Following The Yellow Brick Road To Get To Who Pulled The Strings

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  1. Sharlee01 profile image89
    Sharlee01posted 2 years ago
    And So It Begins

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Special Counsel John Durham’s team in its opening argument Tuesday alleged that former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann used the FBI as "a political tool" to "manipulate" the bureau on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to create an "October surprise" against then-candidate Donald Trump — a plan that "largely succeeded."

    Sussmann is charged with making a false statement to the FBI when he told former FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 — less than two months before the presidential election — that he was not doing work "for any client" when he requested and attended a meeting with Baker where he presented "purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communicates channel" between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

    Durham’s team alleges Sussmann was, in fact, doing work for two clients: the Hillary Clinton campaign and a technology executive, Rodney Joffe. Following the meeting with Baker, Sussmann billed the Hillary Clinton campaign for his work.

    Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

    Federal prosecutor Deborah Brittain Shaw delivered the government’s opening argument, saying the case is one "about privilege."

    "Privilege of a lawyer who thought he could lie to the FBI without consequences; the privilege of a lawyer who thought that for the powerful, normal rules didn’t apply," Shaw argued on behalf of the government.

    The government argued that in bringing the "serious allegations" to the FBI, Sussmann "bypassed normal channels and went straight to the FBI’s top lawyer," then-General Counsel James Baker.

    "He then sat across from that lawyer and lied to him," Shaw said, noting the lie was "designed to achieve political" ends, and "designed to inject the FBI into the election."

    The government, in delivering the argument, wanted to "address the proverbial elephant in the room."

    "Some people have very strong feelings about politics, and about Russia, and many people have strong feelings about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton," Shaw said. "We are not here because allegations involve either."

    "We are here because the FBI is our institution that should don’t be used as a political tool for anyone — not Republicans, not Democrats, not anyone," Shaw said, urging jurors to leave their own "political views" out of the decisions they make in the courtroom.

    The government said the evidence presented throughout the trial will show that "the lie" was part of a "bigger plan," one to "create an October surprise on the eve of the presidential election."

    "A plan that used and manipulated the FBI. A plan that the defendant hoped would trigger news outlets and trigger an FBI investigation," Shaw said. "A plan that largely succeeded."

    The government plans to discuss details of Sussmann’s meetings with the opposition research firm the Clinton campaign hired to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign — Fusion GPS.

    The now-infamous anti-Trump dossier, which contained allegations of purported coordination between Trump and the Russian government, was authored by Christopher Steele, an ex-British intelligence officer, and commissioned by Fusion GPS.

    Perkins Coie, where Sussmann had been employed, is the law firm through which the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier.

    "Opposition research is something that happens in politics and has for years — Republicans do it, Democrats do it," the government argued, noting that "opposition research is not illegal," but lying to the FBI is.

    The government told the jury that during the trial, it will present physical evidence, including handwritten notes from FBI officials, two thumb drives that Sussmann gave to the FBI containing the allegations against Trump and also testimony and documents to prove their charge against Sussmann.

    "This is a case about privilege," the government reiterated. "No one should be so privileged as to have the ability to walk into the FBI and lie for political ends."

    "Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, whether we hate Donald Trump or love him, we have to believe some things are above politics," the government said, adding that the FBI "should never be used as a political pawn."

    Moments later, Sussmann’s defense began to present its opening argument, which was delivered by Michael Bosworth.

    Bosworth argued that Sussmann, a well-known and high-profile national security lawyer "didn’t lie to the FBI" and "wouldn’t lie to the FBI" based on his years of experience, his relationships with national security officials within the government, and his character.

    Bosworth urged the jury to consider four questions when evaluating evidence and testimony throughout the trial: "What did Sussmann actually say to the FBI? Is what he said false? Did he intend to say something false? Did it matter?"

    "The government has to prove all of these beyond a reasonable doubt," Bosworth said. "They're going to stumble at every turn."

    Bosworth called the charge against his client "nonsensical," calling Sussmann "a good man, a family man," and an "honest man." To read more from Bosworth --- … rise-trump


  2. abwilliams profile image64
    abwilliamsposted 2 years ago

    Thoughts? How many years have I been writing articles about this...too many!
    I just hope that when Sussmann goes down, he takes the evil kingpin, the over-the-top corrupt, Hillary Clinton, with him.
    My thoughts in a nutshell! smile

    1. Sharlee01 profile image89
      Sharlee01posted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Yes. I am also hoping, and praying that every dirty piece of the puzzle is put in place, and in the end, we have a big picture of the entire group that participated in this evil ploy.

