By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An attorney who represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was indicted on Thursday for lying to the FBI, as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s ongoing probe into origins of the FBI’s probe into ties between Russia and former President Donald Trump’s campaign. Michael Sussmann, a partner with […]
U.S. grand jury indicts lawyer who represented Clinton campaign
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An attorney who represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was indicted on Thursday for lying to the FBI, as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s ongoing probe into origins of the FBI’s probe into ties between Russia and former President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Michael Sussmann, a partner with Perkins Coie who also represented the Democratic National Committee in connection with Russia’s hack of the organization, is accused of making false statements during a Sept. 19, 2016 meeting with former FBI General Counsel James Baker.
This marks the second criminal case Durham has filed so far since former Attorney General William Barr tapped him in 2019 to investigate U.S. officials who probed the Trump-Russia contacts. Trump, a Republican, portrayed the 2016 FBI investigation as part of a witch hunt against him.
After the Biden administration came on board, Durham was allowed to stay on as special counsel and continue his work.
In the indictment, Sussmann is accused of falsely telling Baker that he did not represent any client when he met him to give the FBI white papers and other data files containing evidence of questionable cyber links between the Trump Organization and a Russian-based bank.
The indictment alleges that in fact, Sussmann had turned over this information not as a “good citizen” but rather, as an attorney representing a U.S. technology executive, an internet company and Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Attorneys for Sussmann could not be immediately reached for comment. They were expected to staunchly deny that he lied.
“Sussmann’s lie was material because, among other reasons, Sussmann’s false statement misled the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work and deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to assess and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis,” the indictment says.
The indictment says the technology executive client who helped assemble the data Sussmann presented to the FBI had “exploited his access to non-public data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump.”
The FBI investigated, but ultimately concluded there was insufficient evidence of a “secret communications channel” between the Trump organization and the bank.
The bank was not named in the indictment, but a person familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters it was Alfa Bank.
The New York Times later reported on the FBI’s investigation into the Alfa Bank-Trump connection in October 2016 – a probe that the indictment says was sparked following Sussmann’s September 2016 meeting with Baker.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Gregorio)