Sussmann's defense faults FBI probe of Trump-Russia server claims - POLITICO

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  one month ago  •  38 comments

By:   POLITICO

Sussmann's defense faults FBI probe of Trump-Russia server claims - POLITICO
The Durham case should wrap up later this week.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Sussmann's defense faults FBI probe of Trump-Russia server claims

The Durham case should wrap up later this week.

Michael Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity attorney and former federal prosecutor, was charged with lying to the FBI during the Trump-Russia investigation. | Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo

The defense for a Democratic attorney accused of lying to the FBI hammered away Tuesday at the prosecution, arguing that the FBI probe the lawyer triggered with his Trump-Russia allegations was so shoddy and haphazard that any falsehood uttered by the attorney would not have affected the Russia investigation.

Lawyers for former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann maintain he did not lie to the FBI when he allegedly claimed he wasn't acting on behalf of any client while giving the FBI data and reports suggesting that a secret server connected to Donald Trump was in communication with another computer controlled by a Russian bank.

At the jury trial in U.S. District Court in Washington, prosecutors have argued that Sussmann's obfuscation of the fact that the allegations came from experts working for or supporting Hillary Clinton's campaign affected the way the FBI investigated the matter.

However, Sussmann's defense suggested that miscommunication, hesitation and internal bureaucracy led to FBI agents failing to try to find information they easily could have discovered about the source of the allegations.

To get a conviction in the case, prosecutors have to show beyond a reasonable doubt not only that Sussmann lied but that any false statement could have been expected to impact the FBI's investigation. Sussmann's defense suggested there were so many loose ends and internal roadblocks that prosecutors can't make that case.

FBI agent Curtis Heide testified that he and another agent tasked with running down the so-called secret server claims repeatedly asked officials at FBI headquarters for permission to interview the source of the data and "white papers" that spurred the investigation. However, those requests were rebuffed, he said.

"That made your investigation incomplete, did it not?" defense attorney Sean Berkowitz asked.

"Yes," Heide replied.

Berkowitz highlighted that the FBI made a probationary agent Heide was supervising, Allison Sands, the lead agent on the investigation even though she'd never opened a case before. The defense attorney also pointed out errors in the FBI's official opening and closing memoranda for the probe, including saying that the information about the alleged secret server came from the Justice Department.

At least a half dozen FBI employees were involved in drafting or approving the memos containing those errors, which Heide referred to as "typos."

"Not a lot of attention to detail I take it?" Berkowitz said.

"There were a couple mistakes, yes," Heide responded.

Heide said he and Sands, based in Chicago, were also kept out of the loop on where officials at FBI Headquarters were getting other tips or data relevant to the probe.

"It appears that we were getting more and more information from people who were anonymous and headquarters was not giving us the ability to go interview them," said Heide.

"Fair to say that was pretty frustrating for you?" Berkowitz asked.

"Yes, sir," the FBI agent said.

Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity attorney and former federal prosecutor, was indicted last year by a grand jury at the request of Special Counsel John Durham. Durham was appointed in 2019 by Attorney General William Barr to examine the origins of the FBI's investigation into ties between Russia and President Donald Trump.

While Sussmann's team kept reminding the jury Tuesday about slip-ups in the FBI probe, Durham's team underscored the flimsiness of the allegations.

Heide said the research done by FBI agents and computer experts concluded that the allegations about the secret server lacked merit. "Our investigation was unable to substantiate any of the allegations in the white paper," he said.

On Tuesday, Judge Christopher Cooper rejected another request by prosecutors to introduce evidence that the experts and researchers who worked on the server issue had doubts about the accuracy of their own work.

However, jurors did see an email tech executive Rodney Joffe sent to associates in September 2016 saying his goal in preparing one such white paper was "NOT to be able to say that this is, without doubt, fact, but to merely be plausible."

Heide said he would have liked to have known that because the email suggests the accompanying document "appears to be fabricated."

Sussmann's trial, now in its second week, kept to an established pattern Tuesday of offering up disclosures not directly related to the charge against the cybersecurity attorney. While on the witness stand, Heide said he and others at the FBI are the subject of an internal investigation into whether they intentionally suppressed information from a court application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The probe appears to be an outcropping of a 2018 Justice Department Inspector General investigation that found errors and omissions in FISA application related to former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Heide said he did not deliberately withhold any information and the internal investigation, by the FBI's Inspection Division, has not made a finding of wrongdoing.

Testimony for the day finished up with Jared Novick, a business associate of Joffe and the former CEO of BitVoyant, a cyber defense and intelligence company that is now called BlueVoyant. Novick testified that he received an "extremely uncommon" request from Joffe to research data ties between Trump and Russia.

