A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussman, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing “any clients” when he told them about a secret Trump Organization back-channel Presented with charges from a Russian bank.
why it matters: It is the second criminal charge stemming from Special Counsel John Durham’s review of potential misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated Russia’s ties to the 2016 Trump campaign.
- Former President Trump and his allies have long spread the narrative that the Durham investigation would result in high-profile indictments of Obama-era intelligence officials, whom they accused of Russia’s “collusion” to take down Trump. “The story was organized.
- But so far, the only criminal charge brought in the Durham investigation was against a low-level former FBI attorney who was convicted after he was convicted of altering an email used to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Was sentenced to 12 months probation. .
description: The indictment alleges that the FBI launched an investigation into the Trump Organization’s possible “secret communications channel” with Russian-owned Alpha Bank after it was alerted to data files by Sussman, who was a member of the high-powered Democratic law firm Perkins. works for anyone.
- During a meeting with the FBI’s general counsel, Sussman is accused of “falsely stating that he was not acting on the above allegations for ‘any client’, leading the FBI’s general counsel to It was understood that Sussman was acting only as a good citizen. Not as a paid advocate or political activist, but to disseminate information.”
- In fact, the indictment alleges, Sussman was representing an “American Internet company” and the Clinton campaign. The FBI’s investigation of the Alpha Bank connection later concluded that there was insufficient evidence of a secret communications channel with the Trump Organization.
Between the lines: While Trump and his allies are likely to celebrate the indictment as verification of some sort of political conspiracy, the allegation actually presents the FBI as the victim of a crime—not the driving force behind the alleged plot to remove the president. .
What are they saying: “Michael Sussman is a highly respected national security and cybersecurity attorney who served the US Justice Department during Democratic and Republican administrations alike,” his attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said in a joint statement Wednesday, when pending The indictment report came out first.
- “Any prosecution here would be unfounded, unprecedented and apolitical and an unfair deviation from the principle in which the Department of Justice should conduct its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussman is charged, he will prevail at trial and his Verify the good name.”