Highlights From The Clinton Lawyer Trial:

By Darren Nagel | Friday, 20 May 2022 16:45
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The FBI’s former general counsel, whom Michael Sussmann has been accused of lying to, shed light on their connection as he took the stand Wednesday to launch his key testimony in special counsel John Durham’s case against the Democratic cybersecurity lawyer.

Sussmann has been accused of hiding his clients, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe, from James Baker when he presented since-debunked allegations of a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank during a September 2016 meeting.

Baker testified Wednesday that Sussmann “sent me a text on my personal phone seeking to set up a meeting with me” the day before their actual meeting.

“Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” Sussmann texted Baker. “Do you have availability 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.”

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Durham has claimed that this reveals that Sussmann didn’t just lie about not having a client during their meeting but that he also put that lie in writing the night before.

The meeting occurred on September 19, 2016.

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Baker, who in 2016 was serving as the FBI’s top lawyer under then-director James Comey, left the FBI in 2018 and went on to work with Lawfare, a national security blog affiliated with the Brookings Institution, whose editor-in-chief is Comey’s friend Benjamin Wittes. Before entering Twitter, Baker also worked for the R Street Institute and as a CNN legal analyst, where he is currently the deputy general counsel and Vice President of legal.

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Sussmann, who also helped the Democratic National Committee handle its response to the 2016 hack, denied wrongdoing, pleaded not guilty, and unsuccessfully called on the judge to dismiss the case, even relying partly on legal analysis by fired FBI agent Peter Strzok.

On Wednesday, Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked when Baker found this text, and he said it was only “a few months ago” in March, located in response to a request from the government. Baker said Durham asked him to look for emails or other communications with Sussmann because of an obligation to pass the information along to the defense. Baker said he downloaded messages from the cloud and that this message was the first one from Sussmann that popped up.

When asked why he hadn't found the text earlier, Baker replied, “I’m not out to get Michael. This is not my investigation. This is your investigation. … I had not recalled that he had texted me until I saw this text in March.”

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