Chuck Ross, DCNF
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to hand over documents related to a former FBI lawyer’s meeting during the 2016 campaign with an attorney that represented the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.
The meeting was revealed during a congressional deposition that former FBI general counsel James Baker gave on Oct. 3. Baker told lawmakers that in September 2016 he met with Michael Sussmann, a partner at Perkins Coie.
As the lead law firm for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, Perkins Coie hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Sources familiar with Baker’s testimony say he testified that Sussmann provided him with documents related to Russian hacking of Democrats. He also testified that the meeting was unusual.
Republican lawmakers have questioned why Baker was meeting with a top Democratic lawyer at a crucial point in the campaign. Baker was interviewed as part of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe, as well as the Steele dossier.
Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, is also asking Wray for FBI notes of interviews, known as 302s, conducted with Bruce Ohr, a Department of Justice official who met numerous times before and after the election with Steele. Ohr’s wife also worked for Fusion GPS while the firm was investigating President Donald Trump.
“To better understand the FBI’s interactions with these two individuals, I request that you produce all communications and documents, including the FD-302s, memorializing the FBI’s communications with Michael Sussmann and Bruce Ohr,” Johnson, a Republican, wrote.
A spokesman for Perkins Coie told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Oct. 4 that Sussmann’s meeting with Baker was on behalf of a client other than the Clinton campaign or DNC.
“Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Michael Sussmann served as a cybercrime prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice during both Republican and Democratic administrations. As a result, Sussmann is regularly retained by clients with complex cybersecurity matters,” the spokesman said. “When Sussmann met with Mr. Baker on behalf of a client, it was not connected to the firm’s representation of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, the DNC or any Political Law Group client.”
Despite that claim, there is other evidence that Sussmann provided Baker with information that directly involved the Trump campaign.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence noted in a report released on April 27 that a person now known to be Sussmann told Baker in September 2016 about possible links between the computer servers of the Russian bank Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. Sussmann shared the same information with journalist Franklin Foer, who wrote an anti-Trump article on the topic on Oct. 31, 2016.
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