Durham's Sussman indictment is a bizarre coda for DOJ's Russia investigation

  
Via:  MrFrost  •  3 months ago  •  17 comments

By:   Mr. Frost

Durham's Sussman indictment is a bizarre coda for DOJ's Russia investigation
The Mueller Report spells out all the ways in which the Russia investigation was not a hoax. The only hoax is the charge contained in this indictment.

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Durham and his investigations are the topic. 

Biden/Clinton/Obama...all off topic. 


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Sept. 19, 2021, 1:30 AM PDT

By   Barbara McQuade , MSNBC Opinion Columnist


Special Counsel John Durham   was tasked with investigating the origins of the   FBI’s Russia investigation . He now appears to have ended his work not with a bang, but with a whimper.

It is hard to see how   the case Durham filed on Thursday   against Washington lawyer Michael Sussman meets Justice Department standards. The   indictment alleges   that Sussmann met with FBI General Counsel Jim Baker in September 2016 to provide information about   connections between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization . The FBI was unable to substantiate any links between Alfa Bank and former President Donald Trump’s businesses, but the charge against Sussman — making false statements to the FBI — doesn’t allege that the substance of the information was false. Instead, Sussmann is accused of misrepresented on whose behalf he was providing it.

A grand jury only needs to find probable cause that a crime was committed to return an indictment, but   DOJ policy requires a higher standard . Before putting a person through the expense, burden and stigma of criminal charges, a prosecutor should make a determination “that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction.” This case comes woefully short of that standard.


Let’s start with the easy one — admissible evidence. The indictment appears to rely on the handwritten notes of an assistant director with whom Baker spoke after his meeting with Sussmann. The notes state, among other things, “Said not doing this for any client.”

Anyone who’s played the game “Telephone” understands that as information is repeated, it often gets altered along the way. Instead, testimony at trial must be based on personal observation. If the prosecution attempted to offer these notes or even the writer’s testimony about what he heard Baker say before he wrote them as evidence, either would likely be ruled hearsay.

The case is equally weak on the merits. Although making false statements to an FBI agent is a serious crime, the government must be able to prove each and every element of the offense. Here, at least two of the five elements cannot be met.

First, Sussmann maintains that he did not make the statement. Many defendants deny misconduct, but this time it may work. In most false statement cases, the precise language of the statement at issue is memorialized in some way — the transcript of testimony under oath, a written submission, or a recorded oral statement. If not, the federal agency will usually provide two or more witnesses who personally heard the statement. Here, it appears that the whole case is built on the testimony of one witness, Baker. And in a he said, he said faceoff, the ties goes to the defendant.

In addition, it is not clear that Baker will be a strong — or even willing — witness. In a closed-door meeting with Congress in 2018, Baker   testified that he did not recall   whether Sussmann had represented himself as working on behalf of the Democratic Party or Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Hardly the star witness needed to convict in the absence of all other evidence.

Even assuming the prosecution can prove that the statement was false, that Sussman knowingly lied and that the crime is in the FBI’s jurisdiction, it still cannot establish materiality. The materiality element requires a showing that the statement could influence a matter under consideration; not every false statement is a crime, only those that matter. If Sussmann had also bragged to Baker, say, that he runs a six-minute mile, but in fact, he runs a ten-minute mile, that statement might be false, but it would not be material to the matter at issue.

Here, the indictment alleges that Sussmann’s statement that he was not acting on behalf of any client was material because if the FBI had known that Sussmann was providing the information on behalf of the Clinton campaign, it would have treated the information differently. But this allegation is refuted by its own witness.   In his 2018 congressional testimony , Baker was asked whether it would have mattered if Sussmann had told him he was there on behalf of the Clinton Campaign. He said it wouldn’t, a devastating admission for Durham’s case.

What’s more, Sussmann worked at the Perkins Coie law firm, whose representation of the Clinton campaign was publicly known. And based on the assistant director’s notes, it appears that Sussmann did tell Baker that he “represents DNC, Clinton Foundation, etc.”

So even if Sussmann misrepresented what motivated him to bring the information to the FBI that day, Baker knew that Sussmann was aligned with Clinton. If the FBI was going to treat information from Clinton’s camp with skepticism, Sussmann had provided all of the information necessary for the FBI to form that suspicion. For this reason, his allegedly false statement is, at worst, the equivalent of the ten-minute mile, not material to the matter at issue.

Claiming materiality here is particularly galling in light of   DOJ’s treatment of former national security advisor Michael Flynn . Flynn was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with making false statements when he lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in late 2016. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia under   former Attorney General William Barr filed a motion to dismiss the indictment   on the grounds that Flynn’s statement was not material. While materiality generally has a fairly low bar, the different standard that Durham — who Barr appointed — is holding Sussman now suggests that he is being treated unfairly.

So why would Durham bother to file charges in a case so rife with issues? The date of the indictment carries one clue. It was filed on the last day of the grand jury’s term before the five-year statute of limitations was set to expire on Sept. 19. That this case and a prior case against an FBI lawyer for altering an email are the only charges Durham has filed suggests that this is the closest thing he has found to a crime in his search.

