An FBI agent who led the investigation into false claims about Alfa-Bank and former President Donald Trump is under investigation for allegedly hiding evidence to push forward the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into false Trump/Russia collusion claims.
Curtis Heide worked in the FBI’s Chicago office in 2016 when it was investigating claims sourced from a Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign lawyer that the Trump Organization was maintaining a secret backchannel to Russia’s Alfa-Bank. At the same time, Heide was also helping investigate allegations that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russian agents to influence the 2016 election.
Heide testified on Tuesday in the trial of Michael Sussmann, a former Perkins Coie attorney and the lawyer who fed the later debunked Alfa-Bank evidence to the FBI. Heide said that the bureau is probing him for allegedly “not identifying exculpatory information related to one of the Crossfire Hurricane investigations,” referring to an investigation into Trump campaign associate George Papadopoulos, according to The Washington Examiner.
Heide is under investigation for allegedly hiding exculpatory evidence on a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application. An FBI inspector general review of Crossfire Hurricane FISA applications completed in December 2019 identified 17 “significant” errors, inaccuracies, and omissions. The report also heavily criticized the FBI’s reliance on the unverified and discredited Steele dossier in the FISA applications.
Heide characterized the FISA application errors as “typos,” according to Politico. He denied claims that he intentionally hid evidence to further the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Heide also testified that FBI leadership barred him from interviewing the source of the Alfa-Bank evidence, Sussmann. According to an electronic communication introduced into evidence earlier, Heide and FBI agent Allison Sands initiated the investigation into the Alfa-Bank claims citing a “referral” from the Justice Department, even though the purported evidence of the Alfa-Bank connection came from Sussmann.
Sussmann is charged with lying to the FBI during a September 2016 meeting with then-FBI general counsel James Baker. Sussmann is alleged to have represented himself to Baker as a concerned citizen, even though he was seeking an audience with Baker on behalf of the Clinton campaign to try and create negative press to hurt Trump.
Sussmann denies that he misrepresented himself to Baker, and his legal team claims that even if he had, Sussmann’s alleged lie was not material to any investigative efforts that the FBI made on the Alfa-Bank claims.