Sussmann Cooperating Is A Huge Signal To Others Involved In The Criminal Conspiracy
You Better Get Your Deal In Place Before The Music Stops...
It was last September that Special Counsel John Durham signaled his investigation of the Spygate scandal had reached a new phase when he indicted Michael Sussmann, former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer at the power law firm of Perkins Coie, for making a false statement to FBI General Counsel James Baker.
After I got done reading the amazing indictment of Sussmann, I wrote that for his far more well known coworker and supervisor at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias, getting indicted also was a foregone conclusion. The only question up in the air is whether or not Durham can get Elias to flip before he charges him with criminal conspiracy.
Benny Johnson did a fantastic video on Facebook where he covered most of the recent developments of the Special Counsel’s investigation.
The only mistake Benny seems to make in the video [assuming I correctly understood what he said, which is always questionable when it comes to being deaf and using artificial captioning] is that he seems to think these documents are new documents that Durham just got his hands on. Like Durham now has to go through them all to find out what’s in them.
That’s not the case.
This is the discovery phase of the pre-trial schedule, so what’s happening in the filing is that Durham is keeping the judge appraised of how many documents the Special Counsel’s office is turning over to Sussmann and his lawyers.
As Rowan Scarborough reports at The Washington Times:
Mr. Durham’s filing discloses new anecdotal material amid his principal goal of updating the judge on prosecution evidence turned over to Mr. Sussmann. Mr. Durham brags about all the stuff: over 130,000 pages with 492,000 still to come. Some papers carry the intelligence community’s highest classifications, meaning they deal with top secret sources and collection methods.
Durham already had all this stuff. But he’s now showing it to Sussmann as part of the discovery process. That’s important, just how much documentary evidence that Durham is literally burying Sussmann and his lawyers with as discovery continues in the case.
Why No Criminal Conspiracy Charges Yet When Durham Has Extensively Mapped Out The Conspiracy In Sussmann’s Indictment?
It’s true that while he extensively mapped out how this criminal conspiracy was set up, who was involved in it, what steps they took in forming the Trump/Russia hoaxes centered on the Alfa Bank and the Steele Dossier, Durham thus far has only charged Sussmann with making false statements to James Baker and the FBI. He did not charge Sussmann or anyone else yet for the conspiracy to create these two big fake Trump/Russia hoaxes and then hand them off to federal agencies.
Some people take this to mean Durham never intends charge any of these people he’s revealed who were intimately involved in the criminal conspiracy he’s clearly delineated in his speaking indictment of Sussmann.
But that’s a very bad take in my estimation. Because absolutely nothing is preventing Durham from dropping any conspiracy charges on the conspirators. But once you do that, behind the scenes negotiations are pretty much over when you’ve publicly charged someone with being a member of a criminal conspiracy.
Holding back the conspiracy charges for now is part of the negotiating process. It seems to me that Durham thinks he can get even more of the lower level members of the criminal conspiracy to flip on their superiors if he goes about it in this fashion.
The strategy seems to have certainly worked on Sussmann, who even as he is supposedly preparing to go to trial after pleading “not guilty” to the false statement charge, he is clearly shown volunteering information to the Special Counsel’s office that revealed the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General [OIG] was trying to hide key discovery evidence from Durham. I wrote about that in my column last week, which can you find here.
Any other agency that gets a request from Durham or a subpoena for documentary evidence from one of the grand juries his office is running that might be tempted to try to hide things from him just had a very loud shot fired across their bow. They had better have paid attention to it.
Sussmann volunteered to Durham that the OIG discovery wasn’t complete, and then Baker very likely confirmed he’d handed over two of his phones to the OIG back in 2017. See the problem with attempting to hide stuff from Durham? What confidence could anyone have that Durham won’t have a flipped Spygate plotter hand him what you’re trying to hide from him?
Sussmann Flipping Gives Durham Everything On Elias’ Role In The Alfa Bank Hoax
Sussmann leads straight to Marc Elias. If Durham can flip Elias, who would Elias lead to? Well that’s kind of obvious, given the documentary evidence made public thus far.
From the billing records and text messages, phone calls and emails that were displayed in Sussmann’s indictment, it’s clear Elias was in regular and consistent communication with top people inside the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign while the Alfa Bank and Steele Dossier hoaxes were being constructed and then shopped to both news media outlets and federal agencies.
Durham could be engaged in a campaign to get Elias to flip. Part of that pressure to flip and cooperate would be holding that criminal conspiracy charge over Elias’ head.
Understanding The Strategy In Sussmann’s Early Indictment
People need to remember that Michael Sussmann can change his plea from “Not Guilty” to “Guilty” at any time up to and including the jury trial, if the jury has not yet rendered a verdict.
They also need to remember that a prosecutor is not **required** to lay out all the evidence he or she has against a target in the indictment. The prosecutor only needs to show the grand jury a **sufficient amount of evidence** to sustain a criminal charge.
As a matter of strategy, many defense lawyers don’t want to have their client accept a plea bargain **before** they see the state’s entire case. The indictment often only gives a brief preview or teaser of the prosecution’s case against the defendant.
You do not get to see **all** of the evidence the state has against your client if he pleads guilty right after being indicted and the case never gets scheduled for trial and therefore never enters discovery.
The **only** way you get to discovery so you can exhaustively look over all the prosecution’s evidence is if your client pleads “Not Guilty”, the judge schedules the trial, and then the prosecution must meet all of it’s discovery obligations.
