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Clinton lawyer charged with lying to FBI during Trump-Russia inquiry

Clinton lawyer charged with lying to FBI during Trump-Russia inquiry

An attorney who represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was indicted on Thursday for lying to the FBI.

The development was part of special counsel John Durham’s ongoing examination of the origins of the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and former US president Donald Trump’s election campaign.

Michael Sussmann, a partner with Perkins Coie who also represented the Democratic National Committee in connection with Russia’s hack of the organization, is accused of making false statements during a 19 September 2016, meeting with the then FBI general counsel, James Baker.

This marks the second criminal case that Durham has filed since the former US attorney general, William Barr, tapped him in 2019 to investigate the investigators – the US officials who scrutinized the Trump-Russia contacts.

Trump, a Republican, portrayed the 2016 FBI investigation as part of a witch-hunt against him.

After Joe Biden took office, Durham was allowed to stay on as special counsel and continue his work.

In the indictment, Sussmann is accused of falsely telling Baker that he did not represent any client when he met him to give the FBI white papers and other data files containing evidence of questionable cyber links between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank.

The indictment alleges that in fact Sussmann had turned over this information not as a “good citizen” but rather, as an attorney representing a US technology executive, an internet company and Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Attorneys for Sussmann were expected to deny that he lied.

The indictment lays bare the wide-ranging and evolving nature of Durham’s investigation.

In addition to having scrutinized the activities of FBI and CIA officials during the early days of the Russia investigation, it has also looked at the behavior of private individuals like Sussman who provided the US government with information as it scrambled to determine whether Trump associates were coordinating with Russia to tip the 2016 election’s outcome.

Sussmann is a former federal prosecutor who specializes in cybersecurity.

Sussmann’s lawyers, Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth, maintain he is a highly respected national security lawyer who has worked in the justice department under both Republican and Democratic administrations and they were confident he would prevail and “vindicate his good name”, adding: “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.”


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