As Final Arguments Begin In The Sussmann Trial...
It Will Cause Shockwaves If Durham Gets A Conviction In DC
The Michael Sussmann trial in Judge Christopher Cooper’s courtroom in Washington D.C. has moved into the phase where closing arguments will be made to the jury tomorrow morning.
Both the government and the defense rested their cases on Thursday morning, May 26.
There had been speculation that Sussmann would take the stand to testify, but in the end the defense team decided not to put him before the jury.
Sussmann is the former lawyer for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign who is being prosecuted by Special Counsel John Durham for lying about his representation of the Clinton campaign and tech executive Rodney Joffe when he approached the FBI in September of 2016 in an attempt to hand that federal law enforcement agency what is now referred to as the Alfa Bank hoax.
In a meeting where he handed several white papers and thumb drives to the FBI’s General Counsel James Baker, Sussmann said he wasn’t there on behalf of any of his clients.
That was a lie, however, and it is indeed against the federal code to make a false statement to a federal official, as anybody who followed the travesty of the General Michael Flynn case could tell you. [In Flynn’s case it was later demonstrated via a Special Investigator finding exculpatory evidence that had been hidden from the DOJ by both the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team and the Mueller Special Counsel’s Office that Flynn hadn’t made any false statements and so that case was dismissed and Flynn received a pardon from President Donald J. Trump].
The Durham prosecution team comprised of prosecutors Brittain Shaw, Johnathan Algor and Anthony DeFilippis has spent the last week presenting evidence to the jury that Sussmann was being used as a front man to hide the involvement of the Clinton campaign and a former FBI Confidential Human Source [CHS] who appears to have been terminated from that role for cause.
Joffe Being A FBI CHS Who Was Terminated Brings Up Questions
It was only recently revealed in the courtroom as the prosecution presented it’s case that the tech executive who was Sussmann’s client - Rodney Joffe - was a longtime FBI CHS who had been fired for cause. At this time no information has surfaced as to when Joffe’s CHS relationship with the FBI was ended - whether it was before or after Sussmann had his meeting with Baker on September 19, 2016.
But if it had been before Sussmann’s meeting with Baker, it would certainly help provide a motive as to why Joffe wanted the Alfa Bank hoax he’d helped to construct handed to the FBI without either his name or his fingerprints attached to it.
However, even if Joffe was still a CHS in good standing with the FBI when he and the Clinton campaign sent Sussmann to the FBI with the hoax, that also raises it’s own series of interesting questions.
As a FBI CHS, Joffe already had a direct hotline into the agency through his regular CHS handler. If he had something important he wanted to bring to the FBI’s attention, he had a regularly established channel through which he could have done that personally.
So why go through the subterfuge of hiring a lawyer to do the approach to the agency with the Alfa Bank hoax on his behalf, while instructing that lawyer not to use his name?
This seems to directly point to the fact that Joffe knew the Alfa Bank allegations were fraudulent, and so he may have wanted to maintain his good standing with the agency by using a front man to go to the FBI with the hoax instead of doing it himself. That way he kept his hands clean.
Whether before or after the Alfa Bank Hoax handoff, Joffe’s getting terminated means he must have done something serious for the agency to take that step. Hopefully once Joffe himself is indicted and on trial, the reason and the timeline of his CHS relationship with the FBI will become clearer.
A Reminder That Durham Has Key Billing Records from Perkins Coie
One of the very real reasons that Michael Sussmann could be headed to prison is that he was too cheap to pay $12.99 out of his own pocket for the two thumb drives he gave to former FBI General Counsel James Baker.
Remember, the FEC fined both the Clinton campaign and the DNC for trying to hide their payments to Fusion GPS by laundering the money through the Perkins Coie law firm.
We watched a bunch of comical filings take place in this current case in which Hillary For America, the DNC, Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS and Joffe have all insisted that Fusion was hired to give the lawyers at Perkins Coie **legal advice**, as all these parties make a transparent effort to thwart federal grand jury subpoenas and continue to hide evidence from the Special Counsel’s Office.
Always follow the money, because it’s the money and where it started and where it ended up that will always show you the who, the what, the where and the why.
Fusion was not in fact hired to provide legal services or counsel to Hillary For America, the DNC, Perkins Coie or Rodney Joffe. They are partners in a crime, the creation of the Steele Dossier and Alfa Bank hoaxes, two hoaxes that led to the initiation of two federal investigations that targeted the Donald Trump campaign.
Those investigations that were started up based on these hoaxes then led directly to the Muller Special Counsel.
It pays to pull back every now and then and remember what the big picture is here. I assure you Durham sees all of it.
