(FiveNation.com)- In testimony last week in the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker acknowledged that Sussmann did not say he was representing a client when he brought the false claims of Donald Trump’s so-called “link” to Russia’s Alfa-Bank.
Michael Sussmann is on trial for lying to the FBI in 2016 when he turned over the data allegedly linking the Trump Organization to Alfa-Bank.
In his testimony, Baker said he would not have met with Sussmann if he had known at the time that Sussmann was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign. Knowing Trump’s political rival was behind the allegations “would have raised very serious questions” about the credibility and veracity of the information, Baker explained. Baker also pointed out that if he had known it was campaign opposition research, he would have suspected the FBI was being played.
Sussmann met privately with Baker in his FBI office on September 19, 2016. In his testimony last Thursday, Baker said he wouldn’t have met with Sussmann if he knew of the Clinton campaign’s involvement. Instead, he said he would have either sent Sussmann to other FBI personnel or included other FBI officials at the September 19 meeting.
Baker explained that he agreed to meet with Sussmann privately because he trusted him. In hindsight, knowing the truth, Baker would have “made a different assessment.”
Sussmann texted Baker the night before the meeting saying he had sensitive information to pass on but added that he was doing it on his own and not on behalf of a client. In his testimony, Baker said Sussmann repeated that lie during their private meeting.
During cross-examining, Susssmann’s lawyer Sean Berkowitz hammered Baker over the inconsistencies between his testimony and what he had said in the past.
In 2019, Baker told the DOJ Inspector General that Sussmann told him the information on Alfa-Bank came from “people that were his clients.” Baker argued that when he said that he was using a “shorthand way” of describing the cyber-experts with whom Sussmann was working to compile the so-called “evidence.”
In closed House testimony in 2018, Baker had said he couldn’t remember knowing whether Sussmann was representing the Clinton campaign at the time he met with Baker.
During that closed hearing, Congressman Jim Jordan had hammered Baker over not knowing that Sussmann worked for the Clinton campaign. Baker told Jordan that he was uncomfortable being put in a position of receiving the information from Sussmann “because I’m not an agent.”