John Durham, the special prosecutor appointed by former Attorney General Bill Barr in the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, has charged a lawyer who worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign, Michael Sussman.
The charge is a single felony count of making a false statement during a September 2016 meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker.
Sussman was telling the FBI of digital evidence allegedly linking computers in Trump Tower to Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Prosecutors are alleging that Sussman denied that he was representing a client when he reported the information.
Republicans were extremely interested in Sussman’s conversation with the FBI’s Baker in a partisan investigation of the Russia-Trump investigation.
In October 2018, Baker testified in a closed-door hearing that he didn’t recall whether Sussmann had represented himself as working on behalf of the Democratic Party or the Clinton campaign.
Rep Jim Jordan told Baker he found it “unbelievable” that he didn’t press Sussman for more details about the origins of the Alfa Bank information, but Baker said he wanted the information passed quickly to agents for further investigation.
Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor and cybersecurity expert, is the second defendant facing charges brought amid Durham’s long-running investigation. The first, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty to altering an email used to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
A.G. Barr’s appointment of Durham as a special counsel investigator took Durham out of the normal DOJ supervision, but when Biden took office, A.G. Merrick Garland retained the right to supervise or overrule any Durham decisions, including charges against Sussman. A spokesman for Garland’s office has not responded to a request for comment.
The Sussman case has been assigned to Judge Christopher Cooper, an appointee of President Barack Obama.