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Indicted Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann’s trial begins TODAY: FBI agents set to take the stand as Durham’s first case in his Russia probe gets underway
- Jury selection begins in Sussmann’s trial Monday, opening arguments Tuesday
- It’s the first court trial and second indictment in Durham’s three-year probe
- Durham alleges that Sussmann misrepresented himself to the FBI when providing purported ‘evidence’ tying Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign to Russia
- Sussmann allegedly told a federal agent he was not working on behalf of any client when he was working for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign
- The DC attorney’s lawyers claim he is innocent and that whether or not he misrepresented himself has no bearing on the FBI’s subsequent actions
Hillary Clinton and DNC-linked lawyer Michael Sussmann’s case is the only one that’s gone to trial so far in Durham’s three-year investigation
The trial of Michael Sussmann, an attorney who previously worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, is set to begin on Monday as prosecutors seek to prove the lawyer lied to federal agents when sending them dirt on Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russia.
It’s the first trial and one of two indictments in Special Counsel John Durham’s three-year investigation into the origins of Robert Mueller’s Russian election interference probe.
Durham had been appointed by Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr.
Sussmann was indicted by a grand jury of lying to the FBI in September 2021.
Monday’s trial, which begins with jury selection, is the first significant public test of Durham and his prosecutors’ findings after months of increasingly combative court filings from both sides.
Opening arguments begin on Tuesday. The special counsel’s office will likely seek to paint Sussmann as a biased political operator knowingly passing on unverified information to the federal government.
The defendant’s lawyers have maintained their client is innocent and that his alleged lie did not have any bearing on the FBI’s actions.
Durham alleges that the Washington, DC-based attorney misrepresented himself to the bureau when passing on documents ‘that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and [Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank].’
‘Sussmann, who had previously represented the Democratic National Committee in connection with a cyber hack, falsely stated to the General Counsel that he was not bringing these allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client,’ a press release for the indictment reads.
‘This false representation led the General Counsel to understand that Sussmann was providing information as a good citizen rather than a paid advocate or political operative.’
Special Counsel Durham alleges that Sussmann misrepresented himself to the FBI when presenting purported links between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia
In fact, Durham claims, he was working on behalf of Clinton’s failed presidential campaign as well as a technology executive named Rodney Joffe.
The special counsel also claimed in an April court filing that Sussmann worked with Joffe and his company and ‘numerous cyber researchers, and employees at multiple Internet companies’ to access damaging information about Trump.
Durham’s filing alleges that Sussmann met with ‘the author of a now well-known dossier regarding Trump,’ believed to be Christopher Steele, at the offices of ‘Law Firm-1,’ believed to be Perkins Coie, his former employer.
Steele’s dossier had been seized upon by Democrats as proof that Trump was under the Kremlin’s influence but the former British spy’s purported evidence has since widely been questioned and discredited.
It was also used as the basis for the FBI to launch an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, which led to the Mueller probe.
That investigation did not find collusion between Trump’s team and Moscow but uncovered Russia did make efforts to tip the scales in the ex-president’s favor.
Jury selection in the trial begins Monday.
A judge struck a blow to Durham’s case earlier this month when he refused to allow a pair of Clinton tweets into the record. The two tweets come from October 31, 2016, when Clinton highlighted a Slate article uncovering the Trump Organization’s alleged communications with the Kremlin-tied Alfa Bank, allegations that have since been heavily scrutinized by the FBI
Prospective jurors will likely be asked if they voted in the 2016 election and whether they are linked to efforts to uncover Trump-Russia links, ABC reports.
Durham’s probe faced a setback late last month when a judge refused to allow Clinton’s past tweets accusing Trump of working with Russia to be entered into the record.
Judge Christopher Cooper had ruled that the social media posts constituted hearsay and were ‘duplicative of other evidence.’
The GOP-appointed special counsel had tried to get a pair of tweets dated October 31, 2016 into the record ahead of Sussmann’s trial.
In one, Clinton linked a Slate article detailing alleged communication between Trump’s real estate business and Alfa Bank.
‘It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,’ the Democrat captioned her post.
The additional follow-up tweet read: ‘Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.’