Alleged Clinton campaign adviser Michael Sussman charged
Former U.S. Attorney John Durham (center) outside federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, after former Gov. John Rowland was sentenced.
Bob McDonald | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
A lawyer who allegedly advised Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was charged Thursday with lying to the FBI.
Federal prosecutors say Michael Sussmann, then a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, provided information the same year about a possible secret electronic channel between former President Donald Trump’s company and a Russian bank. Lied when prompted.
The charges against Sussman are part of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI and former special counsel Robert Mueller’s previous probe into Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. potential coordination. Then-Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham to lead the probe in early 2019, after Trump lashed out at the Russia probe for several years.
Former federal prosecutor Sussman, 57, has reportedly denied working for the Clinton campaign. He is accused of lying to the FBI general counsel at a September 2016 meeting that he did not represent any legitimate clients because he forwarded information about a possible electronic connection between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
“In fact, Sussman collected and communicated these allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two clients, including a U.S. technology executive and the Clinton presidential campaign,” Durham’s office announced the indictment in federal court in Washington, D.C. The statement said the grand jury.
Beginning in July 2016, Sussman worked with technology executives, other cyber researchers and a U.S. investigative firm to collect data and documents that Sussman later provided to the FBI and the media, the indictment said.
“For his part, the tech executive used his access to non-public data from multiple internet companies and sought the assistance of U.S. university researchers who were receiving and analyzing contracts related to pending federal government cybersecurity research. of Internet data is designed to identify perpetrators of malicious cyberattacks and protect U.S. national security,” Durham’s office said.
The indictment alleges the researchers mined the data “to build ‘inferences’ and ‘narratives’ linking then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to Russia, which executives believed would please certain ‘VIPs,'” Dar Rem’s office said.
Sussman, his law firm and technology executives also allegedly coordinated with members of Clinton’s campaign in these efforts, the indictment said.
Durham’s office said in a statement that after receiving tips from Sussman, “the FBI has finally determined that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation of a covert communication channel between the Trump Organization and Russian banks.”
Sussman is due to appear in court as early as Friday.
On Thursday, he sent viewers a “page not found” message from his profile page on the Perkins Coie website.
In an email to CNBC late Thursday, a Perkin Coie spokesperson said: “In light of the special counsel’s action today, Michael Sussman, who has been on leave from the company, has offered to resign from the company in order to focus on his law. Defense, the company accepted.”
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Sussmann’s attorneys, Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth of Latham & Watkins, said in a statement: “Michael Sussmann is being charged today because of politics, not facts.”
“The special counsel appears to be using this indictment to advance conspiracy theories he chooses to not actually charge,” the defense attorney said. “This case runs counter to everything the Department of Justice is supposed to represent. Mr. Sussman will fight this baseless and Politically inspired prosecution fight.”
Sussman, who has dedicated his career to national security and cybersecurity, “meeted FBI General Counsel James Baker on behalf of a cyber expert client to inform him of an impending release from a major news organization on cyber connectivity,” the lawyers said. Report. Relations between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization, and provide him with a copy of the information on which this story is based.”
“Mr. Sussman met with Mr. Baker because he and his client believed the information raised national security concerns,” the lawyers said. “Despite the political rants, innuendo and irrelevant details, what is shocking about the allegations in the indictment is that very few of them are actually related to the charges the special counsel chose to make.”
They added that Durham was “bringing false representation charges based on an oral statement allegedly made five years ago to a single witness who was unrecorded and unobserved by others.”
“The Justice Department doesn’t usually bring such baseless cases,” the lawyers said. “The special counsel was also unable to demonstrate that it all matters. It doesn’t matter who Mr. Sussman’s clients are, or even if he has no clients at all.”
— CNBC Michael Callia contributed to this report.
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