Rich Welsh| Lawyer Michael Sussmann who plead not guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI when turning over faked information against then 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump, by telling the Bureau he wasn’t working for anyone and he just stopped in to turn over made up dirt on Trump because he was a concerned citizen. It turns out he was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign, which was Trump’s opponent in the race. It’s a felony to lie to the FBI.
There’s a whole host of other problems he may face because the phony information he turned over about communications between Trump and a Russian bank led to the Trump-Russia collusion scam that plagued the Trump administration for close to three years, and it was all to get Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server out of the news while at the same time intending to harm Trump’s candidacy.
Sussmann’s defense attorneys, who are representing him in the first trial emanating from Special Counsel John Durham‘s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, have made noises they were thinking of moving for a mistrial, and the presiding federal judge on Wednesday said he was “not inclined” to grant the request.
On Wednesday, Sean Berkowitz, an attorney representing Sussmann, said he was planning to argue for a mistrial on Thursday because of a back and forth that stemmed from the long hours of testimony and questioning of former general counsel for the 2016 Clinton campaign, lawyer Marc Elias who was a partner with the law firm Perkins Coie until 2021, the firm that was allegedly paid by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Elias was asked by the defense during cross-examination if Sussmann went to the FBI in September 2016 with data alleging surreptitious communications between Trump Tower and Alfa Bank, a Russian-owned bank on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
“I think you’d have to ask Mr. Sussmann,” Elias responded.
The prosecutors brought up the response later on, and the defense attorneys argued it violated Sussmann’s rights.
District Judge Christopher Cooper seemed unimpressed.
“You should be prepared to deal with witnesses,” Cooper said to Berkowitz. “I am not inclined to grant a mistrial.”
Seeking a mistrial for that seems to be an Olympian form of stretching on Berkowitz’s part.
Once the hours-long testimony from Elias ended on Wednesday, the prosecutors called former FBI General Counsel James Baker to the stand. He was questioned for 45 minutes.
Baker is the guy that Sussmann gave the false statement to when he turned over the fabricated data and told Baker he was not doing work “for any client” when he sought and attended a meeting in September 2016 where he handed over “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communicates channel” between Trump Tower servers and Alfa Bank.
Baker said he is 100% confident that Sussmann said he was not working for anyone. The defense lawyers will try to argue that Sussmann did tell him he was working for Clinton and Baker just forgot. Well, Baker just burnt that path.
The Durham prosecutors allege that Sussmann was working for 2 clients, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and a tech executive, Rodney Joffe. Sussmann eventually billed the Hillary Clinton campaign for his work after his meeting with Baker.