A jury in D.C. just let Clinton Campaign-affiliated lawyer Michael Sussmann off the hook for his lies to the FBI about his connection to the Clinton Campaign when he passed the agency false information about Trump and Alfa Bank.
The New York Post, reporting on the verdict that will come as a shock and with disgust to many an American who thought the ball of accountability was finally rolling, reported that:
“A federal jury found Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Democrats including the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, not guilty of lying to the FBI when he brought them allegations against Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race. Tuesday’s verdict was a major setback for Special Counsel John Durham, who was appointed during the Trump administration and has spent three years probing whether the federal agents who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign committed wrongdoing.”
Durham, speaking about the result, said:
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service.
“I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”
The result likely came as a shock to Durham and those who have been following the case closely, as prosecutors characterized the case as “not even close” as the trial ended.
Assistant Special Counsel Jonathan Algor, for instance, framed Sussmann’s guilt as being quite obvious during his closing argument, clearly painting a picture of what Sussmann did wrong and why it was important that he lied about his connection to the Clinton Campaign, saying:
“The defendant knew that he had to hide his clients if there was any chance of getting his allegations into the FBI. It wasn’t about national security. It was about promoting opposition research against the opposition candidate Donald Trump.”
Similarly, another prosecutor was also optimistic, saying that the result wasn’t in doubt:
“There are sometimes close cases. This is not even close to a close case.”
But, as is sadly usual in cases involving the Swamp and the Clintons, the Swamp Creature was able to wiggle off of the hook, with one juror telling the Post that “The elements weren’t met,” though what element of “lying to the FBI” wasn’t met when Sussmann clearly lied to the FBI isn’t immediately obvious.
It’s perhaps most likely that the jurors determined the “materiality” element of the charge wasn’t meant, though, as Algor noted in his closing statement, it certainly seems important that Sussmann was working for Clinton and would have known that disclosure of that would have made the FBI unlikely to look into the scandalous information he was sending their way.
The Federalist‘s Margot Cleveland, noting why that might be important, said:
“Sussmann, who is in the middle of week two of his trial in a D.C. federal court, was charged last fall in a one-count indictment with lying to [FBI General Counsel James] Baker when he provided Baker two flash drives and several ‘white papers’ purporting to establish the existence of a secret communication network between the Russian-based Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization,” the story notes.
“According to prosecutors, Sussmann lied to Baker when he claimed during their September 19, 2016, meeting that he was presenting this information to help the FBI and not on behalf of any client,” the story continues. “In truth, though, the government maintains that Sussmann represented both the Clinton campaign and Joffe when he met with Baker and provided the supposed Alfa Bank intel.”
On the other hand, it could be that their evidence wasn’t strong enough, as Politico notes that “Despite the prosecution’s claims that they’ve presented an airtight case against Sussmann, the evidence that the former federal prosecutor lied is almost entirely circumstantial.“
Regardless of the reason for the “not guilty” verdict, many who were counting on this trial to lead to justice against Clinton for the Russia hoax will be sorely disappointed.