The 27-page, detailed indictment of Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann shows special counsel John Durham is connecting dots in a much bigger scheme, according to a former federal prosecutor.
Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in the National Review that Durham has a “long game and a short game going on” in an apparent effort to sort out the Clinton campaign’s role in the origin of the now debunked Russia-collusion narrative that engulfed Donald Trump’s presidency.
McCarthy explained that Durham might have preferred to wait to indict Sussman, but he was facing a Sept. 19 deadline for the five-year statute of limitations for a federal false-statement crime.
The former assistant U.S. attorney pointed out that a one-count, false-statement charge can be alleged in a mere paragraph. So the fact that Durham wrote a highly detailed account “tells us far more about his investigation.”
Durham, McCarthy wrote, appears to be in the process of making a case for the following:
The Trump-Russia collusion narrative was essentially a fabrication of the Clinton campaign that was peddled to the FBI (among other government agencies) and to the media by agents of the Clinton campaign — particularly, its lawyers at Perkins Coie — who concealed the fact that they were quite intentionally working on the campaign’s behalf, and that they did not actually believe there was much, if anything, to the collusion narrative. It was serviceable as political dirt but would not amount to anything real for criminal or national-security purposes.
Investigative reporter John Solomon pointed out that Durham’s indictment, filed Thursday, exposes a “second leg of Hillary Clinton’s Russia-collusion dirty trick.”
Already, numerous investigations have uncovered the evidence that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, through its law firm Perkins Coie, funded the production of the infamous Steele dossier. The anti-Trump document, based on anonymous Russian sources, made lurid accusations that were debunked by the Mueller special counsel probe. Yet, the dossier was the fuel for the Russia-collusion claims, presented by the Obama FBI and Justice Department as the primary evidence in its application to spy on the Trump campaign.
The alleged “second leg” of the Clinton plan is spelled out in the Sussman indictment, writes Solomon: The lawyer was paid by the Clinton campaign to develop documents on an alleged Russia-collusion computer link to Trump and give it to FBI in the final days of the election campaign despite concerns it was a “red herring.”
In September 2016, Sussman approached the FBI claiming he was a concerned citizen who had evidence that computer communications between a server at the Alfa Bank in Russia and the Trump Tower in New York might be a secret backdoor communication system for Trump and Vladimir Putin to hijack the 2016 election. Mueller testified to Congress in 2019 that the claim “wasn’t true.”
The indictment alleges Sussmann, who had worked as a cybersecurity expert, falsely told the FBI he was a neutral source acting for the welfare of the nation. In fact, the indictment charges, he was being paid by the Clinton campaign and a tech executive “in assembling and conveying these allegations.”
Documents made public last year in “Fallout,” a book by Solomon and coauthor Seamus Bruner, show the Clinton campaign’s effort began after a campaign-funded poll in 2015 showed Hillary and Bill Clinton’s own ties to Russia were threatening her path to the presidency.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who as House Intelligence Committee chairman led early investigations that exposed the Steele dossier scheme, told Just the News that Thursday’s indictment is a significant development.
“The indictment is damning, full of shocking details showing how the Clinton campaign operatives and lawyers resorted to illegal and immoral methods to concoct false allegations against the Trump campaign and feed them to the FBI and the media,” Nunes said.
“Obviously, many more people need to face justice, but it’s gratifying to see Durham begun to unravel the web of lies and deceit that surrounded the Russian collusion hoax.”
Third leg of Hillary’s ‘dirty trick’
Solomon identifies a “third leg” of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative that developed after the failure of the bogus Steele dossier and the Alfa Bank claims.
The third leg “of the dirty trick consisted of the efforts of federal bureaucrats inside the FBI, State Department and intelligence community — many of whom disliked Trump — who managed to deceive the FISA court, the Congress and the American public, often by using leaks to news media outlets to sustain a collusion story that had fallen apart within weeks of Steele’s first approach.”
In fact, Solomon pointed out, the available evidence now shows CIA director John Brennan warned President Obama that Hillary Clinton was trying to frame Trump as a Russian colluder to distract from the controversy over her use of a private email server to transmit classified information.
“And the FBI was warned repeatedly that the main allegations in Steele’s dossier were riddled with Russian disinformation, debunked evidence and unprovable claims and came from an ex-British spy who hated Trump and was working with Clinton, all kept hidden from the FISA court for critical months.”
But the “dirty trick was allowed to fester for two years before fully being pierced in public, causing irreparable harm to the Trump presidency and tarnishing the reputation of the FBI and the intelligence community in the eyes of the courts and the public.”