Novick recalled receiving a "very nondescript PDF" that included the names of individuals, spouse information, Russian companies and affiliations, and email addresses of people connected to Trump.

"Immediately I knew it was a political request," Novick said.

Novick said the task made him "extremely uncomfortable" because it could be opposition research, so he kept the project small. He gave it the name "Crimson Rhino," because the "last thing I wanted was Donald Trump's name" on company whiteboards.

During cross examination, Berkowitz highlighted the strained relationship between Novick and Joffe. He also questioned Novick's credibility in assessing the data that the company researched in relation to Trump and Russia.

In one exchange, Novick incorrectly identified the meaning of the acronym DNS, saying he thought it stood for domain name service.

"Would it surprise you to know it actually stands for domain name system?" Berkowitz said.

"It would surprise me, yes. But I'm not a cyber expert," Novick said.

Novick admitted that he argues at times with Joffe — conceding that in 2016, he had a "challenging time" with the tech executive.

On redirect, prosecutor Jonathan Algor asked Novick who the intended audience was of the information his company compiled for the project: "It was to go to an attorney," Novick said.

The prosecution will rest its case Wednesday, with Durham paralegal Kori Arsenault serving as its summary witness. Once the defense begins arguments — on Thursday morning at the latest — Berkowitz said he plans on calling to the stand former New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau, FBI agent Tom Grasso, attorney Tashina Gauhar and "some character witnesses."


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    one month ago

So, it turns out, there were multiple simultaneous CIA and FBI investigations into Don Trump's Russian connections running concurrently in the Fall of 2016.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2  Vic Eldred    one month ago

Despite overwhelming evidence that Sussman lied to the FBI about not representing a client, Durham is facing steep hurdles in this DC trial. The judge, an Obama judge, has narrowed Durham's prosecution and allowed numerous Clinton donors, an AOC donor and somebody who's daughter plays on a team with Sussman's daughter.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    one month ago

None of which matters because another story about Trump's Russian dealings coming out in the late fall of 2016 was comparable to adding a mere fleck of chafe to a grain elevator chok full of other compromising facts regarding sleazy secretive dealings between Trump and Co and units or Vlad Putin's Russian State Intelligence Services.

Beginning by at least 2014 and continuing right up to election day in 2016 Trump was in secret talks with clandestine agents of Russian spy agencies regarding his desire to build Trump Tower Moscow.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.1    one month ago
because another story about Trump's Russian dealings coming out in the late fall of 2016 was comparable to adding a mere fleck of chafe to a grain elevator chok full of other compromising facts regarding sleazy secretive dealings between Trump and Co and units or Vlad Putin's Russian State Intelligence Services.

The story was a great lie concocted by the Clinton campaign. We now have concrete evidence of that thanks to the testimony on defense witness and former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.

As to the current trial, though some here described it as a he said/she said, Durham has 3 pieces of evidence:

1) Former F.B.I. official, James A. Baker, who in 2016 was the agency’s general counsel, was adamant that Mr. Sussmann had told him he was representing no one but himself during the meeting. “I’m 100 percent confident that he said that,” Mr. Baker said. “Michael’s a friend of mine and a colleague, and I believed it and trusted that the statement was truthful."

2) Sussmann’s assertions — which included a text message the night before that said he’d be “coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau’ —  led Baker to treat Sussmann as a confidential FBI source.

3) Bill Priestap's notes show that Baker had told him that Sussman had told him he was representing no one but himself during the meeting.

As I have noted, even with all that evidence, winning such a case in a DC Court will not be easy.

Next month Durham's case against Igor Danchenko will take place in Virginia and should be a much easier lift.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.1.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  JBB @2.1    one month ago
one of which matters because another story about Trump's Russian dealings

The Clinton apologists are now justifying lying to the FBI in order to "get Trump."

Perfect. Breaking the law doesn't matter to them. Just the interests of the party. That's it. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @2.1    one month ago
Beginning by at least 2014 and continuing right up to election day in 2016 Trump was in secret talks with clandestine agents of Russian spy agencies regarding his desire to build Trump Tower Moscow.

You have repeated this line many times.

What were the results of these investigations?

Where are the criminal indictments for Trump?

What do YOU allege Trump did illegally??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.2  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    one month ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tessylo @2.2    one month ago

Thank God for NT. We seem to be giving it a bit more coverage than the dishonest media which ran with every false rumor for 2 years.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.3  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    one month ago

That's not why.  Durham didn't have diddly to begin with!

jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.4  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    one month ago

Personal note - you should change your avatar and not be associated with such a slacker and a loafer.  All these years and he's got nothin'!  You got nothin'!

