In other news from the ongoing Michael Sussmann trial, there was testimony from former FBI official Bill Priestap.
In September of 2016, Priestap was serving as the FBI’s Assistant Director of Counterintelligence. Priestap was responsible for approving the “Crossfire Hurricane” operation that claimed to look into supposed links between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. He also made the decision not to provide defensive briefings to the Trump campaign, and as Peter Strzok’s supervisor, was responsible for approving the use of “confidential human sources,” such as Stefan Halper, against Donald Trump.
In testimony last week, according to reporting on the Techno Fog substack, former FBI general counsel James Baker explained that he had spoken to Priestap about meeting with Michael Sussmann, and “repeated to Mr. Priestap that Michael had said that he was not there on behalf of a particular client, that he was there as a citizen, as a—essentially as a human source of information, confidential source.”
In other words, the fact that Sussmann was acting in the interests of the Clinton campaign was never raised or even mooted as a plausible scenario. During the trial yesterday, Priestap was shown the notes he jotted down following his meeting with Baker, in which Priestap wrote that Sussmann was “not doing this for any client.”
Under examination, Priestap also conceded that the investigation into supposed links between Alfa-Bank and the Trump Organization was under his purview.
“Based on your experience,” Priestap was asked, “if Mr. Sussmann had brought these allegations to the FBI on behalf of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, would that have mattered to the FBI?”
“Again, the—somebody—anybody bringing information to the FBI, we’re interested—the FBI is interested in knowing the motivation of the person providing the information,” Priestap replied.
But under further questioning, Priestap revealed that he didn’t remember meeting with James Baker, nor why he wrote those notes about Sussmann not acting on behalf of the Clinton camp.
“Do you remember anything more about why you wrote that down?” he was asked.
“I do not,” Priestap answered. When pressed about remembering anything about the context of those notes, Priestap again denied any memory of it.
Former FBI Asst Counterintelligence Director Bill Priestap doesn’t recall taking notes of his conversation with James Baker after Baker received data, documents from Sussmann, doesn’t recall context of the notes, or specifics amid Crossfire Hurricane probe. #SussmannTrial
— John Haughey (@JFHaughey58) May 23, 2022
But the more interesting part of Priestap’s testimony was when Sussmann’s counsel showed him blockbuster messages from the FBI’s internal messaging system. In these messages, Priestap talked about how excited the FBI’s top brass, which included then FBI director James Comey and Andrew McCabe, were about pursuing the false allegations of a connection between Trump and Alfa-Bank.
“Okay,” Sussmann’s counsel said in the cross-examination, according to transcripts obtained by Techno Fog, “[s]o this Link is a chain between Joseph Pientka, who you mentioned a moment ago is that Washington field agent, and Curtis Heide, the Chicago agent you mentioned. And this says, ‘People on the 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this server.'”
Now, this is the first time anyone’s hearing about the Alfa-Bank hoax being pushed by the top leadership at the FBI. Nevertheless, it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, particularly as the investigation into General Michael Flynn was initiated and kept alive “from the top down,” according to earlier testimony from FBI agent William Barnett.
The evidence that these investigations into Trump were politically motivated, rather than proceeding organically from the actual facts in the case, is mounting. So stay tuned to see what other juicy tidbits materialize from the Sussmann trial.
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