Michael Sussmann has been acquitted4 min read
May 31, 2022 at 02:03PM Via technoFog Michael Sussmann has been acquitted
Michael Sussmann has been acquitted.
The acquittal is no surprise. This is a DC jury, after all. In the Roger Stone case, for example, we documented how a juror lied to get on the panel. (That judge didn’t care.) Making matters worse, the Sussmann judge wrongly allowed for a woman to remain on the jury, despite the fact that her daughter and Sussmann’s are on the same high school crew team. One can’t help but think that juror had her own daughter’s interests in mind – the cohesion of the crew team – when she reached a decision.
After the verdict was announced, the jury’s forewoman held court before the media and expressed her displeasure that the Special Counsel prosecute a false statement case: “There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI.”
On the facts, there was more than sufficient evidence to prove Sussmann’s guilt. Sussmann lied to then-FBI general counsel James Baker in order to get a meeting to pass the Alfa Bank hoax materials to the FBI. Sussmann lied again during the meeting – stating he was not there on behalf of a client – in order to get the FBI to open an investigation into the Trump Organization’s purported ties with Alfa Bank. Later, during testimony to Congress, Sussmann admitted he met with Baker on behalf of a client. Billing records proved he had been working on the Alfa Bank project on behalf of the Clinton Campaign.
I won’t say the verdict doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. It would have proven that a DC jury can convict one of their own. It would have resulted in accountability for lying to the FBI. Not the gravest of crimes, but it is still a crime.
In large part, the prosecution of Sussmann was hamstrung by the FBI’s investigation into the Alfa Bank allegations. That goes to materiality. How can the lies be material if the FBI’s investigation was so sloppy? (Answer: they were material because the lies helped open the investigation in the first place.)
On the issue of materiality, look to the testimony of FBI Special Agent Curtis Heide, whose repeated requests to interview the source of the Alfa Bank information were denied by headquarters. FBI Headquarters didn’t want this thing thoroughly vetted – even though they demanded the investigation be opened. As we stated during the trial:
Relatively early on in the investigation – on September 26, 2016 – Agent Heide sent a message to Pientka, requesting an interview of the source of the Alfa Bank white papers. By that time, Heide knew the white paper was bunk. He received no response from Pientka. He repeated this request on October 3, 2016. Agent Heide’s requests were rebuffed by his liaison at FBI headquarters
That’s not the say the public hasn’t benefited from the trial. The information disclosed during the trial was important to understand the broader Clinton/Fusion GPS/Perkins Coie effort to poison the public, the press, and the FBI with their Trump/Russia lies. This included:
- Data from the Executive Office of the President of the United States, including data from the Trumansition period, was exploited by Sussmann and Rodney Joffe and then passed to the CIA.
- Rodney Joffe was a longtime Confidential Human Source (CHS) – and generally a resource – for the FBI. Joffe worked with the FBI on cyber threats from countries like Russia. From former FBI Agent Grasso: “I’m sure the work that [Joffe] did touched on matters having to do with Russia.”
- Joffe went to great lengths to make sure the Alfa Bank information he provided to the FBI did not go through his official FBI handler.
- The decision to open the investigation came from FBI Leadership. According to one FBI Agent, “People on the 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this server.”
- Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias provided updates on the Fusion GPS “research” to the Clinton Campaign.
- And – Hillary Clinton herself approved of the strategy to disseminate the Alfa Bank allegations to the media. Per Robby Mook:
Q: Mr. Mook, before the break you had testified that there was a conversation in which you told Ms. Clinton about the proposed plan to provide the Alfa-Bank allegations to the media; is that correct?
Q: And what was her response?
A: All I remember is that she agreed with the decision.
Then there are the trial exhibits. As Aaron Maté observed, Sussmann edited an FBI press release on the DNC hacking because the FBI’s proposed statement “undermines” the DNC hacking narrative:
Where does Durham go from here? That’s the real question. We already know that the investigation into Rodney Joffe remains open and that Igor Danchenko faces trial this year. Whether there is more remains to be seen.