Special counsel John Durham has notified the DOJ that he will be seeking an indictment against a lawyer with Hillary Clinton’s law firm of Perkins Coie.
The lawyer is Michael Sussmann and it concerns his testimony to the FBI on his accusation that Trump had backdoor communications with Alpha Bank in Russia.
Alpha bank is suing BuzzFeed for defamation over their story about a connection between the bank and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The New York Times reported:
“The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016. Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies.”
He may deny it, but billing records obtained by Durham show that Sussmann billed his time on the case to a Hillary account.
Durham is seeking the indictment for Sussmann lying to the FBI when he said his work wasn’t for any client. Lying to the FBI not only carries a possible prison sentence but would also lead to being disbarment procedures.
In the meeting with James Baker:
“Sussmann relayed data and analysis from cybersecurity researchers who thought that odd internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution. The F.B.I. eventually decided those concerns had no merit. The special counsel who later took over the Russia investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, ignored the matter in his final report.”
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“Moreover, internal billing records Mr. Durham is said to have obtained from Perkins Coie are said to show that when Mr. Sussmann logged certain hours as working on the Alfa Bank matter — though not the meeting with Mr. Baker — he billed the time to Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign,” the report continued. “In their attempt to head off any indictment, Mr. Sussmann’s lawyers are said to have insisted that their client was representing the cybersecurity expert he mentioned to Congress and was not there on behalf of or at the direction of the Clinton campaign. They are also said to have argued that the billing records are misleading because Mr. Sussmann was not charging his client for work on the Alfa Bank matter, but needed to show internally that he was working on something. He was discussing the matter with Mr. Elias and the campaign paid a flat monthly retainer to the firm, so Mr. Sussmann’s hours did not result in any additional charges, they said.”
The report said that Durham’s actions lead outsiders to believe that he is pursuing the theory that the Clinton campaign used Perkins Coie to submit suspicious information to the FBI about Trump and Russia to hurt his campaign.