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WSJ Columnist: Sussmann Trial Exposes Durham's Battle with the 'Incestuous' DC Elite

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The first trial that came from the Russian collusion probe headed by Special Counsel John Durham is over. It ended in an acquittal for Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann who was indicted for lying to the FBI. The probe has exposed Hillary Clinton’s role in spreading fake news about the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. She personally signed off on the failed 2016 October surprise showing Trump has ties to Alfa Bank. Even the FBI said nothing was there; Clinton still went along for it. That part was revealed by her former campaign manager, Robby Mook. The CIA declared that the Russian collusion circus was mostly user-created, another blow to the Left who felt this was a legitimate story. It never was—there’s still ZERO evidence proving that Trump of being a Russian agent. Still, the FBI doctored evidence to secure FISA spy warrants on people like Carter Page, a former Trump campaign official. They also launched Crossfire Hurricane which was a spy operation in all but name. This story has tarnished the reputation of the FBI as an impartial investigative body. It was seen as elite and upholding the highest standards of professionalism. It’s now no better than the Democratic operative class—and a bad one at that.


I guess, in DC speak, you can say that Sussmann was guilty but not responsible, which seems to be the ethos of those in the swamp. What else is new, but Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel documented what this trial exposed beside the “incestuous” dynamics of the DC elite. It showed how the fake 2016 October surprise came about and if these liberals can just willingly make up something that doesn’t exist, you think they won’t look at ways to steal an election. Just putting that point out there (via WSJ):

Mr. Sussman was acquitted Tuesday of lying to the FBI, but not before the Durham team revealed the Clinton campaign’s work in 2016 to use both the FBI and the media to smear Donald Trump. The campaign relied on outside techies for false accusations of Trump links to Russia’s Alfa Bank, which Mr. Sussmann fed to the FBI. Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele separately funneled their infamous dossier to the Bureau. Then the Clinton team shopped the dirt to the media, using the fact of FBI investigations as proof it deserved coverage.


The Durham trial was a glimpse at the chummy web of brokers who used their access and influence to make that happen.

One trial revelation was that Rodney Joffe —the tech executive who used privileged access to nonproprietary data to create the Alfa claims—was a confidential human source for the FBI in 2016. Yet Mr. Joffe, according to testimony, didn’t take his accusations to his regular handler. He instead gave them to . . . Mr. Sussmann, a lawyer in private practice whose clients included Mrs. Clinton.

Why? Mr. Sussmann was tight with the FBI. So tight that according to trial evidence, the bureau in 2016 allowed him to edit the draft of one of its press releases. Mr. Sussmann was even on a first-name basis with then-FBI general counsel James Baker. He was able to text his “friend” (Mr. Baker’s description of their relationship) and score a meeting the next day. He assured “Jim” he didn’t need a badge to get in the building—he already had one. All this allowed Mr. Sussmann (who later sought to recruit Mr. Baker to his firm, Perkins Coie) to avoid the pesky agents and questions that would accompany any average Joe trying to sell the FBI on wild claims.

Mr. Joffe meanwhile called a separate special contact at the FBI (again, not his handler), an agent who had once nominated the techie for an award. Mr. Joffe relayed his Alfa data again and asked the agent to pass it along but not tell anyone he was the source. The prosecution during trial dryly asked this agent if he was familiar with “circular reporting”—where a source plants info with two different parts of the FBI to make it look corroborating. It’s a crafty tactic—one that most people wouldn’t have the access to pull off.

The Steele dossier likewise received special handling. Fusion GPS happened to choose for its dossier duties a guy who’d also worked as an FBI source. Mr. Steele initially went to regular FBI agents. But he followed up with his own top contact—former senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife worked for (where else?) Fusion. Mr. Ohr handed the dossier up to Deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe. Mr. Steele separately shopped his dossier to a top State Department appointee, Jonathan Winer —who also handed it up the chain.

Getting the dirt to the top made all the difference. Prosecutors in the trial introduced an internal message from FBI agent Joseph Pientka two days after the Sussmann-Baker meeting, reading: “People on the 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this server. . . . Did you guys open a case? . . . Its [sic] not an option—we must do it.” This despite testimony from rank-and-file agents who said they’d quickly dismissed the claims as ludicrous.


Oh right, and the judge in the case worked with Sussmann at the DOJ, Merrick Garland officiated his wedding to his wife, who is an ex-DOJ lawyer now representing…Lisa Page. 

In case you need a refresher, she’s the ex-FBI lawyer who was having an extramarital affair with then-top counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok who signed off on the whole Russian collusion investigation. The two exchanged tens of thousands of texts showing anti-Trump bias. One that stood out was Strzok’s promise to Page that they will stop Trump from becoming president. Strzok was later fired for these texts. Still, talk about an orgy of corruption, huh? Nothing to see here, just the muck from this swamp. 

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