      It will be interesting to see the first "sell-out".

  3. abwilliams profile image64
    abwilliamsposted 2 years ago

    Yes! Get your popcorn and a front row seat for that show!

  4. Sharlee01 profile image89
    Sharlee01posted 2 years ago
    One brick closer to finding the truth...

    James Baker buries Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann in probe

    WASHINGTON, DC —  A former FBI official delivered devastating testimony Thursday against former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann — saying he’s “100% confident” the defendant denied acting “on behalf of any particular client” when he handed over since-debunked information linking Donald Trump and Russia.

    “I think it was pretty close to the beginning of the meeting. Part of his introduction to the meeting,” former FBI general counsel James Baker told jurors in Washington, DC, federal court.

    Baker’s account directly supports the sole charge against Sussmann as a result of special counsel John Durham’s probe into alleged law-breaking in connection with the FBI and Robert Mueller’s probes of purported Trump-Russia ties.

    Sussmann, 57, is on trial on a single count of lying to the government during a Sept. 19, 2016, sit-down with Baker at FBI headquarters.

    According to his indictment, the cybersecurity lawyer was allegedly acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Rodney Joffe, a tech executive and client who told him about computer data that purportedly revealed a secret back channel between a Trump Organization server and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

    “He said that he was not appearing before me on behalf of any particular client,” Baker recalled.

    “He had information of concern about an apparent surreptitious communications channel between Alfa-Bank, which he described as being connected to the Kremlin in Russia, and some part of the Trump Organization in the US.”

    Baker testified that he was “100% confident that he said that in the meeting.”

    Baker said he probably wouldn’t have agreed to meet with Sussmann if he knew Sussmann was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

    “That would raise very serious questions, certainly in my mind, about the credibility of the source and the veracity of the info — heightening, in my mind, whether we were going to be played or pulled into the politics,” he said.

    “We were aware of and wary of being played – having the fact of our investigation being the thing to enable the press to report on something flawed or incomplete.”

    Baker said the fact that Clinton had been investigated by the FBI over her use of a private email server while secretary of state would also have played a factor in his decision.

    “I think I would have said: Meet with case agents associated with the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Meet with the ‘Midyear Exam’ folks,” he testified.

    Baker said Sussmann’s assertions — which included a text message the night before that said he’d be “coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau’ —  led him to treat Sussmann as a confidential FBI source.

    That decision stymied efforts to compile a complete “chain of custody” for two thumb drives of data that Sussmann gave Baker, FBI agent Scott Hellman testified Tuesday.

    “I do remember I was frustrated at not being able to ID who had provided these thumb drives to Mr. Baker. He was not willing to tell me,” Hellman said.

    During Thursday’s testimony, Baker said Sussmann told him that a reporter was working on a story about the Alfa Bank data, and that the threat of news coverage led him to take immediate action.

    “It affected my thinking about the urgency of the matter because I know that if a news organization were to publish something about an alleged surreptitious communications channel … as soon as that article came out the communications channel would disappear,” Baker told assistant Special Counsel Andrew DeFilippis.

    Minutes after his meeting with Sussmann, Baker said he briefed Bill Priestap, who at the time was assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, about the Alfa Bank information.  In a phone call with Priestap, Baker vouched for Sussmann as a source, describing him as a “serious lawyer” with background in cybersecurity who previously worked in the Justice Department.

    Baker told Priestap that Sussmann was not acting on behalf of any client – a detail Priestap recorded in notes that he took during the call and which were displayed in court.

    “Said not doing this for any client,” Priestap wrote.

    Baker also alerted other top FBI officials, including Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Trisha Anderson, a former FBI lawyer who oversaw legal support for its counterterrorism, counterintelligence and cyber investigations.

    Anderson took notes of a meeting she had with Baker, which were also shown in court.

    “No specific client,” she wrote of Sussmann.

    During opening statements Tuesday, the defense contended that Baker’s memory of his meeting with Sussmann was now “clear as mud,” and defense lawyer Sean Berkowitz used his cross-examination of the witness to highlight previous, inconsistent statements he made to investigators, including Durham.

