that they would have treated skeptically if they knew it was Hillary Clinton’s disinformation? The defense attempted to poke holes in that storyline, but the FBI field agents who testified said that if they knew the provenance of the information, it would have changed the seriousness with which they treated it. Indeed, it may not have been necessary to go through thousands and thousands of documents only to find no there there. That could be game, set, and match for Durham, but we’re talking about a D.C. jury pool here.
The FBI agents who were ordered to throw everything at the investigation into the bogus server story wondered who would hand over this turd and order them to polish it. It turns out that the 7th floor at the FBI ordered them to drop everything and investigate. An email presented in court talked about James Comey and all the suits on the 7th floor “fired up” about this “evidence” of a Trump-Russia connection.
But the FBI field officers requested to know who served up DNS data that didn’t turn up anything other than the email service that Trump Hotels used only to send outgoing emails to potential customers. It’s hard for Trump to receive orders from Vladimir Putin when Vlad couldn’t reach Trump on the super-secret server. For that matter, they testified, there was no super-secret server, either.
Who’d sent this drivel? FBI brass, including the forgetful Bill Priestap, and Peter “Insurance Policy” Strzok wouldn’t tell them.
Attorneys presented evidence in court showing that Sussmann purchased flash drives from a Staples a short distance from his office, on which he’s alleged to have put data he claimed proved the Trump-Russia connection shortly before his meeting with Baker. Sussmann expensed the purchases to the “Hillary for America” campaign.
Also included in Sussmann’s informational packet were white papers on what the data meant and conclusions to draw from it. Sussmann seeded this information to the FBI, the media, and the CIA to stimulate an investigation into Trump in order to hurt him and help Hillary Clinton in the election. Of the reporters he chose to receive the fake news, only the New York Times, whose reporter Eric Lichtblau was set to testify for Sussmann but ultimately didn’t have to, showed any skepticism about the data.
Hillary Clinton approved the disinformation operation.
The FBI field office in Chicago was ordered to drop everything and throw all its resources at investigating the Trump-Russian Alfa-Bank connection, even though the field agents believed the data on the flash drive didn’t show a connection at all.
The Alfa-Bank fake Trump-Russia connection stemmed from the FBI’s and DOJ’s Crossfire Hurricane case, which was also put up to find a connection. Both were fake news.
In previous court filings, Sussmann says he was never asked to produce the name of the person who gave him the information. That’s Investigator 101. But The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland opines that this supposed lack of curiosity by the FBI telegraphed the coziness between former federal prosecutor Sussmann, his current clients, Hillary Clinton, tech executive Rodney Joffe, and the FBI, which is an even more troubling possibility. They were “trusted sources,” all of whom hated Donald Trump. She writes, “these allegations indicate that, as with the Steele dossier, politically motivated actors presented false or misleading information to federal agents to prompt an investigation into Trump.”
As time goes on and we see the FBI’s outrageous behavior in the Gretchen Whitmer “kidnapping” case, the troubling infiltration of the FBI in the January 6 unrest, and the attempted framing of Trump in the Russia collusion case, you have to ask yourself the question: whose side are these guys on? The rule of law? Doesn’t seem like it.
Durham’s orders are to chase down where this fraud came from, decide if there was a legitimate predicate on which to open this years-long Trump-Russia investigation, issue a report, and prosecute wrongdoers.
Durham can serve them up, but a jury has to be willing to punish them. And they get the case within hours.