Durham prosecution argues FBI was used as ‘political tool’ to create ‘October surprise’ against Trump Durham prosecution argues FBI was used as ‘political tool’ to create ‘October surprise’ against Trump

Durham prosecution argues FBI was used as ‘political tool’ to create ‘October surprise’ against Trump

On the opening day of Michael Sussmann’s trial, the prosecution alleged the former Clinton campaign lawyer used FBI connections against Donald Trump, creating an “October surprise” for the Republican’s 2016 candidacy.

In opening arguments in the trial on Tuesday, Special Counsel John Durham’s team contended that Sussmann used the FBI as a “political tool” in order to “manipulate” the bureau heading into the 2016 presidential election in a plan that “largely succeeded” against Trump, Fox News reported.

This was mostly successful, according to the prosecution, in regard to the consequences and challenges Trump had to face during his tenuous presidential term, despite winning against Clinton, who delivered a surprisingly weak performance on election night.

Sussmann has been charged with delivering a false statement to the FBI when he promised he was not working for “any client” when he requested and attended a meeting where we showed an alleged connection between Trump and a Russian bank. Sussmann pleaded not guilty.

Deborah Brittain Shaw, a federal prosecutor, gave the prosecution’s opening, claiming this was a case about the “privilege of a lawyer who thought he could lie to the FBI without consequences; who thought that, for the powerful, normal rules didn’t apply.”

“No one should be so privileged as to have the ability to walk into the FBI and lie for political ends,” Shaw stated.

Shaw reportedly admitted quickly that federal prosecutors were aware of the proverbial elephant in the room, and referenced it carefully.

“Some people have very strong feelings about politics…about Russia; many have strong feelings about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” she said. “We are not here because these allegations involve either.”

“We are here because the FBI is our institution that shouldn’t be used as a political tool for anyone, not Republicans, not Democrats, not anyone,” Shaw continued. “A plan that used and manipulated the FBI…a plan the defendant hoped would trigger news outlets and trigger an FBI investigation.”

The prosecution also made reference to the anti-Trump dossier, which included allegations of potential collaboration between the Russian Kremlin and Trump. Perkins Coie, Sussmann’s employer at the time, is the legal firm that funded the dossier, along with the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

However, after a two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between Trump and Russia was discovered during the 2016 presidential election.

Shortly after the prosecution ended their opening arguments, Sussmann’s defense presented its opening, which came from defense attorney Michael Bosworth.

He said Sussmann, “didn’t lie to the FBI” and “wouldn’t lie to the FBI” based on his years of experience as a high profile legal figure, his connections with national security agencies, and “his character,” Fox News reported.

Bosworth requested that the jury ask themselves several questions when reviewing evidence and testimony during the upcoming trial.

“What did Sussmann actually say to the FBI?” he said. “Is what he said false? Did he intend to say something false? Did it matter? The government has to prove all of these beyond a reasonable doubt. They’re going to stumble at every turn.”

Bosworth continued, calling the charge “nonsensical.” Then, he began calling Sussmann “a good man, a family man” and an “honest man.”

Durham is expected to present a text message Sussmann sent, which allegedly made a request for the September 2016 meeting. Prosecutors referenced that text on Tuesday morning.

Trump’s Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham as special counsel in October 2020, to make sure he would be able to continue investigating, regardless of the 2020 presidential election final result or controversies.

Judge Cooper is presiding over the trial, an appointee by former President Barack Obama in 2014; he received unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate at that time.


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