A text message unveiled by Special Counsel John H. Durham Monday appears to provide evidence that Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign, misled the FBI when reporting claims about candidate Donald Trump and Russia.
The text message is being described as a “smoking gun” by some observers because it appears to be written corroboration of charges against Sussmann. Furthermore, evidence in Durham’s filing also implicates the Clinton campaign in a “conspiracy.”
Sussmann is on trial for lying to the FBI, allegedly because he presented himself as a concerned citizen rather than a lawyer working for the Clinton campaign. His claims about a Trump connection to Russia via Alfa Bank were debunked as a hoax.
The filing (via Just the News) asks the court to include certain evidence against Sussmann, and to exclude other evidence that the defense insists must be part of the case. The text message complements claims that Sussmann lied to the FBI verbally.
As the filing notes (original emphasis):
The defendant provided the FBI General Counsel with purported data and “white papers” that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank (“Russian Bank-1”). The Indictment alleges that the defendant lied in that meeting, falsely stating to the General Counsel that he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client.
Indeed, on September 18, 2016 at 7:24 p.m., i.e., the night before the defendant met with the General Counsel, the defendant conveyed the same lie in writing and sent the following text message to the General Counsel’s personal cellphone:
Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availibilty for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks. (emphasis added).
The FBI General Counsel responded: “Ok. I will find a time. What might work for you?” To which the defendant replied: “Any time but lunchtime – you name it.”
The defendant’s billing records reflect that the defendant repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations. In compiling and disseminating these allegations, the defendant and Tech Executive-1 also had met and communicated with another law partner at Law Firm-1 who was then serving as General Counsel to the Clinton Campaign (“Campaign Lawyer-1”).
In his meeting with Agency-2 employees, the defendant also made a substantially similar false statement as he had made to the FBI General Counsel. In particular, the defendant asserted that he was not representing a particular client in conveying the above allegations. In truth and in fact, the defendant was continuing to represent at least Tech Executive-1– a fact the defendant subsequently acknowledged under oath in December 2017 testimony before Congress (without identifying the client by name).
Durham’s filing also seeks to admit emails that include the Clinton campaign in the effort to substantiate the Alfa Bank hoax. These emails could be considered inadmissible hearsay, but Durham explains that they are not being used to establish the truth of the emails, but rather that there was a “conspiracy” between Sussmann, the Clinton campaign, and others: “[T]he relevant communications are … admissible as co-conspirator statements made in furtherance of a joint venture,” he says.
Thus far, neither Hillary Clinton nor her presidential campaign have been indicted for their alleged roles in the “conspiracy.”
Durham also wants to admit into evidence a tweet from Hillary Clinton quoting Jake Sullivan in support of the hoax:
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
Sullivan, who currently serves in the Biden administration as National Security Advisor, went on to brief the media and testify to Congress about supposed Russia “collusion” with Trump, helping to implicate National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose job Sullivan now holds.
In his role as National Security Advisor, Sullivan repeatedly provides the media with information about Russia, despite his implication in the Alfa Bank hoax and his connection to the ongoing Sussmann trial.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.