As we reported earlier, the jury found former Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann not guilty of one count of lying to FBI General Counsel James Baker. Sussmann allegedly told James Baker that he wasn’t representing any client when he provided him with the debunked Alfa Bank smear alleging a connection between the Trump team and Russia.
Now, how could that be, when the evidence showed that Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for the time he was talking to Baker?
How could that be, when there was an explicit text indicating that he said he wasn’t representing any client? In the text, Sussmann said, “Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability 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.” That would appear to be the smoking gun.
Then James Baker said he likely wouldn’t have referred the case out for investigation, had he known of the Clinton connection. That would seem to prove the “materiality” requirement of the charge.
Sussmann similarly told the CIA that he wasn’t representing any client when he gave the same information to them in February 2017.
So, what was the problem here?
As we noted, there were potential questions involving the jury. Even beyond the make-up of this particular jury, you’re talking about a challenging situation potentially, with a D.C. jury that’s likely to be heavily Democratic as well. So, you start with a tough case.
But as I’ve noted in the past, there was likely to be a big problem when the judge wouldn’t allow that text to prove the charge by itself because it wasn’t part of the original indictment. The judge allowed the text as evidence toward the argument that he said he wasn’t representing anyone in the conversation with Baker. The problem was that Baker hadn’t taken any notes of his conversation and he was shaky on different parts of his memory on the subject. They had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he made that representation in the conversation. So, they were somewhat hampered, in that the text wasn’t allowed to be considered as proof of the charge.
But it’s important to point out here that, regardless of the verdict, Durham did show that the Clinton campaign was working to smear President Donald Trump with false information. You had Robby Mook admit that Hillary Clinton had okayed the smear to the media. You had a Clinton lawyer going to the FBI with that information, then charging the Clinton campaign. We knew that, but that’s now an unarguable fact that the Democrats can no longer deny. In some ways, this trial was always more about showing the greater point than it was about just the Sussmann charge.
While it’s disappointing and perhaps hurts the thought of flipping people to prove the greater question of the joint venture a little tougher, Durham still has the Danchenko case ongoing, and there is also an FBI internal investigation ongoing regarding the FBI behavior in the Russia probe. That’s important when you’re looking not just at the Clinton campaign involvement, but the actions of the FBI.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr even called the actions by the Clinton campaign “seditious,” a big term and likely one that is not lightly thrown around, in terms of the evidence.
So, while we look at this and say, once again, will Democrats ever be held responsible, there’s still more to come. The evidence did show to the world that the Clinton campaign was behind the smears that divided the nation.