Special counsel John Durham published potentially conclusive evidence in the case against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann on Monday night, showing alleged text messages the cybersecurity lawyer sent to the FBI general counsel that he wasn’t working for any client when he provided information to the bureau.
Durham’s team charged Sussmann last year with lying to the FBI when he presented information about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to then-FBI general counsel James “Jim” Baker in late 2016. Sussmann allegedly concealed that he was working for the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and tech executive Rodney Joffe when he provided the claim that the Trump Organization had a secret link with a Russian bank, which the FBI later said was not credible.
“Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” Sussmann allegedly wrote to Baker, according to the late-night court filing (pdf). “Do you have availibilty [sic] 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.”
And Baker responded: “Ok. I will find a time. What might work for you?” Sussmann then replied, “Any time but lunchtime – you name it.”
Sussmann’s lawyers previously denied that their client made such claims to Baker, saying it was made orally. However, Durham’s latest filing suggests that Sussmann may have put it in writing.
“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,” Sussmann’s lawyers said last year.
In October, meanwhile, Durham’s team wrote that prosecutors will call Baker—who now works for Twitter—to testify in the upcoming trial.
Sussmann has pleaded not guilty and said he committed no wrongdoing. His lawyers recently called on a federal judge to dismiss the case, arguing that Durham’s probe is politically motivated.
But Durham said that Sussmann’s allegedly false statement to Baker was, in fact, “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,” according to court documents.
Further, Durham asserted that Sussmann “repeatedly billed the Clinton campaign” for his work on their behalf.
Also on Monday, Sussmann’s lawyers wrote (pdf) that the discredited and controversial “Steele dossier” should not be included in the case as former UK spy Christopher Steele’s “conduct is wholly irrelevant to the charge against Mr. Sussmann,” adding that to allow “evidence regarding Mr. Steele would invite a distracting and highly prejudicial mini-trial on a fraught topic with no connection to the charge in this matter.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Sussmann’s legal team for comment.