Erstwhile Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann Cleared of FBI Perjury

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During the first legal trial of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the Russia/Donald Trump scheming conspiracy theory, a D.C. jury exonerated former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann’s lying to investigators on Tuesday. 

Sussmann was accused and charged with lying to the FBI in a 2016 session with James Baker.


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However, Sussmann pleaded not guilty, saying he never told lies to the FBI, and if he did, the lie had no effect on FBI processes. 

Foul Play?

Durham said, “While we’re displeased, we respect the jury’s decision and appreciate them for their service.”

“I also want to commend the investigators and prosecutorial team for their work in this case.”

Durham charged Sussmann with misrepresenting himself to meet with Baker. Sussmann told the FBI prosecutor he was a good citizen doing wobbly opposition research for the Clinton campaign and digital executive Rodney Joffe. 

Sussmann gave Baker disproved evidence of a Trump Organization communications channel to Russia’s Alfa Bank. Federal agents quickly shot down the data and Sussmann’s assertions. 

Three Hillary Clinton funders sat on the jury, one of whom also donated to Ocasio-Cortez.

Judge Christopher Cooper overruled prosecutors’ objections to seating a Clinton donor after he promised to be impartial. It wasn’t clear if the jurors sat as alternates or decided the case. 

Prosecutors pressed Cooper to extract another juror after she disclosed her daughter was on Sussmann’s crew team. Cooper said the juror’s readiness to cooperate showed how seriously she took her jury duties. 

Baker claimed he is “100% convinced” Sussmann concealed his clients at their September 19, 2016 encounter.

In addition, Sussmann’s attorneys noted Baker managed to make conflicting statements about the meeting. 

The Meeting

The indictment charges Sussmann with lying to the FBI during his meeting with Baker, not with lying to Baker.

Just before the meeting, Sussmann texted Baker, “I’m coming on my own—not because of a client or company—I would like to help the Bureau.” 

After their meeting, Baker shared Sussmann’s information with other FBI officials. According to the FBI attorney, these officials wrote in detailed notes that Sussmann posed as a worried civilian to Baker. 

Durham’s group of prosecutors proffered billing information Sussmann sent to the 2016 Clinton camp for jobs he did the day of his session with Baker on a “highly classified project.”

Sussmann helped get the Alfa-Bank accusations into the press. Sussmann was shopping the Alfa-Bank evidence to a New York Times reporter while arranging the meeting with Baker. 


Again, Sussmann’s defense lawyers tried to undermine prosecutors’ claims by indicating the billing statement does not detail Sussmann’s actions or allude to the FBI. 

One of the FBI agents who probed Sussmann’s alleged Alfa-Bank backchannel told the jury last week that FBI brass asserted Sussmann’s data came from the DOJ, not the Clinton camp lawyer.

Heide and federal agent Allison Sands started the Alfa-Bank inquiry by citing a Justice Department “referral,” according to jury-viewed emails.