Special counsel John Durham is reportedly seeking the indictment of attorney Michael Sussmann, who was allegedly connected to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, on charges of lying to the FBI.
Sussman, whose firm Perkins Coie has previously represented the Democratic National Committee, is facing incitement for making false claims when raising concerns over computer servers linked to the Trump Organization were in convert communications with a Russian bank.
“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.”
Speaking to The New York Times, Sussmann’s lawyers said they expect their client to be indicted and claim that he is innocent. Durham will need to bring the charges forward in the next couple of days due to a five-year statute of limitations.
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 is reported to have found that during a 2016 meeting, Sussman informed Baker that he was not representing any clients seeking out the meeting. Sussman contradicted himself at a 2017 deposition before Congress when he testified that he sought the meeting on behalf of an unnamed client — a cybersecurity specialist.
“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,” the report added. “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.”