    Berkowitz confronted Baker with a transcript of a July 2019 interview during which he told investigators from the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office that Sussman got the Alfa Bank data from “some number of people that were his clients.”

    Baker said he used that language as a “shorthand way to describe the people with whom he was connected.”

    When asked if had lied to the investigators, Baker denied doing so. “I had no intention of deceiving the inspector general in any way, shape or form,” he testified.

    Another transcript produced by the defense showed Baker telling Durham in July 2020 that he couldn’t recall taking any action to conceal Sussmann’s identity from other FBI employees.

    Berkowitz also asked Baker if it was possible that Sussmann mentioned his “clients” during a 13-minute phone conversation days after the meeting at FBI headquarters.
    Baker said he was about 75% sure Sussmann did not mention clients on the call, but couldn’t say definitively one way or the other.

    At one point, Berkowitz needled Baker by asking, “It’s hard to remember events of a long time ago, isn’t it?”

    “It depends on what you are talking about,” Baker answered.

    The cross-examination was scheduled to continue Friday. … sman-lied/

  5. Sharlee01 profile image89
    Sharlee01posted 2 years ago

    Hillary Clinton approved dissemination of Trump-Russian bank allegations to media, campaign manager testifies

    Clinton's former campaign manager said he took the idea of leaking Trump-Russia allegations to multiple senior campaign officials

    WASHINGTON — Former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook testified Friday that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton approved the dissemination of materials alleging a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank to the media, despite campaign officials not being "totally confident" in the legitimacy of the data.

    Former FBI General Counsel James Baker testified Thursday that the bureau investigated the data alleging a Trump connection to the Kremlin-linked bank, and found that "there was nothing there."

    Mook was called to the stand for testimony by Michael Sussmann’s defense Friday.

    During cross-examination by government prosecutor Andrew DeFillippis Friday, Mook was asked about the campaign’s understanding of the Alfa Bank allegations against Trump and whether they planned to release the data to the media.

    Mook said he was first briefed about the Alfa Bank issue by campaign general counsel Marc Elias, who at the time was a partner at lawfirm Perkins Coie.

    Mook testified that he was told that the data had come from "people that had expertise in this sort of matter."  Mook said the campaign was not totally confident in the legitimacy of the data, but had hoped to give the information to a reporter who could further "run it down" to determine if it was "accurate" or "substantive."

    He also said he discussed whether to give the information to a reporter with senior campaign officials, including campaign chairman John Podesta, senior policy advisor, now White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

    "I discussed it with Hillary as well," Mook said.

    "I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter," Mook said.

    The government asked Mook if Clinton approved "the dissemination" of the data to the media.

    "She agreed," Mook testified.

    Mook later said he "can't recall the exact sequence of events," when asked if he shared the idea to give the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations to the media with Clinton before or after the decision was made.

    "All I remember is that she agreed with the decision," Mook testified.

    Sussmann has been charged with making a false statement to the FBI when he told Baker in September 2016, less than two months before the presidential election, that he was not doing work "for any client" when he requested and attended a meeting in which he presented "purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communicates channel" between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

    Durham’s team alleges Sussmann was, in fact, doing work for two clients: the Hillary Clinton campaign and a technology executive, Rodney Joffe. Following the meeting with Baker, Sussmann billed the Hillary Clinton campaign for his work.

    Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

    Mook, earlier in questioning from the defense, was asked whether he or anyone on the Clinton campaign approved or gave Sussmann permission to bring the allegations to the FBI, to which he said: "No." 

    Later, the defense further questioned Mook, asking if Hillary Clinton herself approved Sussmann going to the FBI.

    "I'm not aware," Mook testified.

    When asked again, he said: "I don't know…I don't know why she would."

    The government, in its opening statement Tuesday, argued that Sussmann's delivery of the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations to the FBI was part of the Clinton campaign's plan to create an "October surprise" against then-candidate Donald Trump.

    The government moved to admit a tweet from Clinton dated Oct. 31, 2016 as evidence, despite U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruling last month that the court would exclude that tweet as hearsay. Cooper, Friday, granted the government’s motion to admit the Clinton tweet, which stated:

    "Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank."

    Clinton also shared a statement from Jake Sullivan, which stated: "This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank."

    Sullivan said the "secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia."