Why don't you post a story about Tucker Carlson and Hunter Biden?

jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Tessylo @2.4    one month ago

Remember when Eric Holder and Valerie Jarrett and Andrew McCabe and Alexander Vindman and about a dozen others were all definitely going to go down? Per Vic? Well, McCabe and Vindman are vindicated and have their benefits back because they were not merely innocent. Nope, they were doing the right things!

How was Hillary Clinton responsible for rafts of evidence about Trump and Co's documented ongoing relationships with agents of Russian State Intelligence Services in 2014-2016? She had not held public office since January 2013.

The history of Trump's secretive questionable sleazy dealings with Putin and other tyrants and dictators and assorted murderous strongmen goes way back. He, along with Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, was a personal butt boy of The Worst Person in the World Roy Cohn. Why do you think Trump HAD TO PARDON THEM?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.1    one month ago
Remember when Eric Holder and Valerie Jarrett and Andrew McCabe and Alexander Vindman and about a dozen others were all definitely going to go down?

No. Please tell us all about it.


 Per Vic?

PROVE IT


Well, McCabe and Vindman are vindicated and have their benefits back because they were not merely innocent. Nope, they were doing the right things!

They are in no way vindicated, just like OJ Simpson was never "vindicated."


How was Hillary Clinton responsible for rafts of evidence about Trump and Co's documented ongoing relationships with agents of Russian State Intelligence Services in 2014-2016?

Read Robby Mook's testimony.


She had not held public office since January 2013.

She was running for president.


The history of Trump's secretive questionable sleazy dealings with Putin and other tyrants and dictators and assorted murderous strongmen goes way back. 

Bull Shit! You had all the Trump-haters on the case and sitting in judgement.


He, along with Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, was a personal butt boy of The Worst Person in the World Roy Cohn. Why do you think Trump HAD TO PARDON THEM?

Because they were maliciously prosecuted by dirty progressives.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tessylo @2.4    one month ago
You got nothin'!

I got all the progressives sweating and squirming

jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.4.4  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.2    one month ago

I dont think I've ever seen anyone on an internet forum as deluded as you are on this topic. 

Mc Cabe and Comey and Vindman ae not remotely comparable to OJ Simpson , who was not only charged with murder (and unfortunately acquitted) but was also found responsible for the murders in civil court. 

Mc Cabe and Comey and Vindman havent been charged with anything. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.4.5  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JBB @2.4.1    one month ago
Alexander Vindman

It's telling that when this chump "blew the whistle" it was Lieutenant Colonel Vindman.  But after it was discovered that he altered official documents that "Lieutenant Colonel" dropped off.  

The history of Trump's secretive questionable sleazy dealings with Putin and other tyrants and dictators and assorted murderous strongmen goes way back.

Yet there have been no charges filed.  I wonder why that is.  Could it be that there isn't sufficient evidence of the bullshit you claim?  That's were my money is.  

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.6  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.3    one month ago

Squirming? One out of innumerable CIA and FBI investigations into Trump's many questionable secretive Russian connections alters not their legal predicates. Trump got himself investigated for seeking out and establishing relationships with known agents of Russian State Intelligence Services over a period of decades. We know that beginning by at least 2014 Trump was negotiating with Putin to build Trump Tower Moscow. Those talks continued right up to election day 2016.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.7  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @2.4.4    one month ago
I dont think I've ever seen anyone on an internet forum as deluded as you are

Remember: No personal attacks.


Mc Cabe and Comey and Vindman ae not remotely comparable to OJ Simpson 

Oh yes they are. None faced an unbiased jury.


Mc Cabe and Comey and Vindman havent been charged with anything. 

Did Al Capone ever get charged for murder/murders?


The left has defied our laws and our Constitution.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.8  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.6    one month ago
Mc Cabe and Comey and Vindman havent been charged with anything. 

The FBI needs no predicate for a counterintelligence investigation and that's why they chose that method. In other investigations they falsified FISA applications. The very thing that so many here denied for so long. None were punished and none of it is relevant to the Sussman case.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.4.9  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.3    one month ago
"I got all the progressives sweating and squirming"

No, you don't!

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.10  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.7    one month ago

Kind of like how when any Democrats wins it is because of voter fraud, but all the goppers who win elections won fair and square? 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.11  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.10    one month ago

What did Hillary say about the election she lost?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.12  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.8    one month ago

Yet if Sussman is found guilty of lying to the FBI about one instance related to only one of the many CIA and FBI investigations into Trump's Russian connections then that makes Hillary responsible for what? Trump winning in 2016?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.13  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.12    one month ago
Yet if Sussman is found guilty of lying to the FBI about one instance related to only one of the many CIA and FBI investigations into Trump's Russian connections then that makes Hillary responsible for what?

