New developments in the investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion hoax have Washington buzzing with the possibility that prosecutor John Durham could be close to indicting a prominent cybersecurity lawyer with ties to Democrats.
According to a New York Times report, Durham has advised the Justice Department that he will be requesting that a grand jury bring an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who is a partner at Perkins Coie, a high-powered law firm that has represented the Democratic National Committee, for lying to the FBI.
The Times reports that Durham, who is on the clock with the five-year statute of limitations ticking down, has honed in on a September 2016 meeting between Sussmann and top FBI lawyer James A. Baker who was his client at the time of the meeting.
According to the report, Baker “is said to have told investigators that he recalled Mr. Sussmann saying that he was not meeting him on behalf of any client,” which is contradictory to what the attorney told Congress in a 2017 deposition.
“Sussmann testified that he sought the meeting on behalf of an unnamed client who was a cybersecurity expert and had helped analyze the data,” according to the Times which would appear to conflict with what he told Baker.
The meeting involved the sensational Alfa Bank story that drove the false narrative that former President Donald J. Trump was in cahoots with the Kremlin and used a secret server to communicate with Russia which was amplified by the media and anti-Trump activists, but was found to be unmerited by the FBI and didn’t even make it into special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The Times reported that “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.”
However, the Times acknowledges that an indictment is not a certainty, and Sussmann’s lawyers are confident that if he is indicted, that he will win in court.
“Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime,” they said. “Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name.”
Since his appointment by then-attorney general William Barr to probe the origins of the unprecedented effort to take down a duly elected president by deep state elements loyal to former President Barack Obama, Durham has been a mysterious figure, rarely making news while disappointing many who expected a blizzard of indictments.
Trump himself has frequently expressed exasperation with the glacial pace of the ongoing probe, wondering “Where’s Durham?” as he seeks vindication after the witch hunt that undermined his ability to govern and allowed his political enemies to waste vast amounts of government resources with inquisitions that ultimately came up empty.
He may now have an answer to the question.
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