Another clue about why this case is being filed is the amount of detail contained in the 27-page indictment. It discusses the Clinton campaign’s efforts to engage in opposition research on former President Donald Trump, much of it beyond the scope of the very narrow offense with which Sussmann is charged. It may be that Durham is using this indictment as a vehicle to disseminate what he has found to the public so that Trump and his allies can paint a false equivalence between the conduct of the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

Mueller found that the Trump campaign shared polling data with a Russia intelligence officer, met with Russians to obtain dirt on Clinton, and coordinated messaging around the disclosure of stolen email messages. With this indictment, Trump can now say that it was Clinton who brought information to the FBI about links to Russia in the first place and yet again claim the Mueller investigation was a hoax.

Of course, that points us to the final problem with Durham’s investigation: His assignment was to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation. The DOJ inspector general already found that the investigation opened in July 2016 was properly predicated on information received from a government ally about statements   Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos   regarding stolen email messages. Any statement made by Sussmann months later could not possibly have sparked the Russia investigation.

Instead of a quest for justice, the indictment appears to be one more shot fired in the information war. Attorney General Merrick Garland had the power to stop this indictment from being filed, and did not do so, perhaps because he believed it to be a valid charge — or maybe because he feared that stopping it would create the appearance that he was acting in furtherance of partisan political interests. While protecting the independence of the institution is a noble cause, it cannot come at the expense of an innocent man being used as a pawn in an ugly political game that will further erode trust in our institutions.

The Mueller Report spells out all the ways in which the Russia investigation was not a hoax. The only hoax is the charge contained in this indictment.



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MrFrost
Professor Principal
1  seeder  MrFrost    3 months ago

All troll comments will be removed.

Could a mod find the appropriate picture for the article? 

Thanks in advance. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1  Kavika   replied to  MrFrost @1    3 months ago

An oh, the right-wingers are going to .go nuts over this article. 

Popcorn ready

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  MrFrost  replied to  Kavika @1.1    3 months ago

If Twitter is an indicator, people like Starnes, Hannity and Carlson are completely ignoring it. They don't want to have to admit they were wrong. 

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
Masters Participates
1.1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  MrFrost @1.1.1    3 months ago
They don't want to have to admit they were wrong. 

Seems like the common denominator incessantly used by the beneficiary of such a low ball tactic, as 45 could never, and most far righties would get their loose tighty whitey's all in a bunch, like the GOP, tighty whitey Gang Of Pathetic's , asz they walk with a hunch while ignoring Igor as they put those who view the world for real on ignore, and pronounce it Eye-gore , cause they have big chips on their shoulders, well, at least one of them, as in the eye-gore eyesore LIE Humper and chest Thumper, who grabbed Abbey's brain to insert in Trump the insane, cause the 'right' are a lost cause they think they always are. The left tend to be far more truthful in my humble opine, but all lie in slumber, just some snore and cut thicker lumber/Lumbar 

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.2  Split Personality  replied to  MrFrost @1    3 months ago

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  MrFrost  replied to  Split Personality @1.2    3 months ago

Thanks SP. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.2.2  Split Personality  replied to  MrFrost @1.2.1    3 months ago

no problemo.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  MrFrost @1    3 months ago

 Isn't that a picture of Vic?

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.3.1  Split Personality  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.3    3 months ago

Vic has been using a picture of John Durham as an avatar since April 2019 when the Trump, Barr tag team announced

they were going to have their pitt Bull, Durham, lock up everyone in the Obama Administration who offended Donald J Trump./S

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
Masters Participates
1.3.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Split Personality @1.3.1    3 months ago

Pit Bull Durham appears to have a nastier bark than bite, but they both have not sound teeth

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.3.3  devangelical  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.3    3 months ago

he posted a picture of himself on your car article a few months ago. my picture of him would just piss perrie off.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2  JohnRussell    3 months ago

The far right nut jobs believe this will bring down untold numbers of Democrats

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
3  seeder  MrFrost    3 months ago

It just amazes me how many people on the right put their faith in Durham to, "vindicate trump" when people that followed the facts knew he wouldn't. Just further proof that the VAST majority of the reich wing media cannot be trusted. PERIOD. 

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
Masters Participates
3.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  MrFrost @3    3 months ago
further proof that the VAST majority of the reich wing media cannot be trusted. PERIOD. 

i trust them to distort the truth and LIE often...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4  JBB    3 months ago

Yet, Trump was colluding with Russia to build Trump Tower in Moscow right up until election day in 2016...

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  MrFrost  replied to  JBB @4    3 months ago

Yet, Trump was colluding with Russia to build Trump Tower in Moscow right up until election day in 2016...

True. His own kids said that the majority of the money they get for building projects comes from Russia yet you still have people saying trump and his family have no connections to Russia at all? Stupidity. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4.1.1  JBB  replied to  MrFrost @4.1    3 months ago

Imagine Hillary Clinton offered Putin a fifty million dollar penthouse bribe, had got Putin's help and had won by a close margin.

 
 
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