Why are you connecting those two things. The judge isn't even allowing Hillary in this case.

This is a simple case of lying to the FBI, punishable by 5 years in prison.

Why is it important?  It only becomes important to Durham's overall investigation if Sussman is convicted.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.14  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.2    one month ago

Hillary Clinton has not held any public office since January of 2013 when she retired from public service. She ran and lost in Nov 2016. She had no legal authority over the FBI or CIA while Trump was buddying up to Putin in 2014, 2015 and 2016 trying too get a deal to build Trump Tower Moscow. Trump somehow got elected despite all his shady deals with tyrants, dictators and assorted strongmen...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.15  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.14    one month ago
Hillary Clinton has not held any public office since January of 2013 when she retired from public service. She ran and lost in Nov 2016. She had no legal authority over the FBI or CIA while Trump was buddying up to Putin in 2014, 2015 and 2016 trying too get a deal to build Trump Tower Moscow.

But she was running for president

And she did promote and pay for the Steele Dossier

And she did allow the alpha bank story to go out to an all too willing press corps without knowing if it was true.

And various operatives like Sussman did try to get the FBI involved.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.16  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.13    one month ago

Well then, was it okay when Trump pardoned Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about Trump's campaign?

Why couldn't Biden just pardoned Sussman?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.4.17  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.15    one month ago

NO.  SHE. DIDN'T.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.18  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.15    one month ago

There are about a gazillion videos of Trump and his surrogates and supporters accusing Hillary Clinton on all sorts of crimes including treason and murder, in a political campaign...

Can you articulate how Hillary did differently?

Or, why it makes any difference? Trump Won!

Then he lost fair and square to Biden in 2020.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.4.19  Tessylo  replied to  JBB @2.4.18    one month ago
"There are about a gazillion videos of Trump and his surrogates and supporters accusing Hillary Clinton on all sorts of crimes including treason and murder, in a political campaign.."

Projection

Deflection

Denial

ALL THEY HAVE

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.4.20  Sean Treacy  replied to  JBB @2.4.6    one month ago
Trump got himself investigated for seeking out and establishing relationships with known agents of Russian State Intelligence Services over a period of decades.

No he didn't. Why do you make things up?

We know that beginning by at least 2014 Trump was negotiating with Putin to build Trump Tower Moscow

Lol.  Did you read the Mueller report, or did you not understand it?

Is Trump so pure you have to make things up about him?  Do you imagine resorting  to making  things up month after month, time after time in order to attack Trump discredits you, or Trump?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.21  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.16    one month ago

Sure he could.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.22  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tessylo @2.4.17    one month ago
NO.  SHE. DIDN'T

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but she did.

I refer you to Robby Mook's testimony.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.23  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.18    one month ago

Did you really think they would get away with it?

Only if Hillary won in 2016 could they have buried all this.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.4.24  seeder  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.23    one month ago

Get away with what? The same opposition research and mud slinging that goes on in every campaign, always has and always will?

Yet, Trump was neck deep in shady deals with Russians and assorted tyrants. It was a legit election issue and didn't stop Trump winning.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.4.25  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @2.4.24    one month ago
Yet, Trump was neck deep in shady deals with Russians and assorted tyrants. It was a legit election issue and didn't stop Trump winning

Perhaps one day sometime in the not-too-distant future you will be able to say what Trump did that was illegal.

I personally doubt it, though.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.26  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2.4.24    one month ago
Get away with what?

You know damn right well what


The same opposition research and mud slinging that goes on in every campaign, always has and always will?

Opposition research doesn't involve multiple investigations, the FBI, CIA and 75% of the media publishing a lie for 4 years.


Yet, Trump was neck deep in shady deals with Russians and assorted tyrants.

Keep repeating the big lie.


It was a legit election issue and didn't stop Trump winning.

It's about as legit as Biden calling voter ID laws an attempt to repress minority voting.


The democrats are dominated by the left and all the evil actions that go with it.


 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.4.27  Texan1211  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.4.26    one month ago
Opposition research doesn't involve multiple investigations, the FBI, CIA and 75% of the media publishing a lie for 4 years.

A rather inconvenient fact, to be ignored, surely!

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.4.28  Vic Eldred  replied to  Texan1211 @2.4.27    one month ago

Along with the fact that Sussman isn't charged with producing opposition research. He is charged with lying to the FBI.

 
 

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