Let me start by acknowledging the legitimate skepticism of many Gateway Pundit commentators that any justice will come out of John Durham’s work. You have been promised the moon in the past and instead received a flaming bag of dog poop.
But let’s accept the fact that yesterday’s news that DNC lawyer Michael Sussmann was going to be indicted turned out to be true. Charlie Brown got to kick the football this time.
So what does this mean? Is it a meaningless gesture or the first domino to fall in a line of dominoes? I think this is just the first domino to fall and that others will come. I base this on what the indictment says.
If you have the time, please read the indictment (here).
Durham’s indictment of Sussmann lays out the foundation of a conspiracy. Michael Sussman was indicted for lying to the FBI about the source of information he gave the Bureau. He claimed he got it independently. He did not. It was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and her campaign. The indictment essentially charges Sussmann with sending the FBI on a wild goose chase:
The FBI had, in fact, initiated an investigation of these allegations in response to a meeting that MICHAEL A. SUSSMANN, the defendant herein– a lawyer at a major international law firm (“ Law Firm -1”, i.e. Perkins Coie) – requested and held with the FBI General Counsel on or about September 19, 2016 at FBI Headquarters in the District of Columbia. SUSSMANN provided to the FBI General Counsel three “ white papers” along with data files allegedly containing evidence supporting the existence of this purported secret communications channel.
During the meeting, SUSSMANN lied about the capacity in which he was
providing the allega to the FBI Specifically, SUSSMANN stated falsely that he was not doing his work on the aforementioned allegations “ any client,” which led the FBI General Counsel to understand that SUSSMANN was acting as a good citizen merely passing along information , not as a paid advocate or political operative . In fact, and as alleged in further detail below, this statement was intentionally false and misleading because, in assembling and conveying these allegations, SUSSMANN acted on behalf of specific clients, namely, ( i ) a U.S. technology industry executive (“ Tech Executive- 1”) at a U.S. Internet company “Internet Company”) , and ( ii) the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign (the “Clinton Campaign”).
That “Tech Executive” and the Hillary Clinton Campaign are now possible targets. The critical question is whether or not Sussmann was acting on his own. The indictment states he was acting at the behest of the Tech Executive and Hillary. It would be prosecutorial incompetence if they had not already be interviewed and evidence collected against them.
Paragraph 6 of the indictment gives a strong indication of how Durham and this team view Sussmann’s lie:
Had the FBI uncovered the origins of the relevant data and analysis, and as alleged below, it might have learned, among other things , that ( i ) in compiling and analyzing the Russian Bank- 1 allegations, Tech Executive- 1 had exploited his access to non-public data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump; ( ii) in furtherance of these efforts, Tech Executive- 1 had enlisted, and was continuing to enlist, the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract ; and ( ) SUSSMANN , Tech Executive, and Law Firm- 1 had coordinated, and were continuing to coordinate, with representatives and agents of the Clinton Campaign with regard to the data and written materials that SUSSMANN gave to the FBI and the media.
First, pay close attention to the indictment’s claim that “non public data” from a “federal government research contract” was being used to bait the FBI. I believe that is a criminal act. Second, the indictment makes it very clear that Sussmann, the Tech Executive and Perkins Coie did not just commit one act of conspiracy. Nope. They were “continuing to co-ordinate with representatives and agents of the Clinton Campaign.” This means it was not just one person working on the Clinton Campaign. It was many people.
The Tech Executive is in big trouble. He was using “non-public” data that was obtained from a Federal government research contract. This may refer to the searches flagged by NSA Director at the time, Mike Rogers, who acted to shutdown the access once he learned that “contractors” were conducting illegal searches.
Paragraph 20g of the indictment states that the Tech Executive was communicating with Fusion GPS in August 2016 regarding the Alfa Bank scam. The next paragraph in the indictment also implicates Perkins Coie’s Marc Elias in the plot:
As alleged in further detail below, in or around the same time period – and in furtherance of his efforts with SUSSMANN and Campaign Lawyer-1 to disseminate allegations regarding Trump – Tech Executive- 1 used his access at multiple organizations to gather and mine public and non-public Internet data regarding Trump and his associates, with the goal of creating a “ narrative” regarding the candidate’s ties to Russia.
Prosecutor Durham reiterates that “non-public” Internet data was being used to create a lie about Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
The indictment goes into great detail about the Tech Executive’s efforts to gather information from two other internet companies. One of these companies was initially unwilling to do the Tech Exec’s bidding but ultimately caved:
The aforementioned individual and other personnel at Internet Company- 3 were uncomfortable regarding this tasking from Tech Executive- 1 because they believed that using the companies data in this manner was inappropriate. They complied with the tasking, however, because Tech Executive- 1 was a powerful figure at both companies.
In connection with this tasking, Tech Executive- 1 emailed to Internet Company-3 personnel a five-page document (the “ Trump Associates List listing six associates of Trump and a purported U.S.-based lobbyist for Russian Bank- 1 who was also discussed in written materials prepared by the U.S. Investigative Firm that SUSSMANN would later provide to the FBI General Counsel The Trump Associates List contained detailed personal information for these individuals, including, for example, their names, home addresses, personal email addresses, business names , business websites and email domains , suspected IP addresses for those domains, and information pertaining to the spouse of one of these associates. Tech Executive- 1 directed that these individuals should be a focus of Internet Company- 3’s data queries and analysis.
This paragraph strongly implicates the illegal use of the NSA databases. I do not think that Durham is just mentioning this for color. It is far more serious. He is laying the predicate for further charges. For now, the FBI and DOJ executives involved in the plot to feed the narrative about Trump and Russia are not in the cross hairs. I know that most of the readers of this blog believe correctly that they should be. It remains to be seen.
For now, based on this indictment, I expect we will see indictments of the Tech Executive, Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson, former Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias and at least two people from the Clinton Campaign. At this point, Durham is making that case that those people were responsible for “misleading” the FBI. But it begs the question, is the FBI really so stupid and gullible that they would blindly accept bullshit without checking it out first?
I will provide more analysis tomorrow.