The ongoing – yet seemingly unproductive – probe being conducted by Special Counsel John Durham into the origins of the Trump–Russia collusion probe finally yielded a second indictment on Thursday, as news emerged that Clinton-connected attorney Michael Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI in 2016, according to The Hill.
As alleged in the indictment documents, Sussman, employed by the Democrat-tied Perkins Coie law firm, made misrepresentations about the identity of his client when he went to the FBI with supposed evidence of a connection between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Federal prosecutors now claim that at the time he brought the information forward, Sussmann said, according to the New York Post, he was not working on behalf of any particular client and was just trying to be a “good citizen,” but the truth was that he was engaged in representation of a yet-to-be-named tech executive as well as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The information presented to the FBI by Sussmann was reported by mainstream outlets prior to the 2016 election, though subsequent review of the information by tech authorities revealed that the digital fingerprints the attorney believed were so significant were in fact the product of junk sales-related email communications.
Even so, as the Associated Press reports, Clinton campaign operatives ran with the story that the Trump Organization had supposedly nefarious ties to Alfa Bank, partners of which are closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and attempted to ensure that it would lead to further investigation of her political rival.
Further, according to the indictment, “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.”
In response to the charge of lying to the FBI, Sussmann’s own attorneys issued a statement saying, “Michael Sussmann was indicted today because of politics, not facts. The Special Counsel appears to be using this indictment to advance a theory he has chosen not to actually charge.”
Foreshadowing Sussmann’s Friday plea of not-guilty, the attorneys added, “This case represents the opposite of everything the Department of Justice is supposed to stand for. Mr. Sussmann will fight this baseless and politically-inspired prosecution.”
Sussmann was released on his own recognizance, according to Fox News, and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Whether this case will lead to information resulting in additional indictments related to the Russia collusion hoax, only time will tell.