Testimony: Clinton team did not approve lawyer’s FBI meeting

May 18, 2022, 1:13 PM | Updated: 3:18 pm
Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign ...

Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, leaves federal courthouse in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022. A jury was picked Monday in the trial of a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign who is accused of lying to the FBI as it investigated potential ties between Donald Trump and Russia in 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign did not authorize a lawyer to meet with the FBI and provide information that was meant to cast suspicions on rival candidate Donald Trump and possible connections to Russia, according to trial testimony Wednesday.

Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, is charged with lying to the FBI during a meeting at which he presented the bureau’s top lawyer with data that purported to show mysterious contact between computer servers of a Russia-based bank and Trump’s company, the Trump Organization.

Prosecutors say Sussmann misled the FBI by saying he wasn’t participating in the meeting on behalf of a particular client when he was actually there on behalf of the Clinton campaign and another client, a technology executive who had provided him with the data.

But under questioning from one of Sussmann’s attorneys, Marc Elias, the campaign’s top lawyer, said Sussmann did not seek his consent to go to the FBI. Elias said neither he nor anyone else from the campaign he was aware of had authorized Sussmann to meet with the FBI.

In fact, he said he would not have supported going to the FBI because he felt the bureau had not been sufficiently aggressive in stopping ongoing leaks of Russia-hacked emails that had been stolen from the Clinton campaign, and because he viewed then-Director James Comey as having put a “thumb on the scale” against Clinton during an earlier investigation into her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

“I’m not sure I would have thought that the FBI was going to give a fair shake to anything they thought was anti-Trump or pro-Clinton,” Elias said.

The defense team’s questioning was aimed at distancing Sussmann from the Clinton campaign, and at trying to establish that he had not lied to the FBI by saying he was not representing the interests of a particular client during the Sept. 19, 2016 meeting.

At that meeting, Sussmann presented James Baker, the FBI’s then-general counsel, with computer research that he said showed potential contact between servers of Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. If proven, that information would have been significant given that the FBI at the time was investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia were coordinating to sway the outcome of the election.

But when the FBI examined the data, it found no secret backchannel and nothing suspicious.

Earlier Wednesday, prosecutors sought to link Sussmann’s work to the campaign by noting that as a lawyer in private practice he repeatedly billed the campaign for meetings and legal work.

When Baker himself testified at the end of the day, prosecutors entered into evidence a text that Sussmann had sent him the night before the meeting in which he requested a sit-down about an unspecified sensitive matter and said that he would be coming alone and not on behalf of a particular client.

Defense lawyers have told jurors that Sussmann never lied, and that it was impossible for prosecutors to prove precisely what he said because only he and Baker attended the meeting and neither of them took notes. But in presenting the text message to the jury, prosecutors are attempting to rebut any efforts by the defense to chip away at Baker’s credibility as a witness or his memory of what was said.

The case against Sussmann was brought by John Durham, the prosecutor appointed as special counsel during the Trump administration to investigate potential misconduct by government officials and others during the early days of the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential ties to the Trump campaign.

Durham has brought three criminal prosecutions, and the Sussmann case is the the first to reach trial. An earlier case against an FBI lawyer charged with altering an email ended in a plea deal in 2020, and another case against an analyst charged with lying to the FBI is pending.

_____

Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Police and other first responders work the scene where officials say dozens of people have been fou...
Associated Press

50 migrants die in trailer abandoned in San Antonio heat

Fifty migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico have died after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer in the sweltering Texas heat.
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Biden calls migrant deaths ‘horrifying and heartbreaking’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the deaths of migrants who were in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas was “horrifying and heartbreaking.” While we are still learning all the facts about what happened and the Department of Homeland Security has the lead for the investigation, initial reports are that this […]
9 hours ago
An Amtrak train which derailed after striking a dump truck is seen beyond a corn field Monday, June...
Associated Press

NTSB investigators look into fatal Missouri Amtrak accident

MENDON, Mo. (AP) — Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were in Missouri Tuesday trying to determine how an Amtrak train carrying more than 200 people slammed into a dump truck, killing two train passengers and the truck driver. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago Monday afternoon when it struck […]
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Nissan recalls about 323K SUVs; hoods can open unexpectedly

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nissan is recalling nearly 323,000 Pathfinder SUVs in the U.S. because the hoods can unexpectedly fly open and block the driver’s view. The recall covers Pathfinders from the 2013 through 2016 model years. The automaker says in documents posted Tuesday by U.S. safety regulators that dust and dirt can accumulate on the […]
9 hours ago
FILE - This Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, shows an Airbnb logo during an event in San Francisco. Airbn...
Associated Press

Airbnb makes global party ban permanent, saying it works

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Airbnb is making permanent its ban on parties at homes listed on the site for short-term rentals. The San Francisco company believes the ban has worked, saying Tuesday that reports of parties at listed properties have dropped 44% from a year ago. More than 6,600 guests were suspended last year for […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Shoppers shop at a retail store in Niles, Ill., on Feb. 19, 2022.   U.S. consumer confidence...
Associated Press

US consumer confidence slumps to lowest level in 16 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence slipped to its lowest level in 16 months as persistent inflation and rising interest rates have Americans as pessimistic as they’ve been about the future in almost a decade. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index slipped to 98.7 in June from 103.2 in May, the […]
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Testimony: Clinton team did not approve lawyer’s FBI meeting