A DC jury found Michael Sussmann not guilty, and with that verdict, John Durham’s investigation into the infamous Russian collusion scandal is officially on life support. The result is not, however, quite the exoneration portrayed by the media.
Sussmann was accused of lying to the FBI about who he was working for when he provided to the agency incriminating information about Donald Trump’s alleged connections to Russia. He stated clearly that he was not doing so while representing a client. Of key importance to the case was whether the falsehood was “material” – that is, whether it influenced the bureau in its decision to investigate the claims further. Special Counsel Durham’s grand jury charged that “Sussmann’s lie was material because, among other reasons, Sussmann’s false statement misled the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work and deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to assess and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of Sussmann’s clients.”
The jury found that Sussmann’s declarations to the FBI were not “material” in prompting an investigation into Donald Trump, and therefore, the elements of the alleged crime were not satisfied.
That Sussmann was working for the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign is not disputed. Neither is the fact that Hillary Clinton knew of the information, personally participated in its dissemination, and was happy for it to be spread to media outlets Also no longer disputed is that the FBI and DOJ found the allegations and information about Trump to be unconvincing. The jury, however, was not tasked with examining all of these issues.
Does this mean that Hillary Clinton is forever exonerated for her role in starting the Russiagate affair? And will this episode in American history forever be remembered as a time when the media and government worked hand in hand to discredit and derail a fairly won presidency?
And Just Like That, John Durham Exists Again…
The Democrat-supporting Fourth Estate has been rife with stories about the all-important court case of the year. Analysis, body language experts, combing through testimony, and doing deep-dive investigative journalism … for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. For the Sussmann trial, however, content was scarce, to say the least. In fact, numerous popular media organs weighted at least three times the number of stories in favor of a Hollywood bust-up and defamation case.
Now that Sussmann will not be facing the slammer, as if by magic, a torrent of articles has been unleashed in a brazen attempt to rescue journalistic reputations.
Naturally, many folks are upset that the verdict did not go the way they had hoped; juries are, of course, free to examine and determine evidence as they see fit. Noticeable, however, is the immediate glee with which Clinton supporters in the political sphere and the media are embracing this decision. And, more importantly, displaying faux shock that anyone would doubt the veracity of the jury decision. It is worth remembering that just a few short months ago, these same court watchers were despairing over the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. It is a special type of hypocrisy that denounces actions committed by oneself just a few months earlier.
Evidence of Note
Despite the not-guilty verdict, certain facts have been established that no amount of media naysaying can refute:
- Hillary Clinton gave the “OK” to disseminate to the press the misinformation that Sussmann had supplied to the FBI. This information included a report regarding possible connections between Donald Trump and the Russian Alfa Bank.
- The FBI knew of the connection between Michael Sussmann and the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). Jim Trainor, assistant director of the FBI Cyber Division, allowed Sussmann to edit and approve FBI statements regarding the DCCC prior to release (see here).
- The FBI and DOJ determined that no such link between Trump and Alfa Bank existed.
Liberty Nation’s Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza perhaps put it most succinctly, saying:
“This prosecution was devised to prove that FBI officials were fooled and misled by Michael Sussmann, working as an agent of Hillary Clinton. We now know that he was such an agent, and that Hillary approved the whole scheme. Jurors, however, weren’t convinced all the elements of the crime were met. Perhaps they believed the lie didn’t matter to the FBI, for instance. One thing the verdict does not do is indicate Sussman told the truth or that Hillary and her team didn’t scam the whole country with her Russia collusion conspiracy hoax.”
So is the Durham investigation finished? Probably not.
The evidence still exists, and there are many more avenues for the special counsel to follow. Perhaps what he has ultimately lost is a patient audience that has been captivated and, in many ways, expectant, of some kind of justice. But the truth, as Augustine of Hippo once said, is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.