On Friday, Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager, Robby Mook, testified that Clinton personally authorized the delivery of since-debunked data alleging collusion between former President Donald Trump and Russia. A former U.S. Justice Department official likened his testimony to a chess move made to "protect the queen," the New York Post reported.
Jim Trusty, a former federal prosecutor, said Mook's testimony that the then-Democratic presidential nominee signed off on the release of information allegedly connecting Trump to Russia's Alfa Bank fit with testimony in which Mook and former campaign general counsel Marc Elias said they were unaware that campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann planned to provide the information to the FBI.
"The strategy here is Protect the Queen!" Trusty wrote in an email. "The Knights (lawyers for the campaign, the campaign manager) have drawn the line — admitting what they have to admit."
Commenting on how Mook and Elias suggested that Clinton "was shocked, shocked by Sussmann going to the FBI," Trusty said, "Legal representation simply does not work that way. You don't 'free-lance' a visit to the FBI while billing your client for the time.
"The defense is basically trying to provide a fig leaf to any partisan jurors who want to acquit."
Former FBI agent Thomas J. Baker said, "Whether Sussmann is found guilty or innocent or otherwise, [special counsel John] Durham has already laid out, in my opinion, what these people were up to and what was going on.
"It paints a picture of Sussmann colluding with other people to drag the FBI into an investigation and besmirch a presidential candidate," he added.
Sussmann is standing federal trial on a single count of lying to the FBI in September 2016.
Baker added that cultural changes made by former FBI Director Robert Mueller following the Sept. 11 terror attacks resulted in the case against Sussmann being weaker than it would have been.
"Moving away from being a law enforcement agency to an intelligence agency changed the culture," Baker said. "Part of it is they got rid of agent-executives and replaced them with so-called professionals, like James Baker."
James Baker left Sussmann's statement open to question and didn't prepare an official report known as a "302," according to Thomas Baker.
Former Manhattan federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote in a column for the Post that Durham "appears to have built a case of historic consequence" that "portrays the Clinton campaign as guilty of perhaps the worst dirty trick in the history of American presidential elections.
"The problem for Durham," he continued, "is that, because he hasn't charged the big scheme, Judge [Christopher] Cooper is restricting what he can tell the jury about it.
"On the other hand, to the extent Sussmann directly participated in the scheme, the court is inclined to let Durham prove it."
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