Because of this strategy, you will often see defendants who pled “Not Guilty” to get to discovery go ahead and change their plea to “Guilty” before the trial, after their legal counsel got to see the entire case the state had built and gave their client their advice.
Of course, if the defendant’s lawyers looked over the prosecution’s case and they weren’t impressed with it and told their client it was beatable, that’s when you see the “Not Guilty” plea remain unchanged and so the case proceeds to trial.
Sussmann As The Canary In The Coal Mine
Sussmann is functioning as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for all the other plotters involved in the criminal conspiracy to feed hoaxes to federal agencies. The others are waiting for Sussmann to show them what Durham has got. What Sussmann signals them is going to heavily determine what they decide to do themselves.
Even though at present Sussmann is only charged with making a false statement to a particular federal official, the discovery Durham is burying Sussmann with is not limited to just the lie Sussmann told to Baker.
Durham is burying Sussmann under all the extensive and exhaustive evidence that maps out exactly how he & Elias, Rodney Joffe and the Georgia Tech Researchers, and top Clinton campaign officials concocted the Alfa Bank hoax together and then plotted to feed it to the news media and federal agents.
The document mountain is going to prove this was not a bottom-up conspiracy, with Joffe & Co. approaching Perkins Coie with the idea, and then Sussmann/Elias sold the Clinton campaign on it. That’s backwards. This was a top-down conspiracy. People in the Clinton campaign **contracted** with political operatives inside Perkins Coie and at Fusion GPS to manufacture fake Trump/Russia hoaxes.
And it’s very likely that the mountain of discovery Durham is handing over to Sussmann is not limited to just the Alfa Bank hoax. The cross-pollination that went on amongst the Clinton campaign, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS over both of the hoaxes these same people were involved in manufacturing during the 2016 campaign season was very extensive.
It must be remembered that Marc Elias wasn’t just running the Alfa Bank hoax from his office at Perkins Coie, hiring Joffe and the GT researchers and then supervising Sussmann as he made his contacts with the media and federal agents at the FBI and the CIA.
Elias **also** hired Fusion GPS to do the opposition research that led to the creation of that **other** big Trump/Russia hoax: the Steele Dossier.
The billing records for the Alfa Bank hoax are key in the Sussmann indictment. They prove both Elias and Sussmann were keeping detailed records in order to bill the Clinton campaign for their time and efforts in creating that particular hoax.
Want to bet that Elias was also keeping extensive records where he was both billing top Clinton campaign personnel and keeping them up-to-date on Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele’s activities as they created the fake dossier and then tried to get both media reporters and federal officials to take it from them?
These people at Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS were being paid millions of dollars of the Hillary Clinton Campaign for President’s money for this work they were doing. You can be sure the campaign people were taking effort to make sure they were getting their money’s worth. And that these political operatives cashing these huge campaign checks were eager to prove they were worth it.
Imagine what happens if during the discovery for the Sussmann trial, Durham drops into Sussmann’s lap detailed billing records, emails, text messages and memoranda that show Elias was fully in on the Steele Dossier hoax from the beginning, carefully keeping records about how the fake dossier was constructed and then shopped to media outlets and the FBI so he could bill the Clinton campaign for it?
That’s brings up the main question nobody seems to be asking:
Is Sussmann Sharing The Discovery He’s Been Getting?
Every other individual involved in the creation of both these Trump/Russia hoaxes would be **frantic** to see what Durham has been giving to Sussmann in discovery.
Is Sussmann being a team player with his former conspirators? Is he sharing? Or is he keeping it all to himself?
To help apply maximum pressure to other conspirators, I wouldn’t be surprised if Durham expects Sussmann to run and give the others involved a heads up on what the SCO has on those who were involved in both hoaxes.
Sussmann could even be making pitches himself to Elias and others to cooperate.
In a RICO case - which is certainly what Durham appears to be building - an early indicted conspirator who has been terrified into cooperating by being shown the full awful extent of the evidence the prosecutor has being sent to others involved to try to convince them to flip also is a regular feature of such investigations. So this speculation is not as far-fetched as it might sound to some.
I’ll note that Durham’s filing says he’s “only” given Sussmann and his legal counsel around 130,000 pages so far, with another 492,000 still to come. Whatever was in that 130k initial discovery dump, there was enough in it to apparently light a fire under Sussmann’s ass and cause a ‘come to Jesus’ moment for him.
Because a subsequent filing shows Sussmann volunteering key discovery info to Durham in his own case, something he wouldn’t be doing if wasn’t cooperating. If he’s not cooperating, it’s actually in Sussmann’s interest to hope Durham never finds out about his meeting with Horowitz, so he can use that after the trial to get Durham in trouble and get a mistrial for a big honking discovery violation.
Likewise, Baker would zip his lip about the two phones he gave to the OIG back in 2017 if he wasn’t cooperating with the SCO. Since he’s slated to be called as a witness for the prosecution if Sussmann’s case does indeed go to trial, whether or not Baker is cooperating with the SCO is foregone conclusion. The only question is the extent of the cooperation.
As in a game of musical chairs, the music eventually stops - and anyone found without a place to sit is the loser. The big question for any Spygate plotters currently scrambling to make a deal now that they likely have gotten a preview at last of just how much evidence Durham has against them is this: can they get their deal done before the music ends?
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