A new report says that a lawyer with ties to the Democratic Party will soon be indicted for lying to the FBI as part of the investigation launched in 2019 by federal prosecutor John Durham, who was appointed during the Trump administration to investigate the origins of the FBI probe into former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Claims about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia blossomed into the long-running investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, which in the end ruled there had been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Michael Sussmann, a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm who represented the Democratic National Committee, will face indictment for allegedly lying to the FBI concerning who he was representing when he met with agents in 2016 to spark the bureau’s interest in investigating links between the Trump campaign and a Russian bank.
The Times, relying on sources it did not name, said the core issue is whether Sussman was working for the Clinton campaign when he sought to dish dirt on the Trump campaign.
Trump has long maintained that the campaign of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton sought to manipulate Obama-era intelligence agencies into investigating Trump for political purposes.
Sussmann’s lawyers, Sean M. Berkowitz and Michael S. Bosworth of Latham & Watkins, issued a statement to the Times.
“Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime,” they said. “Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name.”
John Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation, will ask a grand jury to indict Michael Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity lawyer, on a charge of making a false statement to the FBI. https://t.co/QYP1cVwZRZ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 16, 2021
The Times report said the case centers around a Sept. 19, 2016, meeting between Sussman and James A. Baker, a top attorney at the FBI at the time.
The report said Durham is up against the statute of limitations for the alleged crime, forcing an indictment to come soon or not at all.
Although Baker has said Sussman told him he was not meeting with Baker on behalf of a client, Sussmann later told Congress he was conducting the meeting on behalf of an unnamed client, the report said.
The Times said billing records Durham obtained from Perkins Coie show that Sussman billed the Clinton campaign for most of the time devoted to issues related to Russia’s Alfa Bank, but not specifically the meeting with Baker.
Perkins Coie has been linked to the Russia controversy before. Marc Elias, formerly of the firm, was the lead attorney for the Clinton campaign at the time and hired the political research firm Fusion GPS, an action that resulted in a now-discredited dossier of allegations against Trump.
The Times said that it has concluded, based upon its research, that Durham “has been pursuing a theory that the Clinton campaign used Perkins Coie to submit dubious information to the F.B.I. about Russia and Mr. Trump in an effort to gin up investigative activity to hurt his 2016 campaign.”
Since leaving office, Trump has repeatedly issued public statements questioning the progress of Durham’s investigation.
Although the investigation was allowed to continue in the Biden administration, its long-term future is unclear.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.