New evidence against Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, Michael Sussmann has been revealed by Special Counsel John Durham that may bolster Durham’s case against a Democratic-linked lawyer accused of lying to the F.B.I. at a September 2016 meeting about Donald J. Trump’s possible ties to Russia.
During the court filing on Monday, Durham released a 2016 exchange between Sussman and FBI counsel James Baker in which the former asks the agent for a meeting the night before their face-to-face. That text, dated Sept. 18, 2016, reportedly says:
“Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availibilty for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”
Just The News also reported that Durham’s team are plans to use hat test, particularly the part where he says he’s on his own, to prove that he lied. In their words from a recent motion:
“The defendant lied in that meeting, falsely stating to the General Counsel that he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client. In fact, the defendant had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including (i) a technology executive (“Tech Executive-1”) at a U.S.-based Internet company (“Internet Company-1”), and (ii) the Clinton Campaign.”
A year later Sussmann has admitted that he approached the FBI not on his own, but on behalf of a client, that makes it proved that he did lie about it:
“We had a conversation, as lawyers do with their clients, about client 1 needs and objectives and the best course to take for a client. And so it may have been a decision that we came to together. I mean, I don’t want to imply that I was sort of directed to do something against my better judgment, or that we were in any sort of conflict.”
Sussmann’s lies only put him in a very bad position not only will his credibility in future claims be diminished but it also gives Durham proof of his case that Sussman originally claimed that he wasn’t doing so on the behalf of any client when he approached the FBI.
Up until now, they’ve attacked the allegation because Durham relied on only one witness in making it, saying:
“The Special Counsel has brought a false statement charge on the basis of a purported oral statement made over five years ago for which there is only a single witness, Mr. Baker; for which there is no recording; and for which there are no contemporaneous notes by anyone who was actually in the meeting.”
The text message will be a huge help to prove that Sussmann was in fact lying.
Sussmann’s team argues that even if Sussmann lied, the lie isn’t material. Durham disagreed on that point too. Describing why that lie is material, and thus important, Durham said:
“The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign.“