Special counsel John Durham is reportedly expected to indict attorney Michael Sussmann, who was allegedly connected to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, for allegedly lying to the FBI during a meeting about Trump-Russia matters.
“The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016,” The New York Times reported. “Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies.”
Sussmann’s lawyers told The New York Times that they expect their client to be indicted and claim that he is innocent. Durham will have to bring the charges in the next couple of days due to a five-year statute of limitations on such cases.
In the meeting with James Baker, “Sussmann relayed data and analysis from cybersecurity researchers who thought that odd internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution,” The New York Times reported. “The F.B.I. eventually decided those concerns had no merit. The special counsel who later took over the Russia investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, ignored the matter in his final report.”
Durham reportedly found that Sussmann told Baker during the meeting in 2016 that he was not representing any client when he sought the meeting. However, in a 2017 deposition before Congress, Sussmann testified that he sought the meeting on behalf of an unnamed client who specializes in cybersecurity.
“Moreover, internal billing records Mr. Durham is said to have obtained from Perkins Coie are said to show that when Mr. Sussmann logged certain hours as working on the Alfa Bank matter — though not the meeting with Mr. Baker — he billed the time to Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign,” the report continued. “In their attempt to head off any indictment, Mr. Sussmann’s lawyers are said to have insisted that their client was representing the cybersecurity expert he mentioned to Congress and was not there on behalf of or at the direction of the Clinton campaign. They are also said to have argued that the billing records are misleading because Mr. Sussmann was not charging his client for work on the Alfa Bank matter, but needed to show internally that he was working on something. He was discussing the matter with Mr. Elias and the campaign paid a flat monthly retainer to the firm, so Mr. Sussmann’s hours did not result in any additional charges, they said.”
The report said that Durham’s actions lead outsiders to believe that he is pursuing the theory that the Clinton campaign used Perkins Coie to submit suspicious information to the FBI about Trump and Russia to hurt his campaign.
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.