    "This line of communication may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign," Sullivan's 2016 statement continued. "It raises even more troubling questions in light of Russia’s masterminding of hacking efforts that are clearly intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign."

    Sullivan added that they "can only assume federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections."

    When asked for the definition of an "October surprise" Friday, Mook testified that it is "the idea that you have a devastating piece of opposition research and drop it on candidate so the candidate doesn't have time to respond or recover from it and, as a result, loses the election."

    When pressed to identify the date of the Clinton tweet for the jury, Mook stated: "Oct. 31, 2016."

    Mook defended the tweet saying: "I did not see it as some sort of silver bullet and I don't think that others on the campaign did either."

    As for the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations in general, Mook said: "We thought this was highly suspect and, if it was true, we wanted the American public to know about it for sure."

    Mook again called the data "certainly alarming and suspicious."
    Meanwhile, Baker testified Thursday that the FBI began an investigation into the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations, which lasted "several weeks, maybe a month, maybe a month and a half."
    "We concluded there was no substance," Baker testified. "We
    couldn’t confirm it. We could not confirm there was a surreptitious communications channel."

    In testimony on Tuesday afternoon, FBI Special Agent Scott Hellman also said the data revealing the alleged covert communications channel between Trump and Russia that Sussmann brought to the FBI turned out to be untrue and said he did not agree with the narrative.

    Hellman testified that whoever drafted the narrative describing the DNS data was "5150," and clarified on the stand that meant he believed the individual who came to the conclusions "was suffering from some mental disability."

    Baker added: "There was nothing there."

  6. Sharlee01 profile image89
    Sharlee01posted 2 years ago
    Prosecution, defense spar over bill allegedly proving Sussmann charged Clinton campaign for 2016 FBI meeting
    John Durham claims Sussmann's billing records prove he lied to the FBI

    "WASHINGTON, D.C. – Government prosecutors on Wednesday presented the jury with Michael Sussmann’s billing records, which they say prove he charged the Hillary Clinton campaign for his meeting with then-FBI General Counsel James Baker where he shared allegations of a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

    The prosecution’s final witness was Kori Arsenault, a paralegal with Special Counsel John Durham’s office. Arsenault worked on much of the government’s exhibits and helped to explain the records to the jury.

    The prosecution on Wednesday morning produced the record from Perkins Coie that they say proves the law firm billed "Hillary for America" for the meeting Sussmann had with Baker at FBI headquarters on Sept. 19, 2016."

    "On the bill, also dated Sept. 19, 2016, the Clinton campaign is listed as the client, the time is listed as 3.3 hours, and the memo states: "work and communications regarding confidential project." Other testimony revealed Sussmann charged approximately $800 per hour.

    Durham’s team also produced a receipt from a Staples near Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 13, 2016. On the receipt was a two pack of flash drives.

    The prosecution alleged the receipt was included in an expense report from Sussmann, and the billing code on the report connects the expense to the Clinton campaign as the client.

    During his meeting with Baker on Sept. 19, 2016, Sussmann brought two thumb drives of data and white papers alleging the Trump Organization was using a secret back channel to communicate with Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.

    Durham’s team aims to convince the jury that the records revealing Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign prove Sussmann lied when he allegedly told Baker on Sept. 19, 2016, that he was not bringing the allegations on behalf of any specific client, but rather as a citizen concerned with national security.

    But during cross-examination Wednesday, defense attorney Michael Bosworth noted that in meetings Sussmann had at the FBI in years prior, he would specifically make reference to the FBI in the bill's "memo" section.

    Bosworth noted that the Sept. 19, 2016, bill only specifies "work and communication regarding confidential project."

  7. IslandBites profile image89
    IslandBitesposted 2 years ago


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The jury on Tuesday found Michael Sussmann not guilty of making a false statement to the FBI in September 2016 when he said he was not working on behalf of any client, when he brought information alleging a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. … ohn-durham

    1. GA Anderson profile image87
      GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this


      Come on now, using gloves won't change the message. Be nice.

      The conservative media and politicians are probably going to have a fit over this one, but from what little I know about it, the only non-circumstantial evidence he lied is what Baker said, and Baker has said something different at other times—or so the news says.

      My perception from the circumstantial stuff is that he did lie, but the witness's credibility problem left room for reasonable doubt. Unless there is a blockbuster revelation later, I'm okay with the verdict.



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