Durham Bombshell: Prosecutor Unveils Smoking Gun FBI Text Message

Special Counsel John Durham is revealing new smoking gun evidence, a text message that shows a Clinton campaign lawyer lied to the FBI, while putting the courts on notice he is prepared to show the effort to smear Donald Trump with now-disproven Russia collusion allegations was a “conspiracy.”

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According to John Durham, documents show Democratic cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann lied to the FBI general counsel, telling the bureau that he was not working for any client when he was really working for the Clinton campaign.

Last September, Sussmann was indicted for allegedly concealing from FBI general counsel James Baker his clients – Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” known as former Neustar exec Rodney Joffe – when he promoted debunked reports of an Alfa Bank backchannel that linked the Trump Organization to Russia.

Sussmann was charged with lying in the September 2021 indictment when he claimed to provide the allegations to the FBI on behalf of no client when in fact he was doing so on behalf of Joffe and the Clinton campaign. According to Sussmann’s lawyers, there is no evidence that Sussmann lied to Baker last year.

But Durham revealed on Monday evening that Sussmann had told Baker this lie in a text the night before their meeting at the bureau on Sept. 18, 2016.

to discuss,” Sussmann texted to Baker. “Do you have availibilty [sic] for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”

“The Special Counsel has brought a false statement charge on the basis of a purported oral statement made over five years ago for which there is only a single witness, Mr. Baker; for which there is no recording; and for which there are no contemporaneous notes by anyone who was actually in the meeting,” Sussmann’s attorneys said last year.

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In October, Durham announced that Baker, the bureau’s former general counsel from 2014 to 2018, will testify in the upcoming trial.

As part of his defense, Sussmann cited a legal analysis by former FBI agent Peter Strzok for his request to dismiss the case against him.

Sussmann’s attorneys asked a federal court in March to dismiss the false statements charge against their client, arguing he had not lied to the FBI about Trump-Russia collusion allegations and, even if he had, it was not material.

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Durham rejected the idea.

“The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign,” Durham pointed out last month. “The defendant’s efforts to mislead the FBI in this manner during the height of a Presidential election season plainly could have influenced the FBI’s decision-making in any number of ways.”

Baker, Durham wrote in an indictment, spoke with FBI counterintelligence assistant director Bill Priestap after meeting with Sussmann. Priestap “took contemporaneous notes” on the Sussmann meeting, which included that Sussmann had said he wasn’t performing the work “for any client,” according to the indictment.

On Monday, Durham said Baker met with Priestap and a deputy general counsel for the FBI, and the special counsel asked the court to admit as evidence notes taken by both. According to Durham, “in communicating with these officials, the General Counsel relayed the details of his meeting with the defendant, including defendant’s specific representation that he was not there on behalf of any client.”

According to the FBI assistant director’s notes, Baker reported that Sussmann “said not doing this for any client.” According to the deputy general counsel, “No specific client but group of cyber academics talked with him about research.”

Durham asserted, “the Government moves to admit the Assistant Director’s and Deputy General Counsel’s contemporaneous handwritten notes on two grounds: as prior consistent statements by the General Counsel and as past recorded recollection as to these witnesses.”

According to Sussmann’s attorneys, he met with the FBI in September 2016 “to pass along information that raised national security concerns” and described it as “to provide a tip.” According to his attorneys, Sussmann was “charged with making a false statement about an entirely ancillary matter — about who his client may have been when he met with the FBI — which is a fact that even the Special Counsel’s own indictment fails to allege had any effect on the FBI’s decision to open an investigation.”

In response, Durham argued, “the defendant made his false statement directly to the FBI General Counsel on a matter that was anything but ancillary: namely, the existence … of attorney-client relationships that would have shed critical light on the origins of the allegations at issue.”

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“The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign,” Durham penned.

Durham alleges Sussmann also misled the CIA about the Russian bank connection during a meeting in February 2017, when he allegedly again misled the agency about who his client was. The special counsel cited Sussmann’s assertion that data he possessed “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.” Durham said there was no evidence to support Sussmann’s claim.

In the closing days of the 2016 campaign, the Clinton campaign touted the Alfa Bank allegations, but Robert Mueller, the FBI, and a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee investigation failed to uncover evidence that they were true.