U.S. Special Counsel John Durham’s current trial case against former Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann just took a monumental turn against any plausible expectation that Hillary will take another run for the Oval Office.
Federal court testimony by her 2016 campaign manager Robby Mook ended that prospect by directly implicating Hillary in what Wall Street Journal editors described as “a dirty trick for the ages.”
As brief background, Sussmann is accused of illegally feeding false information to the FBI purportedly connecting candidate Hillary’s opponent Donald Trump to illicit Russian Alfa Bank transactions, a phony story that her campaign agents then peddled to the press to taint him with election “Russia collusion” damage.
Sussmann, who has pleaded not guilty, had claimed — in an email to then FBI General Counsel James Baker — that he wasn’t taking the information to the FBI on behalf of any client, but instead, was merely acting as a good Samaritan.
Prosecutors have presented evidence that Sussmann allegedly collaborated with the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS to produce fictitious claims which an FBI agent testified a bureau analysis quickly rejected as implausible.
Mook stated that while the Hillary campaign lacked expertise to vet the data, a decision was made by their policy adviser Jake Sullivan (now President Biden’s national security adviser), communications director Jennifer Palmieri, and campaign chairman John Podesta, to feed the Alfa Bank claim to a Slate reporter.
The media-worthy bombshell exploded with Mook’s testimony that Hillary was personally briefed on the plan … and approved it.
Sullivan reportedly issued an Oct. 31, 2016 statement mentioning the Slate story, writing: “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow.”
Clinton tweeted Sullivan’s statement with the comment: “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.”
Based upon numerous coordinated court filings, it appears that lots of other key people, associated with the Clinton campaign — current Biden National Security Advisor Sullivan included — also have good reasons to be very concerned about where Durham’s trial trail will lead.
Another of those individuals is Rodney Joffe, the tech executive who produced data that purportedly tied Trump to Russia and who had been promised a top government job following Hillary’s anticipated election victory.
Joffe, who had hired Sussmann as a client beginning in 2015, disclosed that his specific assignment was to advise him how to share sensitive information concerning Trump with government agencies — without revealing his identity and thereby exposing himself to potential liability.
Essentially, Rodney Joffe publicly admitted that he hired Michael Sussmann to take information about Trump to the FBI.
To make matters even more incriminating, Fusion GPS owners, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch admitted in their 2019 book “Crime in Progress” that their firm’s role was directed to seed Trump opposition research stories with the media.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) also has some serious splainin’ to do.
Fusion GPS presented a court filing stating that it was retained by then-partner (and lead DNC campaign attorney) Mark Elias at the law firm Perkins Coie to “assist in providing legal advice to its clients, the Hillary for America Campaign Committee and the DNC during the 2016 presidential campaign.”
There’s some question here regarding when Fusion actually began conducting Trump opposition research for Perkins Coie.
Perkins Coie general counsel Matthew Gerringer has stated that Fusion had approached the company in early March 2016 to express an interest in continuation of “research regarding then-presidential candidate Donald Trump,” research that “Fusion GPS had conducted for one or more other clients during the Republican primary contest.”
Clinton lawyer Sussmann and DNC lawyer Elias had both worked for Perkins Coie in 2016.
Perkins Coie has resisted disclosing requested information to Durham prosecutors on the basis of attorney client privilege, also noting that Elias had left the company last year and had taken all of the related files with him.
Elias has essentially mirrored the same claim, arguing that Fusion was providing Perkins Coie with input that was related to legal advice, and any communications were therefore covered by privilege.
As for Robby Mook, he claims not knowing about Fusion’s role in the Trump opposition research hit until long after the election, but that he trusted that the Russian collusion theory had come from seasoned experts.
Mook also testified that neither he nor anyone else at the campaign directed Sussmann to take the information to the FBI, and that the main focus was tipping off the media.
During the 2016 campaign, one of those “informed experts,” their policy adviser Jake Sullivan, drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers and anchors a story that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election.
CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News, as well as Chris Wallace of Fox News, all gave him lots of welcome airtime.
Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written campaign statement that independent "computer scientists" discovered that Trump and the Russians had set up a "secret hotline" through Alfa Bank.
He also suggested that "federal authorities" were investigating "this direct connection between Trump and Russia," that so-called “most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow" that Hillary jumped on.
Current Biden administration National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is now facing scrutiny, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017.
Sources claim that Sullivan had been briefed on the development of the Clinton campaign attempts to tie Trump to the Alfa Bank. That version reportedly conflicts with Sullivan's December 2017 closed-door congressional testimony before the House Intelligence committee claiming that he had been unaware of Fusion’s involvement.
Lying to Congress is a felony.
After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to participate in efforts to conjure up derogatory information on Trump and his associates to keep his presidency under an ethical cloud.
Expect ongoing Durham and Congressional probes to produce widespread criminal justice wind shifts.
Meanwhile, drifting ethical clouds are already raining on any future Clinton campaign parade plans.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 11 books, "Beyond Flagpoles and Footprints: Pioneering the Space Frontier" co-authored with Buzz Aldrin (2021), is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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