The Durham Team Proved Sussmann’s Lie Was Material
It was established after a series of pre-trial filings that it was going to be left up to the jury to determine if Sussmann’s lie to Baker was material or not. The Sussmann team filed to have Judge Cooper himself make that determination and dismiss the case; Durham countered by showing that established case law showed that determination should be made by the jury at trial. After hearing both sides, Judge Cooper sided with the government, and agreed the jury should make the call.
Here’s what ‘material’ means in this context: Sussmann is arguing that even if he did lie to Baker about being there on behalf of his paying clients, it doesn’t matter because ‘everybody’ at the FBI knew he was working for the DNC and for the Clinton campaign.
The Special Counsel’s Office countered that defense by putting several FBI people on the stand - including Baker himself - to testify that had they known Sussmann was representing the Clinton campaign and Joffe and that the Alfa Bank hoax was created by Joffe and other tech experts at the direction of the Clinton campaign, that would definitely have materially affected how they responded to Sussmann’s proffer of the Alfa Bank allegations.
And besides that, lying to a federal official who is aware you are telling a lie to them is hardly any kind of get-out-of-jail-free card. You are still making a deceptive statement to a federal official, and the federal code does not read “unless the federal official you are lying to knows you are lying to them”.
Sussmann’s Team Made The Right Call In Not Putting Him On The Stand
Having reviewed all the evidence, I can tell you that Sussmann is obviously guilty of the charge he’s being prosecuted for. Members of his defense team must also know this, but as his advocates are charged to achieve the best possible outcome for their client that they can.
And putting an obviously guilty client on the stand is never a good idea, because while the defendant may want to make all kinds of claims to the jury about their innocence, once they are done doing that the government gets to cross examine them, and many a defendant who had been doing well at trial has wrecked themselves during a cross examination by the prosecution when they can’t answer the solid evidence they were asked about.
It must be remembered at all times that Sussmann was charged with making a deceptive statement to Baker about not representing any clients as he made the Alfa Bank hoax handoff to the FBI. Sussmann pleaded “not guilty” to that charge.
But the evidence that he did indeed tell Baker he was there on his own is sufficient and it is damning. The evidence includes a text message that Sussmann sent to Baker on the night of September 18, 2016, where he made his request for a meeting at FBI headquarters. In his own writing, Sussmann tells Baker he’s coming on his own, not for any clients or company.
Then Baker got on the stand and related what Sussmann told him that next day, September 19, 2016. The lawyer told him he wasn’t representing any clients and he was there as a concerned citizen.
Tacitly admitting he can’t deny the text message or Baker’s testimony, Sussmann’s defense for the past 3 days centered on making the argument to the jury that his lie was immaterial, that it just didn’t matter and this is a big overreach by the government.
The defense makes much of the fact that following his meeting with Baker…and **after** the FBI had already opened up an investigation into the Alfa Bank allegations in Chicago…Sussmann told the truth to other FBI officials and then again when he was put under oath in front of Congress in December 2017.
That’s not much of a defense.
Here’s what Sussmann’s defense amounts to: “I lied to that one federal official in the first meeting, sure, but then after you guys had opened up an investigation based on the hoax I handed off, and after I and Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign had seeded the news media with stories about how the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for this supposed secret Russian communications channel, I ‘fessed up and told other FBI people the truth about my representing the Clinton campaign and Joffe.”
Does anybody really think that lets Sussmann off the hook? He later told the truth only **after** he had played his role as an operative working on behalf of one presidential campaign in the 2016 election to get the **other** presidential campaign targeted by a federal law enforcement investigation that he and others subsequently leaked to the news media?
There’s Always A Chance…
The only way Sussmann doesn’t get convicted on the false statement charge is if one or more members of the jury simply throw out all the evidence and refuse to convict him based on their own personal political views.
This trial is, after all, taking place in Washington D.C., which is just about the most Leftist and liberal venue in all of America.
So there’s always a chance one or more jurors are going to hang the jury because they will toss all the evidence aside and give Sussmann a pass because he was trying to save the country from Orange Man Bad and the ends justifies the means.
On the other hand, if the Durham Special Counsel’s Office can go into the Belly of the Beast and convict a big shot Clinton lawyer and send him to prison, that will send a huge message to The Swamp.
Durham has never failed to convict a defendant yet. Will Sussmann be the first to escape him? I’ll go on the record here and say that I doubt it.
I can think of one other lawyer who’s going to be exceedingly nervous about his future if this jury votes to convict Michael Sussmann. It’s the other more senior lawyer at Perkins Coie who was supervising and directing Sussmann as he went about his activities in working with Joffe and others in constructing the Alfa Bank hoax.
Democrat super-lawyer Marc Elias is going to realize Durham actually can get him too.
And you can quote me on that.
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